I was reading the last bits of the Highland Park News (Pioneer Press) before recycling it. I double checked the obituaries to see if there was anybody I knew ... a lifelong habit which began around 10.
I then flipped over to the food section and recognized somebody I knew: 'Al' a.k.a. Al Ehrhardt of www.vinrougeinc.com. Since last Summer, he has penned a monthly column titled 'Your Wine Concierge' in the 48 Pioneer Press papers in the Chicago area.
The January article was on 'Fireplaces and Port.' The article broached on the origins of Port which is of special interest to Vital Information, Leek and David:
"True port comes only from the Douro region of Portugal, as true Champagne is only produced in the Champagne region of France. The name port comes fro the city of Oporto, which is at the mouth of the Douro River...
"The origins of port date back to the late 17th century, when England and France were at war. England could no longer purchase wine from France, so they turned to Portugal, a long time ally. Someone added some brandy to the casks of red wine, in order to stabilize it, for the long voyage to England.
Some variations on this process evolved into adding the grape brandy to the wine during the fermentation process. This stopped the fermentation while it was still sweet and fruity, and beefed up the alcohol content (19 to 22 percent). Adding brandy to the wine makes it a fortified wine."
Before writing this up, I double-checked with Al if I could alert people to this career aspect. He agreed and advised if people don't get the Pioneer Press paper to e-mail him. He will include you on his e-mail newsletter list so you can read it anyway. Direct your e-mails to Al at firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm glad on this occasion to find somebody I know in the local paper who isn't pushing up daisies!