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Port Wine and Chocolates

June 26th, 2008

By Giuliano Bortolleto - 6/26/08

Undoubtedly, there is no better wine to pair with chocolates than a port one. May the chocolate be bitter or not. The Port wine is the only one which can support the high sweetness of the chocolate, due to its great intensity and complexity of strong flavors, making the port a potent wine, capable of pairing with so many foods of strong flavors. Although the chocolate might be very sweet and delicate, it stays on the mouth and on the tongue of whoever eats, forming a layer which is very awkward to be removed by a wine, even that this wine is a very strong one, such an urugayan tannat
That`s why the Port wine is the best choice on pairing wines with chocolates, in my opinion. Another good pick is a sparkling wine. The sparkling produces the perlage, which is very good to clean your mouth, no matter what you have eaten before. Sparkling wines are very versatiles and pair with almost all types of foods. However, only a Port can clean your mouth and tongue an at the same time harmonize with the chocolate, creating a strong, but delicious combination, emphasizing the flavors of both chocolate and Port wine. Port can be paired with other heavy foods such gorgonzola cheese and also ice creams.
Port Wine

Try yourself. Cheers!

Blackberry Wine
A Novel
By Joanne Harris

Blackberry Wine By Joanne Harris | Red Wines

Jay Mackintosh is uninspired. After penning his first and only successful novel, Jackapple Joe, he has faded into obscurity. His ambitious girlfriend tries mercilessly to goad him towards a new literary endeavor, but nothing seems to stir him.

Then, one spring day, he finds himself thinking back to his summers with Joe, the crusty, magical old man who was the inspiration for his novel. Joe lived in a ramshackle house near an unused railroad line, where he cultivated a lush and almost jungle-like garden. At the time, Jay was a lonely, bored kid, and Joe adopted him and kept him spellbound with stories of his adventures, and the lore of the charms he used to help grow his flowers, vines and trees.

This strong wave of nostalgia drives Jay into his cellar, where he dusts off six bottles of Specials — Joe’s potent homemade fruit wine. The wine, it seems, has a life of its own, and once Jay breaks the wax seal around the neck of one bottle, his life is changed. A sudden epiphany leads to a permanent change, and he impulsively decides to buy an old farm in France that reminds him of Joe’s long ago home.

Moving to the small town of Lansquenet in the French countryside, he begins to cultivate his garden and rebuild the run-down farm. Slowly he is welcomed by his colorful neighbors, including the secretive, strong-willed Marise, who lives on the farm next to his. When the sun goes down each night, he retires to a candelit room where he feverishly spins the lives of the villagers into a new novel. As the novel progresses, Joe begins to appear to him, gently coaxing Jay to embrace a life that feeds his soul, and to challenge the very foundation upon which he has built his life.

Discussion Questions

1. Compare Kerry and Jay’s relationship to Marise and Tony’s relationship. In what way are they similar? If they don’t satisfy each other romantically, what other needs might the relationships fill?

2. “Wine talks; ask anyone…. It has a million voices. It unleashes the tongue…. It revives summers long past and memories best forgotten” (pg 1). Does this statement resonate for you? If so, how? How does it relate to the Specials? Are there other instances in the novel in which food or wine play an active role in guiding a character’s actions?

3. What qualities made Joe so appealing to Jay? Jay felt betrayed; was his anger justified? What was Joe attempting to teach Jay about reality, about everyday life? Did Jay ever learn this lesson?

4. Discuss the presence-or lack thereof-of nature in Jay’s life, and how it affects his state of mind. What-if anything-is the author saying about country living versus city living?

5. Why did Jay have to destroy his new manuscript before beginning a new life? Why was it important for Jay to finally plant Joe’s “Specials” seeds?

About the Author: Joanne Harris is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Blackberry Wine, Five Quarters of the Orange, and Chocolat, which was nominated for the Whitbread Award, one of Britain’s most prestigious literary prizes. Half French and half British, Harris lives in England.


Blueberries | Red Wines
You can also use these recipes using Saskatoon Berries, Bilberries or Cranberries in place of the Blueberries.


Blueberry Wine

* 4 to 5 cups blueberries
* 5 cups granulated sugar
* 2 teaspoon acid blend
* 1/2 tsp pectic enzyme
* 1 teaspoon nutrients
* 2 campden tablet
* 1 package wine yeast
* water

Blueberry Port

* 6 pounds (12 cups) blueberries
* 1/2 cup Dry malt
* 4 cups granulated sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon acid blend
* 1/2 teaspoon pectic enzyme
* 1 teaspoon yeast nutrient
* 2 campden tablet
* 1 package Sherry or Port yeast
* water

1. Crush the fruit. Add 12 cups of water and all other ingredients except the yeast. Stir well to dissolve sugar. Let sit overnight.
2. Specific gravity should be between 1.090 and 1.095. Sprinkle yeast over the mixture and stir. Stir daily for five days.
3. Strain the must and squeeze the juice out. Siphon into secondary fermentor, add water to make up volume and attach airlock.
4. For a dry wine, rack in three weeks, and every three months for one year. Bottle.
NOTE: You must finish wine dry if making Port.
5. For a sweet wine, rack at three weeks. Add 1/2 cup sugar dissolved in 1 cup wine. Stir gently, and place back into secondary fermentor. 6.

Repeat process every six weeks until fermentation does not restart with the addition of sugar. Rack every three months until one year old.


