Kopke Colheita Port & cookiesHalloween is tomorrow and to spread the fun of this light-hearted holiday, we’re selling ghoulish cookies this weekend and we want you to enjoy them with some port wine. Stop in, get a bottle of port, cookies, and other must-haves, then enjoy it all at home!  Our port selection is at its peak so we’ve got you covered, no matter whether your preference is Ruby, Tawny, Vintage, or White ports. The amazing pastries are made fresh by our talented Western Avenue neighbor, The Barque Brontes bakery.  These gorgeous cookies are almost too stunning to eat, but do not resist; they taste as great as they look!  And if you have any port left over, use it to make the Azorean Beef Stew recipe (below).  If you haven’t visited Barque Brontes Bakery yet, they make superb espresso drinks, tantalizing pastries, and desserts.

NEW CHEESE SHIPMENT – We pre-ordered these cheeses last summer and they just arrived!
Fleur de Re CendreeFleur de Ré Cendrée – This beautiful goat cheese comes in approximately 5 oz rounds, coated with ash which makes a stunning visual statement on a cheese board, as well as aging the cheese from the outside in.  Lightly salted with Fleur de Sel from the Ile de Ré, off the western coast of France (long famed for its salt production). With a tangy flavor and a texture that oozes as it warms up, this uber-creamy fromage has a slight crunch from the salt.  This is a spectacular cheese.
Crottin de Pays:  A two-serving mini round of flavorful goat cheese that is unctuous, soft, and spreadable.  Perfect in a salad of fresh or bitter greens.
Chabichou du PoitouChabichou du Poitou –  One of the great cheeses of the world with a delicate complexity of flavors. This young cheese sports a wrinkled rind and is sweet-cream fresh.  Tender, flavorful and scrumptious.
Beaufort d'EteBeaufort d’Été, is a raw-milk cow cheese from Savoie.  The cow’s summer diet of fresh grass and flowers lends extra flavor components to the cheese.  Its texture is smooth and creamy, and its flavor is nutty and floral-reminiscent of a traditional Gruyere, but subtler and with deeper nuance and complexity.  Enjoy with rustic bread or melt it into fondue.  It would also pair wonderfully with tawny port.
Ovelha-Amanteigado sheep milk cheeseOvelha Amanteigado is a raw sheep milk, vegetarian cheese from Beira Alta, Portugal.  This stupendous cheese from Queijos Tavares has a buttery soft texture.  The use of thistle rennet imparts a slightly sour tang that along with hints of lanolin from the raw sheep milk make for a heady combination.  Yet, the overall flavor remains more delicate and nuanced than overwhelming with floral, pastoral notes.  This is a cheese that is so oozy soft that you can scoop it out with a cracker.  Fabulous.

IT’S PORT SEASON – When twilight comes earlier and temperatures fall, a tipple of port can make the world a happier place.  There are many styles and price points to select from and Paris Madrid Grocery has one of the largest port selections around.  If you are new to port and want to learn more about it, here is a brief guide to the various styles.

White ports are made from white indigenous Portuguese grapes and range from Extra dry, Dry (medium sweet) or Lagrima (very sweet).  Many are bottled young after aging just 2 or 3 years in cask, but there are white port styles aged longer in oak.  Enjoy them neat with a slight chill, or make a refreshing port tonic cocktail – combine white port and tonic water over ice with a slice of lime.

Dona Antonia Reserve portTawny and ruby ports are made from a blend of up to 30 red Portuguese indigenous grape varieties which thrive in the hot and dry climate of the Douro Valley.  The best port grapes are foot trodden in stone lagares, where after a few hours the fermentation begins.  Fortification with a high-quality brandy follows when the wine reaches the desired sugar level.  The following spring, the wines are evaluated and then designated the style of port it will become.  The wines are moved to the port lodges in Vila Nova de Gaia, across the river from Porto where it is aged, blended and bottled according to the type of port it will become.

port tastingRuby ports that are aged in large oak vats for two or three years are called Fine Ruby or simply Ruby ports and have a full-bodied, red fruit flavor.  Reserve Ports are generally of higher quality and aged in oak for four to six years.  Late Bottled Vintage Ports remain in vat for between four and six years, then bottled.  LBV’s can be aged further in the bottle to gain more complexity.   Ruby style ports, once opened, will remain fresh for 6-8 weeks.

