Any Port in a Storm

  Thursday, November 10, 2016 / Stephanie / Exploration  

The world's Port wine is produced from grapes which are grown and hand-harvested in the Douro River Valley, Portugal.  Think of any Port that comes to mind...for me those are Sandeman, Six Grapes and Taylor...all are grown along the Douro River and all are exported from the city of Porto.Port is a blend of Portuguese grapes.  The blends mature either in sealed glass bottles, known as Ruby Port, or in wooden barrels, known as Tawney Port.  Ruby Port is more red, ruby, in color; it has matured with no exposure to oxygen and has fruity, less tannic flavors.  Tawney Port is golden-brown in color, tawney (oddly an English word, but then again, Sandeman was founded by an Englishman), is matured with exposure to oxygen and has nutty, sometimes dry flavors.  That is a quick and dirty education on Port wine - knowledge of Port can be as extensive and an aged bottle can be expensive!  But what is important is that every ship should carry a bottle of Port, as the phrase goes, "...any Port in a storm."  Detour doesn't carry just any port, however, we prefer to sample our chosen bottles first!So we set out into Porto, across the Douro River, onto wine cave boulevard where we received our Port education and a hearty sampling of this rich, sweet wine. Port wine was traditionally transported downstream on the Douro River in flat-bottom boats, barcos rabelos. clever diversion, perhaps creating a pick-pocket opportunity while shore-side onlookers gasp at the boy on the bridge At sunset, we walked back across the river having determined that we aren't huge fans of Port wine although we had selected the best possible bottles according to our tastes to add to Detour's bilge.  The night was young, by Portuguese standards when nights typically end at 04:00, and we were HUNGRY!  Just so lucky, we discovered a tapas restaurant located inside a wine store.  Best meal ever!  Plus, another bottle of wine or two for Detour!