I would love to tell my readers that I am an expert on that full and iconic beverage but until recently Port was that festive tipple that mostly stayed in the sideboard unless Uncle Charles was over. I, along with most others, considered it a drink for ‘older’ folks, although as I am nearly 60 that pool of ‘older’ folks is shrinking by the year. However, the hitherto dusty baton of Port appreciation has been taken up and polished by a discerning ‘next’ generation who know a good thing when they taste it.
I did say ‘until recently’, as just last year I was re-introduced to Port by Natasha and Adrian Bridge. You might not recognise their names but they are considered by many to be ‘the first couple of Port’. They oversee Taylor’s Port and their vintages are far from sideboard fodder. This book Port and the Douro showcases Taylor’s along with every other notable producer and exporter. It’s a veritable ‘Who’s Who’ of Port past and present. It’s a story of people and produce.
The industry pivots around Porto (Oporto) on the Douro River in Portugal and that is the focus of this outstanding book by Richard Mayson. It’s a volume that will appeal to food and drink lovers, travellers as well as wine professionals. Richard has not only passion for his subject but a talent for weaving a fascinating tale of characters who have peppered the history of this fascinating region.
Port and the Douro covers every aspect of the world of Port, from growing vines to shipping wines. It’s an essential companion for anyone visiting this marvellously unspoilt area if they have even the slightest interest in Port. And if one doesn’t at the start of the tour it’s likely one will by the end, and even more probable that one’s return journey will be slowed by the weight of a car-boot filled with bottles of Port that will illustrate in delicious fashion the variety, complexity and depth of this unique beverage.
Port and the Douro
Author: Richard Mayson
Published by: Infinite Ideas
Travel review by Chrissie Walker © 2018