Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Drinker's Notebook No. 4: Stilton, Port & Falling Snow

Not all traditions have to be longstanding, but it was some years ago that Ella and I started buying a round of Stilton each holiday season to drink with Port, and, at about the same time, becoming enamored with the history and artistry of Stilton spoons. We were able to find a couple of them, I remember, in the vintage cutlery cabinets of the gift shops of Edgartown and one or two elsewhere. If one has to buy something to excess, then it's probably more prudent that it be Stilton spoons and not classic motorcars or vacation villas and island houses. Yesterday, during a beautiful and somewhat-gentle snowstorm, we invited our neighbor, Steve Elliott, over for some wine, cheese, pear slices and a roaring fire to while away the afternoon before we each had to retrieve our snow shovels before darkness crept in. The Ports were a familiar one, Fonseca Bin No. 27 from the Fladgate Partnership, and one I hadn't poured before, a 2001 Vintage Cockburn's Quinta dos Canais. Both wines have some personal resonance with me, as I have frequently visited and tasted with the Bridges and the Guimaraens families who steer Fladgate in the Douro and, during this year's harvest, touring overland by 4WD the Quinta dos Canais estate with Rupert Symington, whose family purchased Cockburn's in 2010, long after the wine we were drinking was made. But yesterday we were all fast in the present, discussing Steve's and Ella's experiences as painters and mine as a writer as we merrily carved Stilton and switched back and forth between the two Ports as the snow continued falling. It's traditional.

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