Tawny ports are aged exclusively in oak casks until they are bottled.  They exhibit nutty, caramel, butterscotch, orange peel and spice characteristics.  They gain in complexity as they age as flavors become more concentrated.  Typically tawny ports are blends of 10, 20, 30 and 40-year-old tawnies although there are Colheita (single vintage) Tawny ports as well.  The 10, 20, 30, 40-year designated tawny ports are average ages.  Thus a 10 year tawny will contain some 5 year old tawny, some 20 year old tawny, etc, so that the average age of the wine in the bottle is 10 years old.  Producers each have their house style and intensive blending takes place each year so that no matter when a bottle of, for example, Grahams 10 year tawny is purchased, it will taste the same.   Tawny ports, once opened, are stable and can be enjoyed over several months without a degradation of flavors.

warre vintage portVintage Port represents the very best produce of a single outstanding year and these are the top ruby ports. It remains in vat for only about two years and then ages in bottle. Although Vintage Ports can be enjoyed when young, they will improve for many decades in the cellar and are among the most long-lasting of all wines. Vintage ports are non filtered and thus have a residue of lees that protect the wine and add to its complexity; they should be filtered before drinking.  Once opened, vintage ports must be consumed within 2-3 days just like a still wine, because they oxidize quickly and lose their special complexity.   A vintage port can be enjoyed on its own, or served with blue cheeses or desserts.

Our favorite ports:
Kopke Fine Ruby:  ($18.99/750 ml)  Red fruit, full-bodied, weighty.  Also great for making port wine sauce.
Dona Antonia Reserve: ($24.99/750 ml) Aged about 7 years in vat, this is like a cross between a ruby and a tawny, with notes of almonds, cherry, and nougat.  Great value!
Niepoort 10 year Tawny: ($50.00/750 ml)  Incredible complexity with notes of orange peel, roasted nuts, and butterscotch.  Wine Spectator calls it a benchmark 10 year tawny (95 points)
Grahams 10 year Tawny::  ($41.00/750 ml) One of the sweeter styles of tawny, it is well balanced and delightful with notes of dried fruit, honey, and nuts.
Ramos Pinto 20 year Tawny:  ($80.00/750 ml) Incredibly complex and fabulous.  Changes continuously on the palate, smooth and medium sweet, excellent balance, and superb finish.
Sandeman 20 year Tawny:    ($58.00/750 ml) Elegant, saturated butterscotch, roasted walnuts, figs, and a touch of chocolate.
Kopke Colheita 1989 Tawny ($40.00/375 ml-Limited availability) – Kopke specializes in Tawny ports, and especially Colheita Tawnies.  1989 was a great year and this tawny is intense, weighty, and round on the palate.  Fresh, with almond-hazelnut flavors, bright acidity, and a lingering finish.  Phenomenal.
Kopke Colheita 1967 ($115.00/375 ml, $219.00/750 ml, limited availability) – Wow!  This has incredible freshness, complexity and length.  Notes of orange peel, nut butter, honey, caramel, nougat, dried figs.  Medium sweet with a finish that seems to go on and on.   A splurge and worth it.
Dow’s Vintage Port 1994 – 1963 was the historical vintage that saved the port wine industry.  1994 was the next great vintage to follow 1963, this Dow’s port can be drunk now or aged for 10 to 20 more years.  Wine Spectator (97 points): A blackstrap, powerful Port. Black, with intense aromas of raspberries, raisins, flowers and stems. Full-bodied and medium sweet, with a long, rich finish. Tannins pull at your palate. A wine for the future.

We are now hiring for a part-time cashier/customer service position, 24-32 hours per week.   Must be available to work over Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years holidays.  Please send resume to sharon@parismadridgrocery.com.

Azorean beef stewAZOREAN BEEF STEW   Serves 2    From The Spanish Table cookbook by Steve Winston

2 strips                              Bacon, diced
1 pound                               Beef steak, cubed
½                                             Onion, chopped
2 cloves                                Garlic, chopped
1                                              Bay leaf
1                                              Potato in ½ inch cubes
1                                              Carrot, ⅛ inch slices
¼ cup                                    Tawny port
¼ cup                                    Pimenta Moída (available at Paris-Madrid Grocery)
¼ cup                                    Cilantro, chopped

In a medium clay cazuela, slowly heat bacon to release the fat, then increase heat and brown.
Add beef, turn up the heat, and brown (5 minutes).
Add onions, garlic, and bay leaf then wilt (5 minutes).
Add potato cubes, carrot slices, port, and Pimenta Moída.
Cover the cazuela and cook for 20 minutes over medium heat.
After 20 minutes, remove bay leaf.
Stir in cilantro and test potatoes with a fork. Cook a bit longer if potatoes are not soft.
When potatoes are done, let rest, covered, for a few minutes.
Serve with a little Pimenta Moída on the side for people to add to their taste.