General Manager and Sommelier
Quattro at Whistler, 604-905-4844
The history of fortified wines dates to the 17th
century or earlier. One of the most popular
Italian fortified wines is Cinzano, originating in
northern Italy’s Piedmont region. Port, Madeira,
Marsala, vermouth and sherry are other popular
fortified wines produced around the world.
The production method is distinctive in that the
fermentation process is halted by the addition
of a neutral spirit, taking place at either the
beginning of the fermentation (sweet style) or
near the end (dry style). In some cases, the grapes
used in the production dry partially before the
Most countries produce some form of fortified
wine and Italy is no exception. Cinzano Rosso is
a classic example of an off-dry style and is the star
of the show in a Negroni, a classic cocktail that
originated in Florence. It’s also the perfect starter
to enjoy with our delicious antipasti, which is one
of our specialties at Quattro, featuring our classic
arancini, radicchio bocconcini, and more.
Cin Cin! Visit cinzano.com.
LEAGH BARKLE Y
Il Caminetto, 604-932-4442
Our wine selection at Il Caminetto complements
the unique menu inspired by the restaurant’s
Italian heritage, focusing primarily on Italian
wines with a selection of vintages from each
of Italy’s regions. Our selection also shines the
spotlight on the West Coast, with a wide range of
local wines from outstanding vintners.
My favourite fortified wines from our cellar are
sourced near and far. Locally, I often recommend
D’oro by Vista D’Oro, 2008, from my hometown
of Langley, B.C. This walnut-infused fortified
wine brilliantly resembles a Fine Tawny Port
with 10 years of barrel aging. From Italy, we
serve Vecchio Florio Marsala Superiore Dolce,
which is a great pairing with desserts like Chef
James Walt’s tiramisu. And for the true port
aficionado, we offer Taylor Fladgate’s Very Old
Single Harvest 1969 vintage by the glass. The
deep copper and amber hues in this wine show
its age, while the brightness in the reflections
shows the freshness and vibrancy still present.
As the wine enters the mouth, the sweetness
awakens and envelops the palate. A wave of
complex tertiary flavours, reminiscent of spices
such as Jamaican pepper, Sri Lankan cinnamon,
candied ginger and dark cocoa, as well as fruit
flavours like ripe cherries and plums, wash over
the tongue. Appreciate it on its own or pair with
our chocolate crémeux and Marsala-poached pear
dessert. Visit taylor.pt.
LUC TROT TIER
Bearfoot Bistro, 604-932-3433
One of my favourite styles of fortified wine
comes from Banyuls, an appellation within the
Languedoc-Rousillon region in the south of
France. M. Chapoutier Bila-Haut is a delicious
example of a Vin Doux Naturels (VDNs), grown
on rugged hills overlooking the Mediterranean.
Made from 100 per cent Grenache Noir grapes
that are harvested by hand when very ripe, it
is then fortified with a grape spirit at just the
right time to halt the fermentation process and
preserve the natural sweetness. Although the
fortification process is very similar to port from
Portugal, wine from Banyuls has less alcohol,
usually around 10 to 15 per cent, which makes it
lighter and less sweet.
Bila-Haut, with its intense flavours of cassis, ripe
cherries and black fruit, and a subtle cocoa finish,
has a mouthfeel that is light, fresh and highly
drinkable, and an ideal pairing for chocolate,
like Bearfoot Bistro’s signature Quanah dark
chocolate desserts and chocolate bars.
INTRODUCTION BY NIKKI BAILEY
Winter’s snowy mountains and sub-zero temperatures invite comforting
restoratives to sip and savour around the fire. What better fits this
category than fortified wine? From port and sherry to vermouth and
Marsala, fortified wines are made by adding a distilled spirit to wine
either before fermentation is complete — which yields sweet, high-proof
fortified wine — or near the end, or after fermentation, for a dryer style.
The next time you’re dining out in Whistler, take the advice of these
three sommeliers and think about pairing port with cheese or a decadent
dessert, or perhaps enjoying a vermouth-based cocktail. Cheers!
Very Old Single Harvest, 1969
M. Chapoutier – Bila-Haut