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by Fred McMillin
Winery of the Week
Trick and Treat
Since Halloween is next Sunday, here's our Trick and Treat for the weekend.
Things were not going well for the two sons of a Liverpool wine merchant. Dad had sent them to Portugal in 1678 to buy inexpensive wine and ship it back to England. But the wine was not good, so they took a few days off and trecked to the breathtaking valley of the Upper Douro River. Visiting a monestary, they were astonished to taste a wine far superior to anything they had been sending to Liverpool. So, they immediately bought all that was available. But how to get it to their father in good shape? THE TRICK--They added a modest amount of brandy.
The two young men unwittingly had created Port, which would become arguably the best wine of the 18th century. The pioneering cargo was the equivalent of 20,000 cases! While it would take time to develop the best Port, it didn't take time for the English to realize they had a fine new TREAT. Just 15 years later the equivalent of 650,000 cases left Oporto for England.
So our Winery of the Week must make Port. That rules out most California wineries...but wait! Here's one with Portuguese ancestors (the Cotta family), wood from Portugal for aging, five Portuguese grape varieties grown in a region with Duoro similarities...about the same latitude and temperature profile (as Lodi)...both about 80 miles from an ocean coast. My panel gave it a strong RECOMMENDED. It's garnered a BEST OF CLASS, a Gold, and four Silvers so far. Not bad for $18...BAYWOOD CELLARS' PRIVATE RESERVE 1996 Vintage Port. They make nine other wines, too.
Our Winery of the Week
The British not only created Port, but also Halloween. Before the Romans reached Britian, the Druids had a fall holiday in which they gathered around large bonfires at night and told of their scary encounters with ghosts and witches.
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Welcome to WineDay, the electronic Gourmet Guide's daily update. Monday through Thursday, WineDay presents a wine profile. Then on Fridays we present the Winery of the Week to take you through the weekend.
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