Yesterday, Ryan and I took a leisurely walk through our little town of Terrassa. As the light casted a golden tone across the plaza, children rambunctiously played while donned in bulky sweaters to keep the chill far from their little bodies. Billowy steam wafted from hot coffees and teas scattered among the patio tables with bare hands gripping their cups for warmth. It was a stunning fall day, only made more magical by the smell of chestnuts and yams being roasted over big pits of coals. But yesterday also announced a changing of the guard in my wine selection. No longer can I reach for crisp and refreshing Vinho Verde or a Vermouth on ice. Now is the season for Port wine!
Port wine is a Portuguese fortified wine produced in the Demarcated region of the Douro. Employing traditional winemaking techniques, Port wine has been considered for decades the emblematic wine of Portugal.
Did you know that Port wine can also be dry? Have you ever seen a white port? Did you know that Port can range in in sweetness, color, level of alcohol and flavor?
What makes Port so incredible is its sheer diversity. Port can vary in color from a deep inky purple to a light brilliant gold, including an array of intermediary hues such as tawny, golden tawny, golden and light gold. White Port, on the other hand, can be pale yellow, straw and white gold. What changes the color, the depth of hue, is based solely on the winemaking technique employed. Through oxidation, a white wine can acquire a a rich golden hue when aged in cask over many years. Port can also dramatically range in its level of sweetness. It can be unctuously sweet, sweet, semi-dry or extra dry.
Throughout the month of November, we will be diving into the world of Port wine, breaking apart some of preconceived ideas as to what it actually is, how it is intriguingly interwoven into Portuguese history and culture, and what makes Port wine a fantastic pairing with fall/winter foods. Additionally, we’ve had several Port houses offer their wines to taste throughout this month, which we will happily do so, reporting our findings back to you.
However, in the honor of tradition here at Catavino, before we start any theme, we want to here from you! What Ports have you tried in the past? Are there styles of Port wines you’ve had an affinity for more than others? What questions do you want us to answer about Port wine? Obviously, we will happily answer and an all questions you may have, but we ask that you also take a moment to look at For The Love of Port (FLOP). Roy Hersh is without a doubt, considered one of the leading Port wine experts in the US. His knowledge has been so well regarded on topic that in 2003, the Port and Douro Wine Institute (IVDP) awarded him into their “Confraria” (Port Wine Brotherhood), instigating his creation of FLOP in 2004. We’ve had the chance to interview Roy, and have both felt that he is not only one of the most passionate port enthusiasts you’ll come across, but also one of the nicest. Hence, if you’re looking for something beyond a beginner’s guide to Port wine, we suggest you head over to his site for a more profound conversation.
As a side note, we don’t want to lead you astray to think that we will only be talking about Port his week. As much as November is dedicated to Port, we will also be chatting about Madrid’s major wine fair, Iberwine, as well as one of the most prestigious wine tasting being hosted next Monday by Todovino, called Las Lacres. We will also be sprinkling some extra Iberian news here and there to keep you updated on the latest happenings.
If you have any themes you would like us to tackle in the future, as always, we are all ears!