Saturday, June 14, 2008
Pass the Port, Please!
Saturday night was our annual Dinner with the Pastor at the Robertson's house! JL's wife should open a gourmet restaurant with her talents: such a wonderful beef tenderloin, garlic mashed potatoes, and rosemaried green beans! Of course, the evening ended with not one - but two desserts! And I always save room for a small glass of port afterward. Praeger is my winery of preference when it comes to ports for sipping. At $40 -$50 per bottle, you only feel like sipping them. Actually, port wines take their name from the city of Oporto that is situated at the mouth of the River of Gold (Rio Douro) in Portugal. The British were desperate for wine during their 17th century wars with France. By traveling inland along the River of Gold, they found darker and more astringent red wines in contrast to those they had seen near the coast. In order to stabilize them for shipment to England, some say that merchants added "a bucket or two" of brandy to the barrels of wine before sending them off. Another story is told of a wine merchant in Liverpool, who in 1678, sent his sons to Portugal to find a wine source. In the Douro Valley, the sons came upon a monastery in Lamego where the abbot was adding brandy to the wine during, rather than after, fermentation -- thereby producing a port-type wine. In any event, sometime during the end of the 1600's or beginning of the 1700's, port was "invented" with its still sweet, fruity, and strong characteristics. Cheers!