Other Fortified Wines
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Marsala is really a wonderful thing. Made in the area around the ancient coastal town of the same name on the far west coast of Sicily, it smacks of Italian sunshine. Indeed, if you’ve used up all your leave this year, this could make a fine replacement for a vacanza Italiana. With figs, prunes and mesmeric caramel depths from its two years in oak barrels, this is a real delight and, at a bargainous £6.50, it is so much cheaper than a holiday.Catarratto, Inzolia, GrilloOak:8Light Full bodied8Dry Sweet
You are what you eat, so the saying goes. And this is manifestly true in Stanton and Killeen’s achingly delicious Rutherglen Muscat.
What does the wine ‘eat’? It eats up the hot Australian sun, the time-honoured techniques maintained by this family-run winery and it gobbles up the love they put into it. The result? A raisin-rich, nutty, orange blossom and lavender-flavoured amber nectar.Muscat a Petit Grain Rouge (100%)Oak:7Light Full bodied8Dry Sweet
Whoosh! You hear that? That was the sound of ten thousand cherries, prunes and aniseed all splashing down into a mountain lake. That’s not actually how they make La Quintinye Red, but it might as well be.
Alter Ego: Carmen Miranda; this is one fruity beauty, with enough ripe flavours to send you salsa-ing your way all the way to the cocktail cabinet/shelf. Shake that thingPineau des Charentes
A curious, fragrant blend of the French ‘vin de liquer’, Pineau de Charentes, white wine and botanicals, there ain’t much that’s similar to La Quintinye Extra Dry.
Alter Ego: David Byrne; totally idiosyncratic that sings pretty, dry melodies over a crunchy, firm beat. Certainly no Talking Head, this is one cocktail party staple that should always Remain in Light.Pineau des Charentes1Light Full bodied3Dry Sweet
Straddling the confluence of floral and herby and dry and sweet, La Quintinye is like a romantic bridge that’s perfect for strolling across at dusk.
Alter Ego: Ray Davies; It’s definitely Kinky (not like THAT… mind in the gutter, you lot) and it is just perfect for watching a Waterloo Sunset. Even when it’s a touch sweet, it still retains an attractive dryness and earthy, poetic quality.Pineau des Charentes1Light Full bodied3Dry Sweet
Like something conceived in an Anne Rice novel this elegant Vermouth is a mystery that beckons to be unveiled. A concoction of Oloroso and PX sherries blended with botanicals of wormwood, clove cinnamon, nutmeg, angelica root and cinchona bark.
Poured into cut-glass and served chilled in the heat of the colonial riverside in New Orleans or in the dead of night in a 19th-century Parisian theatre. A secret whispered in the rolling silence of a boat belly. That becomes a welcome drink offered when arriving after a dusty carriage ride after a day's journey.Palomino, Pedro Ximenez