Once again Euan Mackay, Graham’s Sales Director, has been in Hong Kong for The Vintage Port Academy. Founded last year by the classic Port houses of Symington Family Estates (Graham’s, Dow’s, Warre’s) and Taylor Fladgate Partnership (Croft, Fonseca, Taylor’s), the aim of the Vintage Port Academy is to develop an understanding and enjoyment of Vintage Port among wine consumers and professionals around the world, through a programme of seminars and courses for wine trade and hospitality personnel as well as tastings and workshops for fine wine consumers, collectors and media.
The workshops are a key initiative, providing valuable specialist training to wine, food and hospitality professionals who wish to offer Port to their customers. The classes are also a great adjunct to other wine trade studies and qualifications. Participants complete an exam at the conclusion of their course, which included a question on how best to recommend a Late Bottled Vintage Port to a customer, with prizes for the top scorers.
This year’s winners were Leo Au who works in Beverage Service at the Salon de Ning, Peninsula Hotel, whose LBV advice took the form of a tasting note: “On the palate, nice balance between sweetness and flavour, gives you a strong wonderful mouth-feel every sip.” Ian Wo, Assistant Restaurant Manager and Sommelier at the Centurion Restaurant & Kat O Bar, Shatin Clubhouse, Hong Kong Jockey Club put his recommendation in the form of food pairing suggestions, which sound very good to us: “This wine would pair perfectly well with heavy red meat dishes, and for Chinese food, don’t forget to try this with a BBQ suckling pig. You’ll fall in love with it!” Leo and Ian each won a special Vintage Port Academy case of a bottle of each Graham’s 2007 and Taylor’s 2007.
Additionally, Euan and Nick Heath from Taylor Fladgate held a special tasting for the Press, describing the Douro region and the importance of terroir and provenance for Vintage Ports, re-enforcing their points with a tasting of Quinta Vintage Ports. There was also a trade tasting where each importer presented a range of Vintage Ports to their customers.
Finally a Port and Food Pairing event at the Kee club attracted over 200 wine lovers, who enjoyed some wonderful and creative pairings with Graham’s wines, including
- Late Bottled Vintage 2005 with Francesca Bari almonds
- 20 Year Old Tawny with foie gras and Graham’s 20 Year Olld Tawny Jelly on chocolate biscuits – Euan’s personal favourite of the event
- Graham’s Vintage 1980 with venison patties
The Vintage Port Academy has a new dedicated website, where you can learn more about upcoming activities, and register your interest in next year’s events.