Apparently, you can’t call it Port wine if it doesn’t come from Porto. Just like you can’t call it Champagne if it doesn’t come from Champagne. Pardon my ignorance, but I didn’t know this until I visited Porto this month. You see, we make port wine in Goa, and have absolutely no qualms what so ever about calling it just that. But then again, about 80% of the Goan population never mentally or emotionally left Portugal so I’m sure the kind Portuguese don’t mind.
Seeing as I was in the birthplace of port, I indulged in a little educative excursion to Graham’s wine cellar – one of the oldest and most popular manufacturer’s of port wine. Like most it’s competitors, this one has always been run by a British – who can be credited for the mass production and world-wide distribution of Port wine. The wine trade is a thing of pride, and is treated such by all those involved, as is apparent the minute you step into Graham’s museum-esque lodge, which is perched on the slopes of Gaia and overlooks the Duoro. A very humble sum of €8 will get you a pleasant hour-something long experience – which begins with an introductory film about the history of the trade and the owners of Graham’s, which is followed by an explanation of how port is made, a walk through the underground cellar and a tasting of three different port wines.
The tour was just informative enough for me to feel like I learnt a thing or two – I can now tell a vintage from a tawny. Just when I started to lose interest, three generously filled glasses of port were presented to me, allowing me to fully apply the theory I had learnt – the downing of every last drop and the slight slurring that followed was really just educative.