Port's new image

21 September, 2007

A digestif is traditionally served after dessert, but retailers should be tapping into the growing movement to push spirits in the direction of wine and beer, and sell them as food matches.

Digestifs are incredibly suited to food matching because

they are capable of supporting the strong personality and high complexity of foods with intense aromas, and strong flavours. Use shelf-edge barkers to describe classic pairings like an aged-tawny with crème brûlée, Cognac with a rich chocolate dessert or Armagnac with seasonal berries.

Diageo is pushing its Classic Malts selection as accompaniments to food. This month the spices of north Indian food will be matched to single malt Scotches at the Benares Indian restaurant in Berkeley Square on Sept 25. Among the combinations on taste will be the smoky Islay malt Lagavulin 16 Year Old with galawati kebab samosas, and the sweeter Speyside malt Cardhu 12 Year Old, served with aloo chaat and acchi chaat.

The interprofessional committee of the Port & Douro Wine Institute (IVDP) is determined to broaden the appeal of port by linking it with food. "Port is seen, especially in the UK, as a digestif, but we want to be much more than that by showing its versatility and how it can be enjoyed with food," says IVDP marketing boss Paulo Russell-Pinto. By hosting port and food-matching events, and interactive seminars, the IVDP hopes

port can shake off its stuffy image , Pinto says.

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English wine: a happy harvest for Christmas

All across England and Wales, vineyards are being harvested. Down winding country lanes come armies of welly-wearing conscripts wielding secateurs and buckets, ready to reap the rewards of our vines. Happily they come, their cheeks ruddy with pride. Half an hour later they’re crawling over muddy clods with lacerated hands, drenched in claggy juice and cold sweat, as if ploughing through an endurance race.

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Is blended Scotch overshadowed by single malt in retailers?

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