Editor’s Note: This sponsored column is written by Doug Rosen, owner of long-time Arlington wine store Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway).
When searching for the perfect gift for the wine lover, we should really start at the most obvious: a truly special bottle of wine. If your recipient likes wines of a particular variety, like California cabernet, you might look for a special bottle from a hard-to-find producer. Or ask your wine merchant to help you select a wine from a different place or made from a different grape that has a similar flavor profile to your recipient’s favorite.
Perhaps you can find an older bottle that has been properly cared for and squirreled away. Fine wine merchants often hold some stocks of highly rated selections and offer them for sale at the peak of drinkability, giving a client an opportunity to experience what a well-aged, well cared for wine tastes like. The bottles’ bouquet, palate feel and complexity can only develop over time and no amount of decanting can yield the same results.
Port makes a great gift as there are so many delicious options and in most cases, the consumer can enjoy a well-aged wine immediately.
You can’t go wrong with an aged Tawny Port. It’s hard to beat a glass of Port on a cold evening in front of a fire. The most popular Tawny Ports are 10-year-old and 20-year-old, but you can also find 30 and 40-year-old examples. The number of years designated on the bottle represents the average age of the blend from several vats of various years. Tawny Ports are aged in large wood vats and as they age they slowly oxidize and mellow, losing color and sweetness while gaining nuttiness. Since they are aged in wood for extended periods of time, they don’t need decanting and can be enjoyed to the last drop. Another beauty of Tawny Port is once open they can be enjoyed for months — just keep them in the refrigerator.
Ports represent great value, given that the grower has held the wine in his cellar and aged it for you. Tawny’s are best served cool, which helps moderate the higher alcohol level. They are a gift that keeps on giving.
Vintage Ports are the King of Port Wines. They represent the best wines that a producer can make, encompassing only about two percent of the producer’s total production. They are produced on average only three times in a decade. Vintage Ports are made from the grapes of the finest parcels of land, from usually the oldest vines, the finest farms, and from a single harvest. To this day many houses still tread the grapes under foot in shallow concrete vats. Law dictates they must be bottled unfiltered after only two years in barrel. They are then offered for sale, letting the consumer age them in his cellar. They often need 30 to 40 years to reach their full potential. A good fine wine shop will stock Vintage Ports dating back to the seventies and offer mature wines for sale.
Vintage Ports are truly a grand experience, requiring some forethought as the bottle must stand upright for several days to let the sediment slowly drift to the bottom. Even with three days in an upright position, you will want to decant the wine using a funnel and screen (widely available), rinse out the original bottle to remove the remaining sediment, and then return the decanted wine to the original bottle. After that, you are ready to serve it. Unlike Tawny Ports, Vintage Ports are best consumed within a day or so after opening.
Enjoying vintage port may seem like a lot of work, but I promise you it’s well worth it. Match this grandest of wines with Colston Bassett Stilton, slices of pear, and nuts and you are in for one of the most revered wine and food pairings in the world.
Try it you’ll love it!
Email any comments or questions to [email protected]. Follow Doug on Twitter (@ArrowineInc) or like the store on Facebook. Sign up for Arrowine’s money saving email offers and free wine and beer tastings at www.arrowine.com/mailing-list-signup.aspx.
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The Arlington-Aachen High School exchange is returning this summer and currently accepting applicants.
The sister-city partnership started in 1993 by the Arlington Sister Cities Association, which seeks to promote Arlington’s international profile through a variety of exchanges in education, commerce, culture and the arts. The exchange, scheduled June 17th to July 4th, includes a two-week homestay in Aachen plus three days in Berlin. Knowledge of the German language is not required for the trip.
Former participants have this to say:
_”The Aachen exchange was an eye-opening experience where I was fully immersed in the life of a German student. I loved biking through the countryside to Belgium, having gelato and picnics in the town square, and hanging out with my German host student’s friends. My first time out of the country, the Aachen exchange taught me to keep an open mind, because you never know what could be a life changing experience.” – Kelly M._
Learn about the new assessment of Arlington’s urban tree canopy and the many ecological and social benefits trees provide. Staff from the Green Infrastructure Center (GIC) will share study results and compare canopy cover for different areas of Arlington.The webinar will include assessments of ecosystem services such as stormwater mitigation, air quality, carbon uptake, and urban heat islands. For background on Arlington trees see the “Tree Benefits: Growing Arlington’s Urban Forest” presentation at http://www.gicinc.org/PDFs/Presentation_TreeBenefits_Arlington.pdf.
Please register in advance to assure your place at the webinar, https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/29543206508863839.
About the Arlington County Civic Federation: The Arlington County Civic Federation (“ACCF”) is a not-for-profit corporation which provides a forum for civic groups to discuss, debate, inform, advocate and provide oversight on important community issues, on a non-partisan basis. Its members include over ninety civic groups representing a broad cross-section of the community. Communications, resolutions and feedback are regularly provided to the Arlington County Government.
The next meeting is on Tuesday, February 21,2023 at 7 pm. This meeting is open to the public and will be hybrid, in-person and virtually through Zoom. Part of the agenda will be a discussion and vote on a resolution “To Restore Public Confidence in Arlington County’s Governance”. For more information on ACCF and this meeting, go to https://www.civfed.org/.
Valentine gifts for someone special or for yourself are here at George Mason University from noon -4pm on February 14, 2023. Satisfy your sweet tooth with Kingsbury Chocolates, find a handmade bag from Karina Gaull, pick up treats from Village