[Starting on page 211, near the end of the chapter on Port, which consisted mostly of history of the winemaking and the technicalities of the winemaking. The following text relates the author's personal notes about port in general and some specific ports
My judgment on Port was destroyed at the outset of my vinous career by the hospitality of my Colonel in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, the late Jim Meldon, the handsomest, most generous and in every way the most typical Irishman I ever knew, God rest him. It was he and the late Ernest Page, K.C. (who might well have stood for England as the Colonel stood for Ireland), who were my sponsors for the Windham Club when I joined it in 1922; and incidentally it was at Ernest Page's hospitable table that I first met Newfoundland Port. But it was Jim Meldon who "dined me into the club". At the time the Cockburn '96 was "on Tap" at 2/- a glass (I mention the price for the sake of comparison of those days with these); and he insisted that we should take double glasses after dinner. I can still see the twinkle in his eye as he set down the empty glass with the remark: "You know, it slithers down!" It certainly did slither down; and never have I tasted a Port so much to my liking, although the Cockburn 1912 has occasionally come near it. But my complaint against my host, if complaint it can be called, is that he did not warn me that I was drinking probably the finest Port I should ever taste. In due course I met others, probably very fine wines also; but they were not Cockburn '96, and therefore to my inexpert palate they appeared unworthy of praise. Alas! to-day the wine has passed its grand climacteric; let nobody who has only met it in the last few years think he has tasted it. Imagine a more robust and yet a more elegant version of the Cockburn '12, and you will get some idea of what it was at the age of twenty-six. We had some Taylor of the same year, and the connoisseurs usually accorded it a higher place. But I never affectioned it in the same way. Both wines now appear at the Bench table of the Inner Temple from time to time, and again those whose opinions I value set the Taylor above the Cockburn; but still I disagree, and Cockburn remains my favourite shipper. Sandeman I find on the sweet side, but for those who do not consider that a fault it is always a safe choice. The Warre 1900 has given me several pleasant moments; and there are more than a couple of shippings of Dow's that I remember with gratitude. Croft has also earned its benediction; I never cared very much for Offley, a shipper that commanded the firm allegiance of that formidable judge of wine and men, the late Marston Buzzard, K.C. At that moment (or at any other moment) I have nothing unfavourable to say about Fonseca, whose 1922 is worthy of repeated and attentive examination. Burmeister I never liked; on the other hand, I have never drunk an inferior Graham.
With the disappearance of our supplied of French wines [note that France was now occupied by Nazi Germany in 1940] I suppose that it will have occurred to many people that there might be unfortified wines from Portugal which might "keep the bed warm" for our Clarets and Burgundies until the day when order is restored in Europe. But it is not as simple as all that. You cannot build up a wine trade in a day. If England wanted Portuguese Clarets, it would be necessary to plant new vineyards, producing ten times what is produced to-day; and these would not attain excellence for several years, nor would they then be giving us a wine as good as the wines of France. And suddenly the French wines would return; and all the Portuguese expenditure of labour and capital would have been wasted. So I do not propose to say anything about such wines, beyond saying that about five years ago I had a few bottles of a sort of Claret from Portugal of the vintage 1906, which made a not undistiguished prelude to a Chateau La Lagune of the same year; and recently I drank at the hospitable table of Messieurs Reis, Pye, and Campbell a white wine, old in bottle but of unknown vintage year, that might have played substitute for a fairly good Chablis. It was very clean and dry, with a good, fruity flavour; and it had a very beautiful colour, not the least of a wine's attractions. So if you have any friends in Portugal --------!