Thursday, December 16, 2010

Monday, December 27: Pants Down Potluck Port Drinkers Circle - this year with guided tasting!

It's that time again, Portheads.

Monday, December 27, is the 2010 gathering date for the annual Pants Down Potluck Port Drinkers Circle of New Albany, Southern Indiana, Oz and points afar.

This year, there’s a twist, although as before, the port tasters will be imbibing in the Prost banquet and special events wing at the NABC Pizzeria & Public House.

In 2010, the Circle’s tasting will unfold in two acts.

Thanks to the timely intervention of Kevin Lowber, who moonlights as evening Public House server nonpareil after spending his days selling wine for Vintner Select, there will be an official program of Port education this year, featuring the emceeing/interpretive services of the estimable David DuBou of Vintner Select.

This session begins at 6:30 p.m. and will be guided by David; 2-oz samples of the six Ports listed below will be served, with commentary. The price for this sampling is $20 per person; the Ports also will be available for carry-out purchase afterward.

Kopke White Oporto
Kopke 10-Year Oporto
Kopke Coleita Oporto
Old Shandon Port Works Syrah Port, Paso Robles
Kopke Vintage Oporto
Kopke Late Bottled Vintage Oporto

This educational tasting session is open to all comers, although I’m asking that you reserve space in advance by e-mailing me:

Act Two begins when the educational sampling concludes, around 8:30 p.m., when a coalition of the willing reprises our time-honored “pot luck” tasting format.

Just bring a bottle of Port and a snack (cheese, salami, olives or other munchables) for post-class sampling.

Recall also that Prost is smoke-free, and you'll be forced to retreat to the bar for the consolations of tobacco … but remember that this is the final year for such pleasures; we go tobacco-free on January 3, 2011.

As in the past, I'm recommending a book for those interested in Port. Prior to my only visit to Portugal in 2000, the Danish gonzo journalist Kim Wiesener, a longtime friend, recommended Richard Mayson's "Port and the Douro" as the finest overview of all things Port.

Indeed, it is excellent, and if you're interested in Port, it's a must-have. There's a newer edition available, and I've spotted it recently at Destinations Booksellers in New Albany.

Here's a capsule description:

Mayson recounts the history of this great fortified wine up to the present day, including an assessment of major vintages back to 1896. He examines the physical condition of the region, grape varieties and vineyards with an appraisal of each of the main quintas, providing a directory of individual producers and shippers.

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