- The wine is best if you can refrain from drinking it for one full year from the date it was started.
- Age all wines one year or more.


If desired, 1 cup red grape concentrate may be added to the Blueberry Wine at the time of bottling for a fuller flavour. If used, also add 1/2 teaspoon Stabilizer to prevent restarting fermentation.


Blueberry Wine, A Wine for All Seasons

Vaccinium corymbosum L. (Ericaceae) - Latin for blueberry

Blueberry Wine | Red WinesAlthough grapes grow throughout the world, the winter weather in western Massachusetts is severe by any standard. Vinifera grapes, i.e. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, etc. cannot grow at our elevation (1,370′ above sea level). French hybrid grapes, i.e. Seyval Blanc or Vidal Blanc, may grow but we haven’t tried. But blueberries grow here in abundance. They grow wild and are also cultivated within a five mile radius around the winery. Blueberry wine can be made in a variety of product styles. The wine can be made dry or sweet, still or effervescent, light or strong, and all of it is delicious.

Blueberries are indigenous to North America. They have been a part of the American tradition since the pilgrims. The Native Americans associated the blueberry, or “starberry” (just look at the star design on the bottom of one) with the Great Spirit. It was thought that “starberries” were sent to Earth to end a period of famine. Wild blues were eaten fresh in Summer and dried or made into a paste for medicine, food, teas, juice, syrup and dye in the Winter.

We don’t know for a fact, but we can hope that blueberries were served at the first Thanksgiving at the other end of Massachusetts. We like to think they may have served blueberry wine.

At Thanksgiving, drink Blueberry Wine…
An American Wine For An American Tradition.


Koren Raspberry Wine | Red WinesIf you ever wondered how grapes can ferment into something that tastes totally unlike grapes, get this: a Korean black raspberry wine that tastes just like grapes.

Smells just like Hi-C, or Welches Grape Soda, or even grapes. Go figure.

It’s absolutely cheap, cost around $4.50.

Amethysts Wine Glass | Red WinesThe ancient Greeks loved wine and were always searching for ways to drink without getting drunk. They finally came up with what they thought was the antidote to the downside of Dionysus: drinking purple wine from a purple vessel made of semi-precious stone would cause the two purples to cancel each other out and negate whatever was in the wine that caused drunkeness.

In Greek, the prefix a means “not,” methyein means “drunk” (from methy-wine), so the work for “not drunk” became the name of the purple stone the vessel was made out of - amethyst.

Taken from Cuisine and Culture

Camelot Pinot Noir | Red WinesFrom Stacy Slinkard,
Your Guide to Wine.

Pinot Noir may be the toughest grape to grow, but the effort is well worth the investment. This is “every man’s” grape, versatile for completing a wide variety of foods and flavors, light enough to woo “non-red wine” drinkers, and priced from $6-50+, willing and ready to fit every budget.

1. Camelot Pinot Noir 2003 (California) $8
Camelot Pinot Noir 2003(California)reasonably priced at $8 a bottle. This Pinot Noir is great with mushroom dishes and seafood, offering berry flavors with a touch of chocolate at the finish.

2. Turning Leaf Pinot Noir 2002 (California) $10
Turning Leaf Pinot Noir 2002(California) well-priced at $10. A classic Pinot Noir with flavors of cherry and spice and all things nice.

3. Alamos Pinot Noir 2002 (Argentina) $10
Alamos Pinot Noir 2002 (Argentina)available at $10 a bottle. Fresh fruit flavors combine with soft tannins, making this an excellent wine to pair with seafood or pork.

4. Castle Rock Carneros Pinot Noir 2003 (California) $10
Castle Rock Carneros Pinot Noir 2003 (California) reasonably priced at $10 a bottle. This Pinot Noir has dark cherry and vanilla flavors that will pair well with a wide vriety of foods from fish and chips to pork chops.

5. Wyndham Estate Bin 333 Pinot Noir 2003 (Australia) $10
The Wyndham Estate Bin 333 Pinot Noir is a remarkable value wine, a medium-bodied red wine with fresh cherry and strawberry making up the dominant flavor profile. This wine is well balanced, well priced and well-distributed - making it a perfect wine for a wide range of occassions. This wine was simply delicious with marinated flank steak and twice baked potatoes!

6. Coyote Ridge 2001 Pinot Noir (Oregon) $9
This is Portland’s number one selling Pinot Noir for 2004. Produced just north of Corvallis in the heart of Oregon’s wine country, the Coyote Ridge Pinot Noir offers the customer a clear choice for both value and quality. Pair with rich fish or poultry dishes.

7. Beringer Pinot Noir Founders’ 2004 (California) $7
A super-value Pinot Noir from one of California’s largest producers. This Pinot Noir has remarkable flavors with a soft, engaging finish. Perfect for picnics!

8. Beaulieu Pinot Noir Coastal 2003 (California) $7
This is a very laid-back Pinot Noir. Easy to drink, easy to find and definitely a favorite for dinner guests due to its compatibility with virtually any dish!

9. Indigo Hills Pinot Noir 2003 (California) $10
A Pinot Noir with a wee bit of kick. Beautiful flavor profile with a touch of spice on the finish.

10. Robert Mondavi Pinot Noir Coastal $10
Strawberries galore, wrapped in super subtle tannins. This is an elegant red wine made to go the distance from informal backyard barbecues to formal dinners - Mondavi has made a wine that can truly do it all. All this for a very reasonable price.


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