Friday, February 5, 2010

Port Sippin'

Have you ever seen these adorable little things before?

We went to Napa a while back with some friends. And over the two and half days we were there, visited 17 wineries.  Seventeen.   I guess we really wanted to maximize our wine country experience.  You can imagine after visiting 17 wineries in that amount of time that, well, we just had a really great time. 

Here is a picture of Aaron and me at Prager Winery, which specializes in making port wine. This was about the fifth winery we visited on Day One.  I don't actually remember that it was the 5th...I'm just guessing based on the shade of purple on our teeth.  

If you are not familiar with port wine, it is a type of dessert wine that is very sweet, highly concentrated and higher alcohol content than regualr table or dinner wine.   The fact they served a dessert wine in the largest wine glass in all of wine country amused me.  

And just for comparison, Robert Mondavi, served their wine tastings in this size glass (on the left).

Hmmm.....c'mon Robert.  Kind of a wussy glass you've got there.   But, I'll cut Robert some slack, may he rest in peace.  I mean, he was a wine making legend AND born in Minnesota afterall. 

Okay, moving on.  Ruby ports are made of red grapes and have more berry flavors, while tawny ports are just ruby ports that have just been aged for several years in oak barrels giving it a tawny color. I think it tastes more raisin-like too. Maybe that's my mind playing tricks on me because it is really a golden raisin color.

Drinking a dessert wine from a humongous glass seemed odd to me.  I always thought it was a wine to sip.  With chocolates.  Not chug like a beer boot!  So I went on a quest to find a better drinking vessel and miraculously, found out there are little glasses just for this libation.  They are called port sippers.  Aren't they the cutest little things?

These delicate handblown glasses date back to the 17th century.  Being a handheld glass, your hand would warm the wine and enhance the flavors.  Because the straw flows from the bottom and the small opening at the top of the glass, the wine wouldn't oxidize as much.  Clever.  

The reason this is coming up now?  Because I bought these glasses for Aaron for Valentine's Day....a few years ago when we were living the lavish city life, you know, before I started buying him practical gifts like insulation and electrical panels. I bought them online, but I have seen them at World Market too. 

If you are looking for something different to celebrate Valentine's Day with your sweetie, or your friend...or just yourself, how about a bottle of port after dinner with these little port sippers?  

Except I wouldn't recommend splitting, or drinking alone, a 750ml bottle of 19% alcohol content wine. I mean, unless that's the kind of night you are going for, wink, wink. Once again, Prager outdid themselves...huge bottles, huge glasses.  They don't mess around. The good thing is, port does keep longer than regular wine once its opened. 

Maybe you'll want to opt for the smaller bottle of port. 

Like this 375ml one from Andretti Winery in Napa.  Did you know racecar drivers can make wine?  Cute little bottle to go with the cute little port glasses.

And speaking of glasses, we have our own glasses too!  My sister-in-law made them for us.  We are SO official now.  We don't yet have a winery license, but we DO have our own wine glasses.  4 of them in fact.
And one day we'll be able to share our own port wine. A few years ago Aaron made a pretty delicious ruby port from Frontenac grapes. We liked so much we even served it at our wedding with chocolate covered strawberries for dessert.  We got accolades from our guests.  At least those that liked it made a point to tell us they loved it.  One couple said they enjoyed it so much they went around to all the tables and drank the half empty glasses of other guests once they hit the dance floor.  And those that maybe didn't care for it were nice enough not to tell us on our wedding day. We have nice friends like that. 

Until our next port wine making excursion, we're going to tackle this Prager tawny port since we just read the label on the bottle and learned that tawny ports do not get better with age and we probably should have drunk it a while ago.  Oops.