Hunting season is back underway, and as such, game is very much back on the menu. Which as anyone who has ever enjoyed a well cooked rabbit, deer or pigeon knows is great news.
Here we ask expert Adrian Muica, Sommelier of Alyn Williams at The Westbury, for his pick of the five finest ports on the market to be enjoyed alongside some classic game meats from the four corners of the British isles.
Created using only the finest quality grapes from the Quintas of the Douro valley, port is an unfairly overlooked tipple that compliments just about anything you can shoot with a rifle perfectly. And while a good single malt whisky can set you back upwards of £300, you can pick yourself up a 30 year old cask aged Tawny for less than £80.
1 | Wood pigeon with Graham’s Fine White Port (75cl), £10.99
This is a fatty bird and that means a rich dish and matching with a Ruby or a Tawny would be overpowering to say the least, making the refreshing flavours from a white port an ideal bedfellow. Graham’s Fine White is fresh and delicate, with delicious top notes of honey and background flavours of sharp citrus fruit counterbalancing the pigeon and cutting through the richness.
2 | Partridge with Warre’s Colheita Port (75cl), £15.00
Partridge has a subtle gamey overtone and is far lighter than its bigger cousin The Grouse. When served with savoy cabbage or earthy root veg, as is often the case, Warre’s Colheita Port and its delicate fruit flavours combine with spice from cinnamon and clove, creating a subtle flavour profile to complement the overall richness of the dish.
3 | Venison with Cockburns 10 year old Tawny(75cl), £10.79
The perfect complement to the subtle flavour of venison is undoubtedly Cockburns 10 year old Tawny. Aromas of fruit combine with sweet toffee, caramel and honey overtones, intensifying the profile of the dish which is often served with sharp fruity accompaniments like blackberry. Dried fruit and hints of walnuts and almond wash over the palette and bring out the natural sweetness of the meat.
4 | Rabbit and Dow’s Trademark Port (75cl), £6.99
Lean, slightly sweet and when cooked in fatty bacon with fresh herbs rabbit is brought to life as the diner becomes quickly immersed in a sensory overload of game. As such, the undertones of spice found in Dow’s Trademark Port mirror the flavour of the meat as fruity, luscious and deep ripe fruit flavours dance across the palate and enhance the sweet and salty juxtaposition of the port, meat and bacon.
5 | Grouse with Graham’s 30 year Tawny Port (75cl), £64.65
Graham’s 30 year old Tawny provides the perfect accompaniment to the unctuous gamey flavours found in roast grouse. The extremely complex nutty aromas of the aged port combine with hints of honey and figs to intensify the wonderfully rich flavours from the roasted meat. Overtones of blackberry from this Tawny create a wonderfully smooth taste that only serves to further accentuate the meat whilst never overpowering yet expertly lifts the dish to a new height.