Hello from Porto

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Altrurian
Cruz Ruby
Posts: 8
Joined: 11:11 Tue 30 Mar 2021
Location: Porto, Portugal

Hello from Porto

Post by Altrurian » 09:29 Thu 08 Apr 2021

Greetings all,

I am a retired academic librarian from the United States who has relocated to Portugal. My wife and I are here on preliminary residency visas, and hope to obtain permission for permanent residency in the coming weeks. I am a rank novice when it comes to port.

In contemplating our move in retirement, we visited Porto in November 2019. The port heritage and industry are, of course, quite prominent here, and I was drawn to learn more about them.

My introduction came as a ticket for a free tasting at the Sta. Eufémia house that was a perquisite for riding the Teleférico de Gaia. That proving most enjoyable, we opted to continue our exploration a night or two later with a tour and tasting session at the Calem lodge, on recommendation from a writer at Jancis Robinson’s website. My course was then set to read and taste more of port throughout the (pandemic-lengthened) process of application for our visas. We finally arrived in Porto a month ago.

Until our landing here, my first-hand experience with port was mostly limited to such modest tawnies and rubies as I could find, and felt I could justifiably afford, in our small city in upstate New York. Each succeeding bottle was delightful, but the high point was a Churchill crusted (I didn’t record the details), which struck me as distinguished, wonderful, and proof of the great variety and reward the vast world of port had to offer. Here in Porto, I am determined to further educate my palate, with an initial aim for vintage ports of humble reputation, and aged but similarly uncelebrated tawnies.

It’s a privilege to be in this charming and beautiful city, for however long a period it turns out to be. At present, I’m particularly intrigued by the bottles of vintage port, from producers whose names are not readily visible on the lodges across the river, that one can find on the shelves of small, neighborhood grocery stores. I hope to be buying and drinking several of them in the coming weeks. I’m really looking forward to enjoying those wines, and augmenting that pleasure with the conviviality and information generously offered by your group.

Regards,
Paul Coleman (aka “Altrurian”)

winesecretary
Warre’s Otima 10 year old Tawny
Posts: 652
Joined: 15:35 Mon 13 May 2019

Re: Hello from Porto

Post by winesecretary » 13:06 Thu 08 Apr 2021

Welcome, Paul! And, how lovely it must be actually to be in Porto now (I note it's 65f there today). We are all jealous...

Altrurian
Cruz Ruby
Posts: 8
Joined: 11:11 Tue 30 Mar 2021
Location: Porto, Portugal

Re: Hello from Porto

Post by Altrurian » 17:09 Thu 08 Apr 2021

Thanks, winesecretary! It is, indeed, a perfect 18°C here in the granite city, with seagulls cavorting on the thermal updrafts. I don’t mean to engender envy, as is often done, whether inadvertently or by design, on social media (among which I suppose a forum such as this might justifiability be categorized), but what can one do? It’s a pleasure to be here and “here,” both literally and virtually!

Glenn E.
Dalva Golden White Colheita 1952
Posts: 3638
Joined: 22:27 Wed 09 Jul 2008
Location: Seattle, WA, USA

Re: Hello from Porto

Post by Glenn E. » 19:02 Thu 08 Apr 2021

Hi Paul, welcome!
Altrurian wrote:
09:29 Thu 08 Apr 2021
I’m particularly intrigued by the bottles of vintage port, from producers whose names are not readily visible on the lodges across the river, that one can find on the shelves of small, neighborhood grocery stores. I hope to be buying and drinking several of them in the coming weeks. I’m really looking forward to enjoying those wines, and augmenting that pleasure with the conviviality and information generously offered by your group.
A word of caution. Many of these small neighborhood grocery stores do not have good storage for their wines. Especially those that display their wares in the front window of the store. This is generally not a problem for small neighborhood grocery store level dry wine that one might buy and consume with dinner that same evening, but over time it can take its toll on bottles of Port.

So buy and enjoy, for Port is a sturdy wine that almost never truly goes bad, but be aware that you may not be getting a representative example of the quality of the Port in question.
Glenn Elliott

Altrurian
Cruz Ruby
Posts: 8
Joined: 11:11 Tue 30 Mar 2021
Location: Porto, Portugal

Re: Hello from Porto

Post by Altrurian » 12:13 Fri 09 Apr 2021

Thanks for that caveat, Glenn. Of the several reasons this quest for mediocrity might be ill-advised, the one you posit is likely the most compelling. In addition to being drawn by the novelty of the corner store offerings, I do view this as a project of eventually working my way up into vintage port of higher and more reliable quality. If things seem disappointing along the way, I’ll keep what you’ve said in mind (and steer toward the shelves inside, even if initially attracted by the window display).

Paul

MigSU
Cockburn’s Special Reserve
Posts: 42
Joined: 13:22 Wed 17 Feb 2021
Location: Douro Valley

Re: Hello from Porto

Post by MigSU » 14:01 Fri 09 Apr 2021

Hi Paul.
Glad that you picked our nice little corner of the world to retire, and gladder that you decided to take the plunge into the world of serious Port appreciation.
I live in the Douro valley but I'm in Porto fairly regularly (although not so much since the pandemic), so if you ever need anything or some advice (even on navigating some bureaucracy or other) give us a shout.

Altrurian
Cruz Ruby
Posts: 8
Joined: 11:11 Tue 30 Mar 2021
Location: Porto, Portugal

Re: Hello from Porto

Post by Altrurian » 19:08 Sat 10 Apr 2021

Very kind of you, MigSU! And yes, you’ve got a felicitous part of the globe here that I feel very lucky to share. As for the forum, the plunge you describe is an apt way of putting it, but welcomes such as yours have me inclined to say “come on in, the water’s fine!” Many thanks.

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Alex Bridgeman
Fonseca 1963
Posts: 12914
Joined: 13:41 Mon 25 Jun 2007
Location: Berkshire, UK

Re: Hello from Porto

Post by Alex Bridgeman » 19:47 Tue 13 Apr 2021

Hi Paul,

Can I offer a recommendation for your continuing Port education? LaDo wines is a small wine shop / wine bar set up by a group of 5 or 6 smaller producers. Most of their wines are available at the shop by the glass or bottle. If you go there on a day when Maria is looking after the shop, she is a font of Port knowledge (in a variety of languages).

You can find them at R. da Fonte Taurina 89, 4050-270 Porto, Tel +351 962 381 939 and do research prior to your visit via https://en.ladowines.pt/.

And please do continue to post here regularly as you get immersed in the Port culture - which will result in envy from many of us despite your best efforts to the contrary!
Top Ports in 2019: Niepoort VV (1960s bottling) and Quinta do Noval Nacional 2017
Top Ports in 2020 (so far): Croft 1945 and Niepoort VV (1960s bottling)

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