by Beth Heiserman
In previous articles, I have discussed the history of port-style wine and single varietal ports, but not all the styles of a port-style wine.
Solera is a process for different beverages, like port wine. Some whiskeys can also be processed in this fashion. It is the process of blending in such a way that the finished creation is a mixture of a port-style wine from different vintages, with the average age increasing every year, and a new vintage added every year. Historically, it refers to the lower level of barrels used in the method. The wine would be moved from barrel to barrel, top to bottom, the oldest blend being in the barrel on the bottom. No barrel is ever completely depleted, so some of the earlier wine always remains in each barrel. Winemakers will leave a small quantity in each barrel, but there can be substantial traces of the wine, depending upon the amount that was removed from each barrel. In theory, traces of the very first batch placed in the solera should be present even after 20 years of this process.
Reyes Winery’s 12-year-old Agua Dulce Delight is a recognition of craftsmanship. After a decade of care and slow oak maturation, we have bottled this amazing example of complex flavors and artistry in a port-style dessert wine. This is for those who appreciate quality and every component of wine. It has aromas of fresh figs and orange blossom honey. This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah was aged in French oak barrels, where it acquired its sophisticated notes and caramel, dates, and a hint of chocolate over time.
I did make this for a Passover appetizer. I substituted the flour for cake meal. Matzoh makes the best crust, and since it doesn’t have a lot of flavor, it allows the cheesecake to shine. Enjoy this cheesecake with 12-year-old Reyes Winery’s Agua Dulce Delight.
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp cardamom
¼ cup of flour
8 oz goat cheese
½ cup fig butter
¾ cup of sugar
¾ cup of crushed crackers (2 packages of crackers; I used Matzoh)
½ cup pecans, crushed into meal
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees (Fahrenheit).
In the bowl of a food processor, combine crackers, pecans and melted butter and process until thoroughly combined. My food processor had burned out recently and I have used a large ziplock bag and added the ingredients and used a mallet. I think that was more fun. Press the mixture on the bottom and partially up the sides of an 8-inch springform pan. You can also make it in a pie pan. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine goat cheese, cream cheese, sugar, flour and sour cream.
Mix until smooth.
Add eggs. Mix until combined.
Fold-in fig butter.
Place mixture into a pan sprayed with Pam.
Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the cake is golden brown and not loose in the center.
Chill and then serve with the 12-year old Reyes Winery Agua Dulce Delight.