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A River of Wine

Cruising The Douro

sunny 23 °C

Port may put on a suave, sophisticated face, but it engenders frivolity in both young and old because of its sweetness and hidden strength. Stereotypically, port is imbibed by elderly aunts and aging grannies (purely for medicinal purposes) or given to impressionable young women by amorous young studs for purposes completely unrelated to their health. But, while some wine aficionados might dismiss port in the way a connoisseur of classical music may be disdainful of a Strauss waltz for being too sickly or easy on the palate, you can be sure that when the ladies have retired from the dinner table; the bow ties have been loosened; the Cohibas lit; there are few who will pass the decanter of port without taking a fill.
In Portugal a very good bottle of tawny port can be bought for about eight dollars, which may explain why this particular blog entry is becoming increasingly verbose as the evening wears on.
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It is mid-October in the Douro Valley, the grapes have been harvested and now the vines are in mourning for their lost offspring. The autumn leaves of burgundy and gold are beginning to fall, and soon the naked vines will be buffeted by rude Atlantic winds and chilled by winter’s hoary hand. But the fruit of their slender limbs will be lovingly crushed, often by human feet, until the lifeblood flows and begins its metamorphosis into wine. O.K. Definitely too much port now, but it is difficult not to write romantically about such a beautiful place…
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But photos cannot do justice to the sheer vastness and beauty of the landscape. Vineyards pattern the hillsides into a verdant quilt in every direction…
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While incredibly narrow cobblestoned roads snake through the terraced vineyards and historic villages on either side of the valley...
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But the best way to experience the ever changing scenery is from the deck of a river cruiser …
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Luxuriously appointed vessels like the Ama Vida cruise sedately up and down the Douro and pamper passengers with five star dinners and wines at five star prices, but we chose a simpler trip aboard a traditional barco – a small wooden boat once used to carry the casks of new wine to the vintners in Porto – and we were rewarded with a glass of the good stuff …
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We’ve just heard that Canada now has free trade deal with the European Union. We can only pray that this will lead to port at eight dollars a bottle - Saude!

Posted by Hawkson 11:36 Archived in Portugal

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Comments

what beautiful landscapes - oh and the wine tastes wonderful - almost, if I use my imagination.

by Janet

All that and perfect weather to boot. Heaven. Sure beats the fog that hangs over Gabriola right now (flights all cancelled to Victoria, Comox, Nanaimo) and the chill that seeps through to the bone. A glass of your tawny port would fit in well here, too (at more than twice that price even for the least expensive).

by R and B

So beautiful, wish we were all there with our glasses of port toasting your journey. I feel inspired and port is on the menu tonight. I have the cheaper port. I will pretend it is your tawny port.

by Sue Fitzwilson

Magnificent photos and you two only improve with each passing year. What a fantastic photo of you both. Maybe it has something to do with the port. If so I had best make haste for the nearest seller of port myself. Lots of love.

by Trudy

I can enjoy a glass of good port especially after a good meal. Maybe I am hoping to impress some aging Grannies. The vineyard scenes look to me like the piccies you took whilst in the Okanagan.
In the meantime I will take my tongue out of my check and say your photos are great and keep the blog going,
Cheers
Tony V.

by Tony V,

James, I know you are a romantic at heart, even without that extra glass of port; although looking at your poetic vain flowing I'd say, keep on sipping... wonderful words strung together.
Wish I was there..
G

by gottfried

I hear that port is a great preservative. Keep on preserving I say!
Jenna

by Jenna

Your blog beautifully captures the moment of bliss on your travels

by david

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