Sunday, January 08, 2012
Graham's 1977 port with cheese
Also on New Year's Eve, we had this bottle of Graham's 1977 which I procured earlier in the year from a reliable source, i.e. ACC, at a very reasonable price. I notice that Cadman Fine Wines, who are based in my home town of Northampton, currently have it on special offer for £47.50 a bottle. It's normally £67.50, so that's quite a steal. (But "What's the provenance?!" I hear ACC cry... signs of seepage, hmmm.)
In the glass it was young-looking with a nice dark plummy colour. On the nose, it was heady and sweet, and we detected prunes. I don't know a lot about the 1977 vintage but G tells me these ports are known for being big, rich and alcoholic, and this certainly ticked those boxes. I would say it was relatively sweet in style. The second night it still had some spiritiness on the nose and the third time - yes, amazingly it lasted that long - it was even better. G thinks this is a sign that it will improve and could last another 10 or even 20 years.
We had it with a variety of cheeses from La Fromagerie who have a shop next to the Ginger Pig in Moxon Street, just off Marylebone High Street. I'm a huge fan of the Ginger Pig and go there nearly every week, walking past La Fromag. on the way, but I've always been put off going inside by what seemed to be an invisible yet very definite veil of smugness in the doorway. But G went there a few weeks ago and came back with some lovely stuff, then we went there together so I was able to observe how the system worked, and now I've been in all by myself!
They have a special cheese room with a sliding door so heavy you could dislocate your shoulder trying to open it, assuming you have the gall to presume that you're allowed to open it yourself in the first place - I'm still not quite sure what the rules are. The aim is to keep the temperature in the cheese room low and once inside, it's a treasure trove of obscure varieties. It was a good time to go, not too busy, and I was served by a helpful bloke and got a mouldy-looking goat's cheese, some Bleu des Causses and a Swedish cheese called Almnäs Tegel which turned out to be a bit like mature Gruyere and was just my kind of thing. The port went best with the Bleu des Causses, and my twice-baked oatcakes were a great success. Pretentious, moi? I should point out they were only twice-baked because they turned out not to be properly baked the first time round.