Gluten, Cake & Tawny Port

So I discovered a month or so ago that I was intolerant to gluten. What perfect timing, right before Christmas, a time of cakes, pies, puddings and wheat in every damn thing you consume. I’m not saying I have Celiac disease, just that no matter how much I may like the aforementioned wheat based products, they don’t really like me.

However in life, one has to suffer, and although I’ve cut out bread, cereals and so on, I’d be damned if I wasn’t going to have a slice of Christmas cake at the end of my Christmas Holiday with a glass of port!

My sister in law makes fabulous Christmas Cake, and every year I have got one as my present from her. These cakes have an ABV of their own, being doused in cask strength whisky for months, so there is no real need for a drink with them, but port and Christmas cake has become something I do. Last year it was 1965 Krohn Vintage Port, the year before 1970’s Graham’s, and this year, a more modest 10 year old tawny from Quinta do Vallado.

Why the change from old vintage to a sub £20 tawny? Well I’d be the only one drinking it and it comes in a convenient 500ml bottle and 2016 hasn’t given any of us a lot to celebrate. Much as I’d like to break out a fabulous old port, I couldn’t justify it just for me, but I’m really glad I chose this. Scoring 91 points from Wine Spectator, I was so impressed with this wine’s balance. Ginger aromas, prunes, dates and warm caramel, it is such an inviting wine. The palate starts of with dried fruit – raisins, citrus peel – and then a nutty note too, before the sweetness emerges, enveloping all the flavours in a robe of warmed bitter marmalade. There isn’t a trace of alcohol, it is so well integrated. This has to be one of the greatest 10 year old tawnies, and I think Wine Spectator has the score bang on.