Thanks for your invite. Visited Portugal for the European cup - lovely country and very friendly people in the villages and towns/cities. Only wish I could speak more than a smattering of the language. I had to make do with French or sign language.
Can you recommend any good Portuguese crime writers who may have been translated into English? I am researching the area and trying to read as widely as possible. thanks
It will, if you copy/paste it to your address bar. here it goes: http://spacedognet.ning.com
1) Let's start at the beginning: 48 grape varieties can be used in producing Port wine. White ports blend white grapes (usually sweet); Ruby ports blend red grapes (always sweet); Tawny ports are aged in wood barrels and may be blended or unblended; and then you have the Harvest ports, created from a single harvest and aged at least 7 years. This is the case with the so called Vintage ports. That's really what you should be looking for, if you want quality. Vintage is made up of a single harvest, declared by a producer as the finest (according to the standards as set by the Portuguese Port Wine Institute). A Vintage is mostly aged in the bottle (2,5 years in barrels at most), usually for 10 to 20 years. It becomes better with age (actually, we use that expression to praise someone "He's like Port wine, he gets better with age).
Check this Port Vintage Chart for the best production years: http://www.intowine.com/portvin.html
2) That pessimism you felt is kinda typical of the Portuguese, I'm afraid... but "saudade" has nothing to do with that. No word in English (or any other language) can fully transmit the concept of "saudade". It's actually a bit different from nostalgia, it's a feeling of missing something or someone very dear to you, and also of longing, yearning for it or them to return or that you might return to them.
Check the Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saudade
The spacedog link doesn't work for me for some reason. But here are two questions:
1) What qualities make a really good Port?
2) Would you clarify the concept of saudade for me? Before I visited it was defined for me as nostalgia. What I came across in Portugal was more of a wry pessimism. But it was the middle of winter and people sometimes act funny around Americans....