There is a ton of literature out there talking about how important it is to give time to yourself, to relax and quieten your mind. I have been a long-time subscriber to this wisdom and my wife and I schedule at least one date night per month, and every so often a romantic weekend away just to recharge completely. In between date nights and weekends away there are many many days where day-to-day life gets me too wound up in knots. On those days I insure that before I retire for the evening that I have some me time, where it is all about the moment, the setting and the quiet.
To create this little paradise there are a number of things that I must do. You could almost call it nesting. I first turn off my phone, iPad and any TVs that might be on ensuring that the outside world can’t invade my wee window of space. Secondly, I turn the lights down and put on some soft cello music or cool jazz (call me a dork ’cause I am), finally I pour myself a couple of ounces of Ruby Port (I save the Vintage and Late Bottle Vintage for special occasions). The combination of soft lighting, soft music and the warming, caressing, sultry flavours and character of a fine port do the trick.
I know what you are saying, it’s the port that does it. Not true, it is being in the moment having all my senses slow down that is the trick. I have tried it without the dim lights and/or soft music, but it just doesn’t have the same effect.
For years my go-to was Graham’s 6 Grapes which is more or less the standard. The reserve will run you around $28 and it is pretty decent, but definitely made for the mass market. There are not too many bold strokes or defining elements to grab my attention.
About 4 months ago I was tasting with an importer of European wines and he pulled out a bottle of Reserve Ruby Port from Quinta da Prelada almost as an afterthought. Am I ever glad he pulled that out as it was fantastic? A wonderful representation of Reserve Ruby port but with loads of character and whimsy. The flavours are of dark cherry and black raspberry, even dried cranberry, infused with Christmas baking spices and sweet orange peel. I’m certain that I lost my poker face, as he immediately asked for the order, of which, I was happy to oblige.
The good news is that not only is it a phenomenal Ruby, it is also a couple of bucks cheaper than the Graham’s so I can now say to my wife that I am wise for taking time out, but also thrifty; not often I can claim them both.
Here is a link to Wikipedia’s well-done outline of Port, its history, and how it is classified: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_wine