Winesday with R & R: Oct. 12, 2016
With A White Blanket Comes Warm Hearty Sips
Well, that was a bit of a surprise last week! (We are not talking about the U.S. Presidential debate.) Snow… a white Thanksgiving… where did our Fall go??!!
So to go with the theme of the unexpected weather, we decided to switch things up a bit for Winesday this week. We are pulling this one from days gone by.
Port. Quite simply, it is a fortified wine from the Douro Valley in Portugal. (The Douro Valley is located in the northern part of Portugal.) The climate tends to be fairly dry and can be quite hot during the growing season. There are about 30 grape varieties that are allowed to be used in Port. The best known of these are: Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesa, Tinta Roriz (also known in Spain as Tempranillo), Tinta Barroca, Tinta Amarela and Tinto Câo.
How Port is made is the same as other wine only up until a certain point. The grapes are picked (usually around mid September) and brought to the winery, where they are sorted and de-stemmed. Many years ago the grapes were foot-trodden in granite tanks (called lagares). People would stand shoulder to shoulder and the gentle motion of their feet stomping the grapes would bring out the wonderful colour and flavour of the grapes. There is also a wooden plunger, called a macacos, that helps to punch the skins down through the juice. (Although today this process still happens, some mechanization has taken place in the wineries throughout the valley. Mechanized feet, if you will.)
After a number of hours the fermentation starts and the colour, aromas and tannins from the skins are abound. The yeast is doing its job in starting to turn the sugar from the fruit into alcohol. When about half of the fruit sugar has turned into alcohol (at which point the treading/stomping has now stopped), a young neutral wine brandy is added (this is the fortifying part). The yeast has done its job and goes on strike once the alcohol is added. The wine is now higher in alcohol, but it retains some of the delightful sweetness of the grape itself.
Fast forward to the following spring. The winery decides which wines will be made into which type of port. The wine is then placed in barrels. Many moons ago they would take the barrels from the winery and put them on smaller boats called barcos rabelos and they would travel down the Douro River to the town of Vila Nova de Gaia, which is located very close to the Alantic Ocean. Here the wine would stay to mature. In the modern era, the wines travel by road to reach their destination. It isn’t as romantic sounding, but it gets the wine where it is supposed to be. The barcos rabelos can still be seen on the river, but these days they are used for tourists to take river trips and once a year on June 24th there is a barcos rabelos regatta.
Okay so that is enough geeking out for the moment. We’ll talk about different types of Port in the future. This week we are concerned with just one type, which will viagra sans ordonnance be used to make our fabulous sipper.
- Ruby Port
It is called this because of its beautiful jewel tone ruby colour. It is young and fruity and sweet with lovely rich tones all wrapped up in the full body. As it is a fortified wine, the alcohol will run about 19%-20%.
This does see some ageing in wood, but just a short period of three years. It is meant to be enjoyed at a young age. Once they are open, they should be good for about 3 – 4 weeks.
So now we get to talk about this cool bevie… well, warm bevie really.
The Smoking Bishop (The Short Version)
If you’ve ever read Charles Dickens “The Christmas Carol” you will probably remember this excerpt toward the end of the story.
“A Merry Christmas, Bob!” said Scrooge with an earnestness that could not be mistaken, as he clapped him on the back. “A merrier Christmas, Bob, my good fellow, than I have given you for many a year! I’ll raise your salary, and endeavour to assist your struggling family, and we will discuss your affairs this very afternoon over a bowl of smoking bishop, Bob!”
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to rush into Christmas, but with the cool weather that we have been having and this white blanket that we see on the ground, we thought that it was high time for a warm brew. Now this particular recipe is taken from www.epicurious.com. This is what I call the Reader’s Digest version of the Smoking Bishop. It is fairly quick and pretty darn easy and did I say yummy? It is yummy.
Yield: Makes 4 drinks
- 1 navel orange
- 8 whole cloves
- 1 (750-ml) bottle Ruby Port
Put the oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F.
Stud the orange with cloves and roast in a small shallow ceramic or glass baking dish until browned and soft, about 1 1/2 hours.
Carefully quarter orange, then bring orange quarters and Port just to a simmer in a 2- to 2 1/2-quart saucepan. Remove from heat and serve warm.
Pretty easy, heh! Come by and have a wee try October 12th from 4:00 – 7:00. We’ll be on the barrel, as Mark says.