Even though today is Halloween, I’m not going to suggest wine to pair with candy.
Nope, not doing it.
Instead, as the days get dark and cold, and you have a sweet tooth this holiday season, open a bottle of Port from Portugal.
We paired ours with an upside down Portugeuse plum cake (recipe below), but Port is also wonderful with chocolate, especially dark chocolate or Belgian chocolate or chocolate truffles.
Just don’t call it Halloween Candy.
Trick or Treat!
For Halloween themed pairings, try these:
- Halloween Cocktails
- Halloween themed food and wines
- Halloween Wines from Flora Springs 2020, 2019, 2017.
Warre’s was the first British Port company established in Portugal, and these three Warre’s wines are part of the Symington Family Estates which also includes Graham’s, Cockburn’s, Dow’s and wine projects Quinta do Vesuvio, Quinta do Ataíde, Altano, Prats & Symington, Quinta da Fonte Souto. Of Scottish, English and Portuguese descent, they have been Port producers in northern Portugal for five generations, going back to 1882. A leading premium Port producer and vineyard owner in the Douro Valley, Symington Family Estates has 26 Quintas covering 5,527 acres with 2,530 acres of vineyards managed under sustainable viticulture practices and 276 acres organically farmed, the largest area of organic vineyards in the Douro. Other specifics include:
B Corp certification: A long-term leader in sustainability, Symington Family Estates became the first winery in Portugal to achieve B Corp certification last year. Symington joins a global community of for-profit companies assessed for the highest standards of social and environmental performance and ethical business practices. B Corp companies are required to legally oblige Directors to include social and environmental factors as equal priorities alongside financial objectives.
Climate Change: “Mission 2025” is Symington Family Estates’ ambitious carbon dioxide emissions reduction sustainability plan and they recently joined the International Wineries for Climate Action, an association of wine companies leading the charge on climate in the wine industry. Symington’s initial goal is to reduce emissions by 35 percent between 2015 and 2025 and they are committed to Portugal’s national goal of achieving carbon neutrality before 2050.
Preserving Biodiversity: In order to improve biodiversity in the Douro Valley and support the recovery of habitat and prey for keystone species there, Symington Family Estates recently entered a partnership with Rewilding Portugal.
LEED Certified Winery: The Symington Family is building a new low-impact winery at the organically farmed Quinta do Ataíde, consistent with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Framework. It will be the first LEED Certified Winery in Portugal.
Warre’s Fine White Porto
Color: Deep gold, golden orange
Nose: Yum, chocolate, fresh mint, alcohol (as is expected in a 19% wine)
Palate: Sweet fruit, milk chocolate, you might want to drink this as a sipper, or maybe as a mixer, kind of like vanilla ice cream, creamy on the palate, a great base or background to whatever you had for dinner. Vanilla bean.
Pairing: So very yummy with the plum cake, it loved the cinnamon spice in the cake, the caramelized sugar and the tartness of the fruit.
Warre’s Warrior Porto Finest Reserve
ABV 20%; SRP $19
Since the 1750s, Warre’s Warrior has been shipped continuously, with the name Warrior branded on the casks of Warre’s finest Reserve Ports. Today these wines are grown in the Upper Douro Valley at higher altitudes and cooler temperatures then matured four to five years in large barrique. Ready to enjoy as soon as they are bottled and typically served at room temperature, Warre’s Warrior is also delicious chilled in the warmer months– or even with an ice cube or two!
Color: Very dense ruby, magenta ring
Nose: Menthol, eucalyptus, lots of greeness on the nose, menthol and cherry.
Palate: We found this to be sweet, and I preferred it with the ice cubes, especially on a warm summer or fall night.
Pairing: We enjoyed the wine with the dessert, but I wanted whipped cream or ice cream to round the wine out. Sue enjoyed how the lemon zest in the cake made the wine pop and shine thinking that without that it would just be less interesting.
Warre’s Otima 10 Tawny Porto
ABV 20%; SRP $
Color: Translucent. Such a beautiful color, like the color of the plums on to p of the cake. The way it is showcased in the clergies glass bottle is so pretty.
Nose: There is a musky quality to the wine. Caramel, walnuts, candied pecans, vanilla, cherry. The alcohol is subtle and integrated because so much is going on.
Palate: Big and bold, with notes of cherry, caramel, cherry, vanilla, cherry, walnut, cherry, so complex with nice cherry fruit. Yes, it’s very cherry!
Pairing: Batta bing batta bang, what a nice pairing! The wine is sweeter than the fruit and the light airy cake with the cinnamon notes highlight the wine nicely.
Just in case you want to go with PORTUGUESE PLUM CAKE, instead of CHOCOLATE, here’s the recipe:
1 1/2 cups sugar (divided)
3 plums cut in half
1 teaspoon cinnamon
zest of one lemon
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place 1 cup sugar in a round cake pan. Over the stove, on low, heat the pan until the sugars start to caramelize. Continue to heat while turning and slightly tilting the pan until all of the sugar has caramelized.
- Remove from heat and place 6 halved plums cut side down on top of the caramelized sugar.
- With an electric mixer on high, mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 5 eggs, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and zest of one lemon. Beat with an electric mixer till light and frothy about 2 to 3 minutes.
- In a small bowl mix 1 1/2 cups flour with 2 teaspoons baking powder
- Turn electric mixer to low and add the flour and baking powder. Beat until the batter is light and creamy another 1 to 2 minutes.
- Pour batter over plums and bake 35 to 40 minutes. Insert a toothpick into batter to test for doneness, it should come out clean.
- When done, remove from oven and while hot remove from cake pan on to a plate. Press a plate to the cake pan and flip it upside down so that the cake is now on the plate.
- Cool completely to it sets up when serving.
- Makes a great breakfast or brunch cake!
NOTE: Today is Halloween. It’s also a full moon, and a blue moon.
And it’s the night of the TIME CHANGE.
I started blogging at Art Predator on the night of the Time Change, November 4, 2007; here’s how I became “Art Predator” which I wrote that night. By summer 2008, I had quit my job teaching writing at Ventura College to go into wine writing and blogging full time working for the Grateful Palate. Unfortunately, the economy crashed and so did my job — and that company.
I decided to go to the 2008 Wine Blogger’s Conference anyway, and I started this blog. A year later, I was back teaching but still blogging on both, when I was selected as runner up by Jo Diaz to go on a press trip to Portugal and to attend the Wine Blogger’s Conference in Lisbon. At the last minute, I was asked if I could go, so in less than a week, I had my passport in hand, substitutes lined up to teach classes, and I boarded a plane for Portugal.
In addition to Portugal, wine blogging has taken me to all over California as well as Washington and Oregon, plus Canada and even France as a member of the US Blind Wine Tasting Team. In 2020, I was slated to travel on press trips to Germany, Italy, and Bordeaux, … but COVID cancelled travel.
As I mentioned before, October is also Blogtober, and I had hoped to publish a post every day, all 31 days. I have several more posts about Potugal’s wines waiting in the wings, as well as other content that’s in draft and plenty of wine to pop open and write about. Read more about Blogtober here.
With this post, I’ve completed 23 posts in 31 days. This is post 119 for 2020 and post #990 since I started this blog.
I had hoped to be closer to #1000 so that on the actual day of of my Bloggoversary, Nov 4, it would be post #1000… or even #999.
Instead, here’s the countdown to Number 1000!
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