Port Wine, How, What and Why?

Discussion in 'Cookery' started by Kaye, Dec 6, 2009.

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  1. As an a-cultural Johnny Foreigner from the continent, I am -off course- unaware of the proper care and handling of a bottle of Port wine.

    I understand there is some tradition and procedure involved, other than emptying it (and then some) and ending up swamping the sofa.

    Could you please enlighten me? I need to stock up on the stuff and the know-how before the holiday season! There's relatives coming over from Blighty.


  2. If it's outside a mess do, you can drink it how and when you like, straight out of the bottle, from a tin mug, or a nice little port glass. You can sip it or slug it. Seing as you'll be serving it (I assume) in your own gaff, and want to remain polite to the relatives, you just open the bottle, pour it into nice little glasses for everybody, and hand them out, usually after dinner. Relax and enjoy it, and forget the proper etiquette. Proper dinner etiquette is different of course, but you won't have to follow that load of old guff... it's your house, your rules.

    Just for interests sake: Basically the decanter is placed in front of the guest of honour, or sometimes the host if it's a civvy do... they fill the glass of the person on their right, then pass around the table to the left. Ladies should not pour, but should pass it to the next gentleman who will pour for her, before filling his own glass. As it goes around the table, it shouldn't touch the table surface... that one's more of a military thing at mess do's. At some messes they say the decanter should not actually leave the table.. i.e. you just tilt it to pour. It should end up back at the original person, who finally serves himself. It does differ a bit depending on where you are, and as I say you shouldn't be too worried by any of this for relatives... just pour it and enjoy it.

    PS: Just found this link... it's an older one, but just goes to show how much variation there is in the traditions, there are few hard and fast rules, which is why you should pay them scant attention unless you are in the mess... especially someone else's mess.
  3. The_Duke

    The_Duke LE Moderator

    Don't be misled by the thimble sized port glasses you see at functions. A proper port glass is much larger to give room for the wine to release the aromas in full. Try a decent port in a larger glass compared to a small thimble and you will see the difference.
  4. And at risk of being lynched by a howling purist mob, Port is quite good chilled too.

    Have port with some tasty cheese after dinner and dont forget the pickled walnuts to go with the cheese.

  5. the coal hole on the embankment serves port correctly, in dirty big tumblers of increasing size (I vaguely remember)
  6. msr

    msr LE

    Or prevent an outbreak of rampant poovery in your house and just drink the stuff :)

  7. Ravers

    Ravers LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

  8. The_Duke

    The_Duke LE Moderator

    If you just want to get malleted, go and buy some Buckie and meet up with Auld-Yin for a social. :D

    If you are going to spend a reasonable amount on a decent bottle of port, why not decant it and serve it properly to get the most out of it? I appreciate that this might be a bit difficult for Northern mature students to grasp, but there is nothing wrong with putting a bit of effort into enjoying the finer things in life (beans on toast and pot noodles do not count as finer things, by the way).
  9. The_Duke

    The_Duke LE Moderator

    They saw you coming didn't they. Do you allow red wine to "breathe" but insist that port is "unoxidised" :roll:
  10. msr

    msr LE

    I am advocating getting on with enjoying it, not fannying around with all the other nonsense.

  11. The_Duke

    The_Duke LE Moderator

    Hmm, decant to remove sediment the pour into suitably large glasses. Nope, fail to see any fannying around there.
  12. You can get Port sipper glasses that have a hollow handle with a hole at the end (basically like having a straw built in to the glass) so that less of the holy drink comes into contact with the air recucing oxidization. At least thats what it says on the side of my decanter box. Have a look on http://www.lakeland.co.uk/porto-decanter-set/F/keyword/Port+decanter/product/41787

    Go for the oldest port you can get/afford, this will be more expensive but as with most things you get what you pay for. Taylors 2003 late bottled is our mess port and it's pretty good.

    Whatever you go for and however you serve it whether its with a cheeseboard or a fat ceegar just enjoy it. And then prepare for the headache thats sure to follow the next morning
  13. Well, last night I drank it from a brandy glass - which probably explains why I feel like shite today! If its a civvy bash then just decant and enjoy it.
  14. A Brandy glass? Good God!