Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thursday Sips & Nibbles

I am back again with a new edition of Thursday Sips & Nibbles, my regular column where I highlight some interesting wine and food items that are upcoming. **********************************************************
1) Horse-drawn coaches carrying travelers from Hartford to Albany in the mid-1700s often paused at an inn on the town green here for a whiskey and a good night’s sleep. Today, The Old Inn on the Green remains much as it was then, with its wide pine floorboards, multiple fireplaces, and candle lit dining rooms. Under the auspices of innkeepers Peter Platt and Meredith Kennard, the inn’s nods to modern life include a swimming pool, Frette linens, air conditioning, in-room Jacuzzis, Wi-Fi and satellite TV. The Old Inn on the Green’s inventive American cuisine has won a number of awards, and Yankee Magazine named The Old Inn on the Green the #1 historic inn in New England.

This week, The Old Inn on the Green unveils a renovated taproom on its premises, created to meet the 2014 needs of both travelers and local guests. The renovated taproom features a bar top crafted from locally mined schist, custom designed pine shelving, paneling and cabinetry, and handmade barstools fashioned from local ash trees and hickory. It’s a look that fits seamlessly into the circa 1760 inn, thanks to 12 months of respectful attention from an historic preservation architect, a local master cabinetmaker, and a wise and seasoned builder. Classic cocktails, local draught and bottled beer, and an extensive wine list make the new, 7-seat taproom a welcoming stop

2) On Saturday, December 13, Santa Claus will be paying Harvard Square a special visit at Beat Brasserie aka Beat Hôtel for its second annual family-friendly Santa brunch from 10am-3pm. Guests of the Santa Brunch can count on food and drink from Chef Ignacio Lopez, live holiday music from Bobby Keyes, photo opportunities and mingling and jingling with the big man himself...Santa Claus!

The Beat’s Executive Chef Ignacio Lopez will serve a  selection of brunch fare such as quiche made with Tuscan kale, sundried tomato & goat cheese served with a house salad ($14.50), wild flower honey & lemon pancakes with wild blueberry compote ($14) and eggs shakshuka, poached eggs, north african tomato sauce, peppers and polenta ($14.50) while children can order scrumptious selections off the “Flower Children” menu including kiddie scrambled eggs & toast ($7.50), grilled cheese ($7.50) and pancakes ($7.50).

While the little ones are running around with Santa, parents can have a hand-crafted cocktails such as the Electric Sidecar, Clear Creek apple brandy, Fruit Lab orange organic liqueur and sour mix ($12) or the Purple Door, Tito’s vodka, blueberry puree, and real maple syrup ($12). Wine enthusiasts can warm up with one of Beat’s 32 American artisanal wines on tap. Guitarist Bobby Keyes will get everyone in the holiday spirit with a live performance featuring holiday tunes from his new Christmas album.

This is an event for kids of all ages. Santa will be available for photos opportunities, but cameras will not be provided. Reservations are highly recommended and can be made by calling 617-499-0001. Regular brunch pricing and specials offered. No cover charge.

3) Known to be superior in taste, large format wine bottles are classified as anything more than 1.5 liters (the equivalent of two bottles of wine), and over 150 bottles are now available in 1.5, 3, 5, 6 and even 9 (equivalent to 12 bottles of 750ml wine) liter bottles at The Wine ConneXtion, located in North Andover.

Every year, Sam and Tina Messina, siblings and co-owners of The Wine ConneXtion, set out in search for rare, large format wines produced by some of the most prestigious wineries-- and each year, their quest is unpredictable. Every large format wine is hand-bottled which makes production limited, and their availability rare. Bottles that do make it to the retail stores are found few and far between, and when they are available, are usually scooped up by wine enthusiasts who want to add them to their prized wine collections.

This year, The Wine ConneXtion searched far and wide to acquire the largest selection of large format wines in New England. Nowhere else can you find such a vast assortment of large format wine, many of which were special ordered directly from the wineries and include older vintage wines that do not exist in the 750ml format today. Offering everything from 1.5, 3, 5, 6 and even 9 liter bottles, The Wine ConneXtion’s collection of large format wines is the Holy Grail for any vino lover. More than just a bold statement, large format bottles add a unique touch to dinner parties and make an impressive gift for both avid wine collectors and those hard-to-buy-for friends! Quantities are extremely limited, so stop by The Wine ConneXtion while supplies last. Visit www.wineconnextion.com for an updated list of available bottles.

