Sunday, 7 November 2010

Fruit cake

My aunt and uncle visited us last weekend, bringing with them the most succulent, raisiny English fruit cake you could imagine. Baked from a mixture that included more than a good dash of brandy, it is one of those cakes that would probably last a year and more if stored correctly. Interesting as it would be to test that theory, I can't imagine it lasting that long, if you catch my drift.

We both ate a piece each this evening, to follow a main meal of steak with mushroom and red wine sauce. The accompanying wine was purchased earlier this year.

CARM, Quinta do Côa Reserva 2006, Douro DOC
Firstly, CARM stands for "Casa Agrícola Roboredo Madeira". The grapes are all indigenous Portuguese varietals - Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Tinta Roriz - and were harvested from one of the Douro's synonymous terraced sloped vineyards. Quinta da Côa estate is found found in an area "designated as a World Heritage Site, where the paleolithic rock carvings in the valley of the Côa, a tributary of the Douro, reveal a flourishing culture which goes back 25,000 years" (see website).

Opaque in appearance with a ruby rim; we're talking Australian Barossa darkness. The nose is a brooding mass, showing floury black and red fruit, spicy, oaky sweetness and raisin. This floury notes continue on the palate. Almost monolithic in body. However, in terms of structure, a juicy vein of acidity lends immense drinkability, belying the 14.5% alcohol, while the tannins are suggestive of a certain wildness and minerality. The finish is long and smooth. A wine to be drunk when the weather is dank and cold outside. Potential for a good few years to come, but drinking just fine at the moment. Decanted over two hours prior to serving, which was just as well.

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