Aromas give the game away!

Aromas give the game away!

Del Duque Amontillado, Jerez (aged 30 years), 21.5%, €22.99 Bradley’s, North Main Street.

The minute she walked in the room, I lost all chance of keeping the precious 37.5cl bottle of Del Duque Amontillado for myself.

“What is that aroma?”, she asked, enthusiastically. “Toastie? Caramel? So sharp. So clear. Where is is coming from?” I just had to offer her a glass. Knowing full well it wouldn't stop at that.

Now that this Gonzalez Byass bottle was out in the open - had been under a small coffee table - I could really appreciate its brilliant amber colour, even enjoy those marvellous aromas, fruit and floral notes there too and hints of cinnamon.

Little sips will do you, I advised. And took that advice myself. Thirty years on - the wine, that is, not us - the palate is dry and lively, aromas everywhere in those intense and complex flavours, such concentration and, of course, that marvellous finish. Don't go chilling this by the way - serve it at room temperature, with some mature Hegarty’s cheddar perhaps.

A Glass of Croft for the Cook!

Croft Triple Crown Ruby Port, c.€17.50 O’Donovan’s

Needed a glass of Port for a favourite liver recipe the other evening. But the cupboard was bare! A quick dash (maybe not that quick, I did have the dog in tow) to the local O'Donovan's Off Licence uncovered this one (and in fairness, quite a few more).

This full bodied very approachable ruby is quite fruity with a decent bit of spice.Three years in seasoned oak hasn't done it any harm at all. It did its sweet job with the liver and the glass for the cook, recommended by the O'Donovan's manager, went down very well indeed.

Ruby ports are also ideal with the cheese-board and this could hold its own with Crozier or Cashel Blue. Or maybe just have it on its own.

The company of Taylor, Fladgate and Yeatman is one of the most significant of all Port producers. They own a number of Port houses, including Taylor’s, Fonseca and Croft. Ruby port is the cheapest and most extensively produced type of port. It does not generally improve with age.