Finding Delicious Port In A Storm
on 21/11/10 at 11:18 amSpirits
Central heating, the decline of formal dining, insufferably bad hangovers, a market saturated with ripe, jammy, high-alcohol red wines—whatever the reason, we just don’t drink port like we used to.
Figures from the Instituto dos Vinhos do Douro e do Porto show that European sales of port wine have been declining since 2000. I like to apply my own little anecdotal test, which simply asks, “When was the last time, outside of a restaurant, you either served or were offered a glass of port?” Not very often. In all probability, you are more likely to be offered a pinch of snuff than a glass of port, and I’m guessing that even that doesn’t happen very often.
Which is a shame since in cold climates, a glass of tawny port can be a very appealing aperitif. Vintage port is also massively underrated; texturally, it can be lighter than some table wines, and I am always impressed by the layers of flavor. There is also the appealing tradition of only passing the port to one’s left. I remember dining at one rather grand banquet where I accidently passed the decanter of port to my right only to be loudly admonished by the host: “The port’s going round the wrong way!” Never again.