Rossendale Free Press - - Leisure - ANDY CRONSHAW

IF you’re get­ting out and about to cel­e­brate Hal­loween and Bon­fire night an es­sen­tial ac­ces­sory will be a glass of warm­ing spicy red or, per­haps even bet­ter, Port.

Per­fect for the job would be wines from the Douro val­ley, such as those I in­ves­ti­gated at a Hang­ing Ditch tast­ing last week from Quinta Do Por­tal.

Of course, for Port it­self, it’s ab­so­lutely nec­es­sary to head to the Douro as all real Port is pro­duced there.

Por­tal is a Port pro­ducer with vines around the Pin­hão Val­ley but, like many other wine­mak­ers there, its ta­ble wines are be­com­ing more prom­i­nent and suc­cess­ful.

There is an in­cen­tive for Port pro­duc­ers to make more ta­ble wines, given their pop­u­lar­ity and the fact that due to reg­u­la­tions Port is more ex­pen­sive to pro­duce.

Pe­dro Branco, from the es­tate, led us through the ta­ble wines fol­lowed by a cou­ple of for­ti­fied ex­am­ples.

There were two de­li­cious whites in­clud­ing a flo­ral and aro­matic Mosca­tel, known else­where as Mus­cat de Petit Grains.

All the reds use one of three grape va­ri­eties , Touriga Na­cional, Tinta Roriz and Touriga Franca al­though Por­tal does pro­duce a sin­gle

Por­tal LBV Port 2011

va­ri­etal wine from the Roriz oth­er­wise known as Tem­pranillo in Spain. Hang­ing Ditch has a few ex­am­ples of older vin­tages of these wines that show some nice de­vel­op­ment in bot­tle.


Fresh and lively with bright sup­ple fruit and flo­ral notes on the nose. El­e­gant yet easy­drink­ing.


A se­ri­ously good red bal­anc­ing the sen­sual spice and warmth of Douro red va­ri­eties with el­e­gance and fi­nesse.


A very pol­ished, el­e­gant wine with great depths of dark black­berry fruit.

The nose is herby with a hint of toasty vanilla. The tan­nins are very fine yet grippy enough for all kinds of roasted meats and warm­ing casseroles. A se­ri­ous din­ner party wine.

POR­TAL LBV PORT 2011 (£26)

What bet­ter way to warm the cock­les while watch­ing the fire­works or shep­herd­ing the kids on Hal­loween than this?

Ma­tured in large oak casks to de­velop the wine more quickly than vin­tage Port, Late Bot­tled Vin­tage is the bar­gain way to ex­pe­ri­ence the Douro’s for­ti­fied de­lights.

This is one of the best I’ve tasted with plenty of rich fruit cos­seted by notes of co­coa.

Slightly spicy in the mouth it fin­ishes long and true.

A fab­u­lous match for blue cheese or parkin.

If you can’t get over to Hang­ing Ditch Tay­lor’s LBV is well worth a shout at £ 14.99 at most ma­jor su­per­mar­kets.

The cur­rent 2013 ver­sion is ex­cel­lent with in­tense black­cur­rant fruit and a licorice kick.

“What bet­ter way to warm the cock­les while watch­ing the fire­works or shep­herd­ing the kids on Hal­loween”

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