Sunday, December 28, 2008

Blueberry Port

PL here ...

I first sipped Blueberry Port at a science fiction convention - I-Con, held at SUNY's Stony Brook campus on Long Island, New York - in 2004. Duck Walk Vineyards, a little down the road on Montauk Highway in Southampton, was hosting a tasting, and I knew as soon as I saw that dark blue wine in a glass that I would really like it.

I'm partial to anything blueberry - probably stems from the time my father and I went out picking wild blueberries near our bungalow in Monticello, New York, and we got lost and didn't get back home until well after dark. This was a pretty big deal and worry for my mother in age before cell phones, but the blueberries we ate for lunch and dinner out in the thicket were the best I've ever had. Sweet, and, now I know, teeming with anti-oxidants.

Port, on the other hand, is usually a slowly acquired taste. "Fortified" is the word used to denote its invigoration with brandy - which stops the fermentation, increases the alcohol content, and retains sugar. This kind of wine, which gets its name from the Portuguese city of Porto on the sea, can be a little overpowering when made from grapes. But not when it's made from blueberries.

It's not cheap. Duck Walk charges $12.95 or more for 375ml, half the size of a bottle of wine. But the blueberries are handpicked in the wild in Maine... You can pour the port over ice cream, or just sip it on its own.

And, hey, wouldn't you like to be able to say to someone who comes over your place, next time, "Care for a glass of port?"


SushiNorth said...

Well, it may be fortified, and some may call it "port" but it's certainly not Port, has little to do with Oporto or the book Rich Rare and Red, and I wouldn't recommend offering it under the name Port to anyone who's had the real stuff.

Real Port tends to appeal to anyone who likes sweet, grape-based wines, but it's hard to get a decent bottle for under $15/750ml. At a bare minimum, the house blends (like Warre's Warrior or Fonseca's Bin 27) start around $16, a worthwhile LBV or aged tawny will run you $30, and the Vintage Ports escalate from there.

I apologize that this comes off rather snooty, but its a sore spot for Port fans. However, at the same time I would encourage you to look into some of the fancier ports (perhaps via discussions at, keeping in mind that VP collection is a slippery slope.

Paul Levinson said...

You don't come across as snooty, so there's no need to apologize, but you do come across as a little wrong.

I've (obviously) tasted blueberry port, and red ports as well, and the blueberry certainly tastes like a port - only, better. That's why I made the point about about the difference between port from grapes and from blueberries.

Your point about blueberry port having nothing to do with Oporto is, of course, true, and obvious - as I indicated in my post, this port is made much closer to Port Jefferson.

So, you're a port as well as sushi fan? :) Have you been, yet, to Gray's Papaya?

SushiNorth said...

well of course, but just for the budget dogs :)

Glenn E. said...

Paul, the "sore spot" for Port fans is that the word port is far too often misused. Port comes from a specific demarcated region in Portugal, just like Chamagne and Bordeaux come from specific regions in France, Chianti comes from a specific region in Italy, and Tokaji comes from a specific region in Hungary.

Sadly, many fortified and/or sweet dessert wines still use the word "port" on their labels even though they are not Port. That is slowly changing, though, as the protected name has started to be enforced.

The Port demarcated region in Portugal is (depending on sources) either the oldest or 3rd oldest region in the world. Its history should be protected, as should the name of the wine.

Anonymous said...

Sounds great. Definitely want to give it a try for Thanksgiving (tomorrow, that is!).

Port is a style, like ale or lager among beers. The unhappy people of the world want us to call Blueberry Port "Fortified Blueberry Wine." Gosh, that sounds yummy. Blech.

Perhaps Mr. Sushi would like to ban the use of the word "Sashimi" unless the fish are caught and prepared in Japan. :D

Have a great holiday, everyone!

Paul Levinson said...

Thanks! And a happy Thanksgiving to you!