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Edward Peters

Personal Dessert Wines

Port VI: Port Day

            Next year, Port Day—a national holiday I just made up—falls on January 28th, that being the fourth Sunday in January. Back in 1906, on January 29th to be exact, Portugal, enacted national standards for the production of porto do vinho that are still honored, and usually exceeded, to this day.

            In northern climes, of course, winter has reached its dreariest point by late January. The holiday season has left most people worn-out, while in America, those few left standing after New Year’s face a final trampling by our absurd Super Bowl hype. Christian folk, meanwhile, limp toward a Lent which, then at least, seems much more awesome than does the Easter it precedes. Port’s strong body, able to stand by itself without resort to food or smoke (however compatible these might be with it) offers a certain reassurance under cold night skies still ruled by Orion, and it’s warm and fruited sweetness reminds us that spring and summer, and even fall’s harvest, will return one day.

            On this coming Port Day, we will open, if not our best bottle of vintage porto, certainly one for which we have developed an attachment. For the occasion I have set aside some tasting notes gleaned from books or magazines, and a map of the Duoro River region that will identify our vineyards. I tracked down a few stories about the shipping firm that produced our bottle because, as is true of so many things, the more one brings to the experience, the more one takes home from it. Offley’s Boa Vista 1985 is long gone from wine shop shelves, but I found one rummaging around the Internet a couple years ago at $ 44. Our first child, Thomas, was born in 1985. Here’s hoping the wine has progressed as well as he has. +++

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