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Relates the history of port, describes the port-making process, offers purchasing and storing advice, and provides information on more than three hundred ports from over fifty houses Are you a wine lover who thinks that LBV is an all-girl pop trio--and that tawny and ruby are its lead vocalists? If so, you might just want to check out The Port Companion by Godfrey Spence, former London wine retailer and current lecturer for the trade's Wine & Spirit Education Trust. In this handsome, full-color guide packed with history, tasting notes, maps, and entries on over 300 venerable port houses (including addresses and phone numbers), Spence just as colorfully shows you a region whose grapes are still crushed by foot, and where the Olde School British shippers still pass the decanter to the left at the weekly Factory House luncheons.
It's subtitled A Connoisseur's Guide, and by the time you've finished, you'll be able to talk porto as if you were to the quinta born. Every pertinent port fact is here: England's 1678 trade embargo against France, sending traders scrambling for a French wine substitute; the fraudulent wine adulteration using elderberry juice--prompting the sanctioned destruction of every elderberry tree in northern Portugal; the "report card" letter grade (A through F) assigned to every vineyard.
You'll learn that port is a classic wine that permits over 48 grape types--both red and white--in its blend, approves of 20, desires 5, yet is tolerant of over 120. And they're all grown in an area where the topsoil is rarely more than four inches thick and dynamite frequently must be used to plant the vines. The Port Companion is a concise reference suitable for both novice and connoisseur. --Tony Mason
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