Text João Pedro de Carvalho | Translation Bruno Ferreira
The Five O’clock Port is a movement created by Real Companhia Velha that intends to promote the consumption of port wine by the consumer, and this year it celebrates 260 years of its foundation. The name invokes the so famous “Five O’clock Tea” brought to England by Catarina of Bragança, daughter of Dom João IV and married to Charles II of England. The dowry of her marriage included a box of tea, the same tea that Catarina of Bragança used to drink in Vila Viçosa, her place of birth. This would become the most British habit of all, the famous 5 o’clock tea. The explanation of this will came from Pedro Silva Reis, son of the current president of Real Companhia Velha and responsible for the company’s marketing. He stated that “The Portuguese are increasingly waking up to habits already well established in other countries like gathering up after work in bars, wine bars, kiosks and esplanades, to have a glass of wine, whether it be just the glass of wine or while harmonizing it with snacks or finger foods.”
The aim of this initiative is for the Port Wine consumption to become a habit at mealtimes or even outside it. The implementation of this “movement” involves the creation of Port wine lists with their matching suggestions, which can be wine pairings of Port wine with cheeses and chocolates, and on a non-gastronomic side, with cigars, among others. The offer will be adapted to the places of where it will be available, and the range of Port wines with the Real Companhia Velha’s signature is broad. For this demonstration they were presented in a very interesting harmonization of several Port Wine styles with varied combinations and moments.
The first two wines to be suggested show all their versatility and are an excellent door to the fantastic world of Port wine, with more affordable prices for the consumer who in this way is able to access and enjoy them at home without making big investment. In this mano a mano, the Royal Oporto Tawny 10 Years showed up fresh with a balanced and sweet profile, with no great exaltations and a strong raisins aroma, resulted fully with the proposal. The Royal Oporto L.B.V. 2011 shows the vigor and energy of the Ruby style, full and opulent, fully coats the palate with wild fruit flavors, plenty of strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, in a fresh and spicy background. A more versatile wine showing enough energy to be paired with a good cut of beef just off the grill.
The last wines to enter the scene were three Vintages in adulthood, breathtaking and memorable. From the proposals that were put on the table I discarded the one that referred to the cigars. All the wines that I speak of here were harmonized with cheese, either with Queijo da Serra da Estrela or with Stilton. The first one was the Real Companhia Velha Vintage 1970 with stuffed pear-rock and Queijo da Serra, a very engaging Vintage that got to me immediately with notes of caramel, fresh fruit mixed with dried fruit, flowers and a slight of balsamic. Beautiful presence in mouth, very good freshness with presence coating the palate, full of flavor and very good persistence, with enough energy for the clash with the Queijo da Serra where the acidity cuts the fattest part of the cheese while the greasiness feeling combines beautifully with the fattest tone left. For the second moment, with Stilton cheese, crackers of spices and dehydrated Granny Smith, it was served the Real Companhia Velha Vintage 1967. If the previous Vintage had already got me with its charms, what to say about this one that to me shows up even better, a treat for the senses. Huge elegance and freshness, milk caramel, unctuous, conquering immediately. Rich complexity, all very nice and neat, serious, broad and persistent on the palate, very tasty with great persistence. Even with the Stilton’s power the Vintage 1967 proved to be a true colossus, shouldering side by side in a classic combination and again showing the will that these wines have to be at consumers’ table. I end with a wine that was intended for smokers, I chose to pick up the Real Companhia Velha Vintage 1957 and try to make a harmonization with the two proposals that had already been made. It showed up incisive and razor-sharp, much more fresh and less grease than the previous, which two make it a wine suitable for cigars. However, it was with the Silton that I liked it the most, and that demonstrates the versatility of Port wine in its most distinct styles and the ability to be matched with meals as well as to more festive moments and moments of pure relaxation. Shall we meet at 5:00 for a glass of Port wine?
Real Companhia Velha
Rua Azevedo Magalhães 314
4430-022 Vila Nova de Gaia
Tel: (+351) 223 775 100
Fax: (+351) 223 775 190