Wine Tips from Sommelier Ludovic Anacleto of Azul Beach Hotel - Riviera Maya, Mexico

October 2006

First of all, matching a meal with Port is, well, audacious. Port is a fortified wine and has a strong alcohol presence.

Port can be best allied with a nice foie gras terrine, especially from goose. Try to select a tawny or a LBV (late bottle vintage). Personally, I prefer to drink a port rather than a Sauternes with many foie gras dishes.

A nice white port like Quinta do Noval can be also very pleasant with a Peking-style glazed duck with apricot or peach flavors and a crispy skin for the texture.

The best pairing I have experienced with port was a Taylor Fladgate 1948 Vintage with a homemade brioche with cherries, lightly toasted with a slice of Fourme d´Ambert cheese. This was a real symphony for the palate orchestrated by Alain Senderens! Especially in France, people still automatically drink red wine with cheese and neglect port as a truly great companion for cheese - especially blue cheeses. Both white and red Port can be paired nicely with cheese.

Port is a perfect companion for dark chocolate preparations. Here at Azul Beach Hotel, I pair Chef Karl Mayrhofler’s traditional Mexican mole (a dish with a chocolate-based sauce) with a glass of Fonseca port LBV. This pairing works perfectly because this subtle wine has touches of chocolate and nuts of its own. Port wines are also very pleasant to have with any dark chocolate dessert. Valhrona and guanaja chocolate works nice with any early vintage port or a nice LBV.

Port is considered as a cordial in Portugal, contrary to the other European countries where it is considered as an aperitif or before-dinner drink. It is taken very seriously in Portugal, where this wine is a piece of the patrimony. Port is the wine for special occasions in this magnificent country with plenty of traditions and mysticism.