Back in Black

My favourite AC/DC song and third favourite song of all time (first and second favourites being The Eagles’ Take It Easy and Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams, respectively – yes, I’m a classic rock gal).

It’s also the perfect song to describe where I’m at right now: I’m back on my blog, tonight’s wine is black (so are my teeth), and I feel kick-ass — I just completed the major WSET Diploma milestone of finishing my coursework assignment, a 10-page essay on wine labels with a case study on effective packing versus an example that needs improving. Yeehaw!

The song also matches up perfectly with my wine, Prazo de Roriz. It’s black, beefy, brooding – and while a little on the old side, like AC/DC, it’s still lip smackingly good.


The second wine of Quinta de Roriz, a Symington Family property, it is a dry red blended table wine made of the same Fab Five grapes as the estate’s Vintage Port. The winery is perhaps best known for its Douro icon wines that it makes with Bordelais co-owner Bruno Prats, Chryseia and Post Scriptum.

If you are a fan of full-bodied, juicy, “black teeth” wines, consider shopping in the Portuguese section next time. This category has many powerful reds similar in profile to what you’d find from California, Argentina or Chile, often at a better value.

Holiday Roundup, Part Two: Fonseca Bin 27

If there were any wine I could drink to get into the spirit (figuratively) of Christmas, I’d have to say Port. With its typically heady nose and warm, spicy dried fruit flavours, who needs mulled wine or hot rum punches? (Although those are nice in their own respect.)

I’d already enjoyed a local version, La Frenz Tawny, at the end of November. A delicious finish wasn’t the only thing lingering on my tastebuds after that bottle was emptied – there was also a burning desire to continue my Port journey!

The world looks pretty nice through a Port-coloured lens.

Fonseca Bin 27 used to be the wine kept privately by the Guimaraens family (who own and run the Fonseca Port house) for personal consumption, released worldwide as a Premium Reserve label in 1972.

If you’re relatively new to Port and want to dabble in a taste of the real stuff, Bin 27 gives a nice general impression of what to expect, while going easy on the pocketbook.

Tasting Notes

Tasted late November – early December 2009. Rich purple-black and nearly opaque in colour. On the nose, dried prunes, raisin, ripe black fruits and a bit of warm spice (clove, cinnamon) emerge. The palate is rich and round, with medium tannins and bunches of sun-ripened blackberries, grapes and sweet dried prunes continuing right through the finish. For an Asian dessert pairing, try red bean-filled glutinous soup dumplings. A nice savoury match, if you chose to go that route, would be sweet teriyaki-braised beef shortribs. $23

Holiday Roundup, Part One: La Frenz Tawny

Lots of wines ahead, so I’m going to post everything separately for easier reading.

La Frenz Tawny NV

Purchased at the winery in July 2009, opened during the week of November 27, 2009.

A fortified wine made in the Port style by a great little winery in Naramata Bench, BC. Sadly, I can’t tell you what varieties are in this, and La Frenz’s website doesn’t disclose anything either.

Sean called it “Christmas in a glass,” and I simply couldn’t disagree.

Wisely, the winery put its address right on the main part of the label (740 Naramata Road, Penticton, BC), in case one needs to go back for more wine. And cheers, by the way, to Mike and Amanda, my friends etched on their wedding wine glass!

Tasting Notes

Deep bricky brown in colour, with aromas of fruitcake, dried dates and some warm spice (cinnamon, clove, nutmeg). A syrupy texture coats the mouth with equally Christmassy flavours but finishes pleasantly dry. $20

I enjoyed this very much on its own, but would certainly have loved an accompaniment of sticky toffee pudding or butter tart with mincemeat.

I’m also going to go out on a limb with my ethnic food suggestion and propose Szechuan honey beef Honey Garlic Beef! (Thanks to Szechuan Chongqing restaurant’s online PDF menu for giving me the translated name! On a side note, in Cantonese this dish is called HAA SEE mutt, and it’s a slightly spicy, honeyed beef served with little white steamed buns.) I think it’d work.