Final: Any port in a storm will do

Final: Any port in a storm will do

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If there’s a liquid equal to consolation meals, it should certainly be port wine. It’s wealthy and warming, like slipping right into a well-worn leather-based chair in entrance of a roaring hearth. As such, we have a tendency to think about it as a winter beverage, a deal with to be loved after a festive vacation meal.

Port producers don’t take care of this pattern, in fact, though consumption is on the rise, and never simply throughout winter months. At a latest port tasting with Taylor Fladgate’s gross sales supervisor Joao Rebelo, we began the occasion with a refreshing mixture of Taylor’s white port blended with tonic water, a easy cocktail that I might be revisiting sooner or later.

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There’s a variety of kinds within the port realm, and every has its place, be it with meals, as an aperitif, a companion to chocolate (port is likely one of the only a few wines that compliments the extreme flavours of darkish chocolate) and blue cheese. Rebelo likes a calmly chilled glass of tawny port on the finish of his workday, a notion that struck me as very civilized as somebody who enjoys the occasional aperitif.

Port wine manufacturing is centred in and across the Portuguese metropolis of Porto (Oporto in Portuguese dialect) and alongside the steep banks of the Douro River area. As wine areas go, it’s probably the most stunningly lovely locations on this planet. The town of Porto has a really cool Bohemian vibe to it and is enjoyable to discover. Artsy neighbourhoods collide with old-world appeal and kicking again at a café with a few Pasteis de Nata (Portugal’s beloved custard tarts) has discovered me reconsidering my alternative of locations to dwell. Delicate winters, lovely coastal seashores, wine, olives, seafood, and comparatively reasonably priced; what’s to not like? The language is a bit tough, and must you go to, keep away from making the error of utilizing your smattering of Spanish there, they don’t seem to be the identical in any respect and the 2 nations, regardless of a pleasant alliance now, have been at conflict with one another prior to now.

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port
Joao Rebelo from Taylor Fladgate. cal

The historical past of Portugal’s well-known fortified wine dates to Roman instances however in 1675 the Port designation was acknowledged, and, in 1756, it grew to become the world’s first Managed Designation of Origin. In 2001, UNESCO added the Douro Valley to the World Heritage Record.

The model of the wine within the late 1600s was gentle, dry and astringent, and so they shipped a substantial quantity of it to the U.Ok. It was an arduous journey, to say the least. To guard the wine from additional degradation, the Brits began fortifying it with brandy, and it caught. The model wasn’t embraced by all, however by the nineteenth century, it grew to become the accepted style. The British firm run by the Symington Group established itself as a dominant presence and at present it owns Graham’s, Warre’s, Dow’s, and Cockburn’s, whereas The Fladgate Partnership controls Taylor Fladgate, Fonseca and Croft. The U.Ok. has historically been the biggest export marketplace for Port, however now it’s France and by a substantial margin.

Port is probably the most age-worthy wine on this planet, largely because of the reality it’s fortified, however not completely. The primary grapes are touriga nacional, tinta roriz, tinta cao, and tinta barroca, though not solely. Touriga nacional is a darkish, tannic purple that contributes aggressive tannins to the wine, which aids in its longevity. At one time, the one option to get the wine to market was by barges on the Douro River. To this present day, most vineyards should be harvested by hand because the steep, terraced websites don’t accommodate tractors. Treading the grapes by foot was frequent observe and a few Port lodges nonetheless do it, partly as a result of they just like the outcomes of foot treading, plus it’s enjoyable for the vacationers (aspect be aware: your legs might be purple from the knees down for a number of days). There’s a vary of kinds however right here’s a fundamental information:

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Classic Port: Produced from a single classic and aged for 2 years in barrel previous to being bottled. They will age in bottle for as much as 50 years (when the wine is from an distinctive classic).

Late Bottled Classic Port (LBV): From a single classic and aged for 4 to 6 years in barrel previous to bottling. Normally meant to be drunk upon launch, though some can enhance with age.

Tawny Port: A number of vintages aged for 3 years in barrels, however normally 10 to 40-plus years previous to being bottled. They don’t enhance with age; the wineries have performed this for you. Not like classic ports, they don’t throw sediment and as such don’t require decanting.

Colheita Port: Single classic tawny model aged for a few years in barrels. Like blended-year tawnies they don’t enhance with age.

White Port: Produced like different ports however made with white grapes, sometimes served as an aperitif. You’ll find each dry and candy variations.

As a rule of thumb, tawnies can final for a couple of month after being opened whereas classic ports ought to be consumed inside just a few days after being opened. Additionally, you will see the time period “single quinta” which merely means the grapes for that classic model come from a single farm, somewhat than blends from quite a few websites. The tawnies are likely to have nutty, dried fruit flavours, and change into extra so the older they’re. Many tawny aficionados just like the 20-year-olds as a result of they provide a pleasant stability between fruit and the dried fruit/nut mixture. Classic ports have extra purple wine traits, albeit candy and fortified. I like these with darkish chocolate or with an enormous wedge of blue cheese, akin to Roquefort.

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Right here’s a phrase of recommendation: Port is scrumptious and as such I’ve discovered one glass is never sufficient. Two looks like a greater concept however two glasses of a 20 per cent alcohol wine can impair one’s judgment, which may result in three, and so forth. The sugar/alcohol mixture is not going to be variety to you the next day, belief me on that one.

I’d prefer to want all of the readers a protected and glad vacation season, I increase my glass to you. Cheers!

Geoff Final is a Calgary wine service provider author, teacher, and broadcaster. He will be heard each Friday on CJSW’s Street Pops program between 4 -6 p.m. Media inquiries will be directed to [email protected]

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