fortified wine Archives - Please The Palate
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I love exploring wine regions and trying new wines and the newest region that I tried for the first time is an old region. It is the Peninsula de Setúbal located in the Southwest of Portugal. Most famous for their fortified Moscatel de Setúbal, which is very delicious, they also produce high quality still wines that are also great values. I was so impressed with the wine that I wrote my column in the Napa Valley Register about them which you can read here.

Living in the United States, we are exposed to many wines from around the world: France, Italy, Australia, New Zealand and Spain, to name a few countries. But, what about Portugal? I am familiar with the fortified wines of Madeira and Porto and have tasted some still wines from Alentejo and Dao. But when I was asked to organize some intimate events for the region of Setúbal, my curiosity was piqued.

The first challenge was saying Setúbal properly. After some practice with the Portuguese speakers, I was finally able to properly say it – “StUbal”. Remove the first “e” and stress the “u” and you, too, can sound like you speak Portuguese.

Last week I was licking my lips after drinking Madeira, the nectar of the Gods, all week. Well, this week, I got to sip another Portuguese fortified wine, Moscatel de Setúbal and yet again, I am licking my lips. And that is why this lip-licking fortified wine made from at least 85 percent Muscat of Alexandria grapes is the Please The Palate pick of the week. Portugal is famous for a variety of fortified wines. Madeira comes from the island of Madeira, Port comes from the Douro Valley and Setúbal comes from the Setúbal Peninsula located in the southwest of Portugal.
Fortified wines may not be the biggest sellers in the U.S. but they should be. Madeira, Port, Sherry and Pineau des Charentes....there is so much to love about each of these fortified wines. In my recent column in the Napa Valley Register, I explored the delicious world of Pineau des Charentes that comes from the Cognac region in Southwestern France which you can read here.

If you say “Pineau” out loud, it sounds like “pinot.” As I looked into my glass filled with a golden yellow liquid, I thought, “This is pinot? Perhaps it is pinot grigio?”

Well, it was neither. It was Pineau des Charentes, simply called "Pineau," a French aperitif.

Pineau des Charentes, like Port, Madeira and Sherry, is a fortified wine. But, Pineau des Charentes is from the Charente department of the Cognac region in southwestern France.