Madroña Vineyards is celebrating New-World Port Month during February for the second year.
“It’s that time of year where we celebrate our wonderful New-World Port. Made from seven estate grown Portuguese varieties, picked and fermented separately, fortified and then back-blended together for balance, this wine will not fail to impress you,” said Paul Bush, winemaker at Madroña.
Port has been impressing the consumer for centuries. Ancient Greek geographers noted that people living on the Iberian Peninsula had been drinking wine for thousands of years and when the Romans arrived in the area in the second century BC and then stuck around for more than 500 years cultivating wines and making wine along the Douro River. Port is still produced there today.
The first wines labeled Port were first shipped from Portugal in the second half of the 17th century.
The tradition of making port and successfully exporting it for all these years can be attributed to the vintners ability to adapt and keep up with flavor trends. Port exhibits a diversity of different styles and flavors always attracting new fans.
The one constant is the quality of Port.
This is also true of the New World Ports from Madroña.
The 2003 New-World Port uses Touriga Nacional, Alvarelhão, Tinto cão and Sousão grape varieties.
“These are intensely colored and flavorful grapes which are inoculated and fermented hot until half the sugar has been converted to alcohol. At this time brandy spirits are added to arrest the fermentation, producing a richly extracted and very memorable dessert wine which grows finer and finer with time,” according to Bush.
As the 2003 vintage ages it gains in elegance.
The 2008 New World Port is the other port being featured during the celebration.
“It is elegant and offers a spice rack of flavors,” Bush said. “It is up front fruity.”
To showcase the exquisite components of the 2003 and 2008 New World Ports five restaurants will pair the vintages with a special dessert during February.
Smith Flat House in Placerville is serving a gorgonzola soaked in port with dried figs, fresh pears and toasted walnuts.
At Heyday on Main Street in Placerville diners can enjoy chili chocolate decadence cake.
Annabelle’s Chocolates in El Dorado is creating a sea salt chocolate or walnut cluster chocolate for the pairing.
Independent in Placerville is preparing a chocolate cheesecake.
Sierra Nevada House in Coloma is offering vanilla bean crème brûlée with chocolate ganache and port soaked raspberries.
Jesse Shadle, chef at Smith Flat House, was thrilled to take part in the dessert pairing.
“I tasted the port first and then thought of local items that would go with the port. Food and wine that grow up together will go together. They share the same characteristics,” he said.
“I wanted to make it savory and keep it simple. Sometimes the simplest is best,” Shadle added.
Continuing with that thought he explained that the cheese is soaked for just 5 minutes. The pair and fig go great with the port because of the pair and fig undertones in the wine and the walnuts are nice for both taste and texture.
During February the tasting room at Madroña, 2560 High Hill Road in Camino, is having events.
On the weekends samplings including cheese and port tastings and chocolate and port tastings.
Visitors can pick a favorite pairing after sampling delectable Valdeon blue cheese, a fresh country paté, or a chocolate brownie or a raspberry ganache from the Fudge Factory.
Each weekend features a new tasting experience.
There will also be sneak tastes of the 2012 New-World Port.
Bush is excited about the still-in-the-barrel 2012 vintage that features a “well-balanced with deep cherry fruit characters intertwined with spice and a hint of citrus” taste.
Throughout the month of February, follow Madroña on Facebook as the winery posts fun and interesting “Port Facts.” Post questions to play the “Stump the Winemaker” game and enter to win a 2012 New-World Port Futures.
“Part of port month is to educate the public about port. We are constantly learning and embracing the different styles of wine that El Dorado County can produce,” Bush said.
Consumers are becoming more knowledgeable and more daring to try new wines making it fun to meet that challenge Bush said.
For more information call 530-644-7517 or go to madronavineyards.com.