Up until our recent travels into the heart of port wine country, and despite countless glasses of the stuff under my belt, I was still tempted to consider port as a heavy drink that was quaffed by older British men with a cigar after a pot roast dinner.
Then we traveled deep into the Douro Valley in northern Portugal, the epicenter of port wine. And there, things opened up to me.
At Quinta do Seixo we tasted white, tawny and reserve Sandeman ports. I found nothing syrupy or incongruously sweet. Instead, I found warmth and comfort, complex aromas and flavors that evinced themselves slowly. Stepping back from the haze of fortified wine tasting: maybe all this poetry in a glass was due to our noontime tasting.
With each sip at our tasting table, this was the view, our context. Open the panorama to full screen to see for yourself.
Aside: A week later, I shared a reserve port I bought on this trip with my father in North Carolina. I'm afraid he's now better informed (read: spoiled) about port wine as well.