first stew of the season with two wines

Autumn is a good time of year for cooking. It's probably my favourite, as it's an excuse to get stuck into proper, rib-sticking comfort food. The first stew of the season was venison, slow-cooked in port with onions, mushrooms, sweet potatoes and parsnips. It was ridiculously rich and while it probably needed another half hour or so, we were hungry and the odd chewy bit of meat was a small price to pay.

Passadouro 2006

Opaque purple, dark core. I need to buy some new candles as these energy saver bulbs are rubbish for determining the subtleties of wine tint.

Nose is focused, intense dark bramble fruit wrapped in cocoa powder and nutmeg. There's almost a touch of mulling spice to it.

Rustic but focused - you sip it and there's an impressive acidity balanced with that crazy cocoa, nutmeg and black tea tannin. It's tight. Crushing your tongue against the roof of your mouth and squeezing brings out a good juiciness, a fruit focus that can be hard to notice with all those brambly, underbrush-like tannins. It comes out more with the stew, that dark juicy fruit of brambles edged with raspberries. Very Portuguese.


Consolation 'The Dog Strangler' Mourvedre Collioure Rouge 2008

Nicely dark. Good brilliance. Can't really tell in my dining room. *jots down 'candles' on an imaginary shopping list*

Nose is intense blueberry compote, plum and liquorice. Heady and perfumed with surprising floral edges. There is a darkness as well.

Have you ever bitten into a properly ripe mourvedre grape? The skins are thick, chewy and full of tannin - they burst with juice - blueberries, honey and plum-like juice. This wine tastes just like biting into a ripe mourvedre grape. The tannins are thick, dusty and a touch sweet; they hit first and then comes this compote fruit that manages at once to be dark berry and lightly honeyed all at once. It's all incredibly rounded and textured, hitting every part of the mouth with grip and nuance. Full disclosure: I help at this winery during vintage and have yet to meet one of their wines that I haven't liked. 


Tasted at Shorehead 27/9/2010