Showing posts from November, 2018

Please pass the Port

Anyone who has attended a City of London civic or Livery Company banquet will be familiar with the numerous toasts that follow after the meal and before the speeches. These toasts are usually taken with Port wine, or occasionally Madeira. Quite when port became the wine of choice for toasts is unclear, but the custom is as well entrenched in the City as it is in the ward rooms and messes of HM Armed Forces, at Oxbridge Colleges, Masonic dinners and elsewhere. Port wine was originally, and very specifically, developed for the English palette and nowhere is it more popular than in Britain. First a little history The history of Port wine is inextricably linked with Britain's connection to Portugal and the numerous British families who developed the Douro wine region inland from Porto. The first British wine merchant to import Port was Job Bearsley in 1692. He was the owner of the Ram Tavern in Smithfield. His son Peter was the first to actually visit Porto, and in 1744 his gran