4) On December 8, at 6:30pm, Legal Harborside will team up with Lacey Burke, Brand Ambassador of Ruinart, for a four-plus-course champagne dinner. Producing champagne since 1792, Ruinart is the oldest established champagne house in the world. Founded by Nicolas Ruinart in the renowned region in the city of Reims, the house is today owned by the parent company LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA. With the Chardonnay blend at the very soul of Ruinart, its fresh aromas, vivacity and purity, are is evident in all cuvée varietals. The delicate grape will only display the full breadth of its aromatic richness after a slow maturation in the coolness of the Ruinart cellars. The maturation process is a true testament of the Cellar Master's skill, required to tame and highlight this sometimes fickle grape. Brightness, intensity and elegance are only a few combinations of the unique traits that reside in the celebrated “Ruinart Taste."

The menu will be presented as follows:

HORS D’OEUVRES
Quail Egg, Caviar, Crème Fraîche, Dill
Black Forest Ham, Gruyére Croquette
Scallop Crudo, Lemongrass Gelée, Red Fresno, Madras Curry
Baked Oyster, Creamed Leeks, Pernod, Brioche Crumbs
Ruinart Blanc de Blancs, NV
FIRST COURSE
Hudson Valley Duck Terrine (Duck Liver Mousse, Duck Rillette, Red Currant Gelée, Blood Orange Honey)
Ruinart Brut Rosé, NV
SECOND COURSE
Butter Poached Maine Lobster (Sauce Américaine, Puff Pastry, Upland Cress, Tarragon Essence)
Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs, 2004
INTERMEZZO
Yuzu and Elderflower Sorbet (Finished With a Touch of Herbsaint)
THIRD COURSE
Slow Roasted Loch Duart Salmon (Mushroom Consommé, Braised Swiss Chard, Roasted Quince)
Dom Ruinart Rosé, 1998
DESSERT COURSE
Lychee Pudding Cake (Strawberry Pink Peppercorn, Coconut Compote)

COST: $165 per person (excludes tax & gratuity)
Reservation required by calling 617-530-9470

5) The 3rd Annual Christmas in the City Kick-Off & Celebrity Holiday Tree Auction event will be Wednesday, December 3, from 6pm-8pm, at the Seaport Hotel. The evening will feature an auction of Christmas trees lit and fully decorated by the Black and Gold’s left wing, #17 - Milan Lucic as well as a “Boston Strong” tree in memory of Mayor Thomas Menino – who was a huge supporter of Christmas in the City for over 20 years. 100% of money raised from this event will go to Christmas in the City, including ticket sales.

The Seaport Hotel will be providing tasty nibbles and a cash bar for guests to enjoy during the event; the hotel will again serve as a toy drop-off location for Christmas in the City, beginning November 25th. You can literally valet your toys, by pulling up to the valet and either handing them off or running them in to the lobby yourself, to make donating quick and easy. Celebrity guests include Santa Claus and Jake & Sparky Kennedy (founders of Christmas in the City) in addition to the many supporters of Christmas in the City.

Christmas in the City, a 100% volunteer organization, will hold its 26th Annual Holiday Party this year and is expecting to serve thousands more children this year – so they need more support than ever to meet the need. 5,000 children living in shelters, hotels or transitional housing will attend the celebration with their Mom or guardian. The following day, Christmas in the City will give out toys and clothing, serving 12,000 more children whose families have fallen on hard times and otherwise might find nothing under the tree.

Admission price is a donation of $20. Guests are also asked to please bring ONE toy to donate.
Tickets are available at http://citc2014.eventbrite.com

6) Are you ready to go whole hog? Join the Grafton Group on December 9, from 6pm-9pm, for the first-ever “Heads to Tails Privateer Pig Dinner” at Russell House Tavern. Chef Tom Borgia is prepared to treat your taste buds to a six-course feast featuring local heritage hog from Brambly Farms in Norfolk. Each course has been paired with a handcrafted Privateer Rum (also made in MA) cocktail – shaken or stirred to perfection by Bar Manager Ashish Mitra and guaranteed to keep you refreshed all evening long.

The Menu is as follows:

Course 1
Blackstrap Cured B.L.T. (House-Cured Bacon, Smoked Tomato, Peppercress)
Ipswich Daiquiri (Privateer Silver Reserve Rum, Lime, Celery Juice, Real Sugar Simple, Celery Bitters)
Course 2
Nantucket Bay Scallop Ceviche (Crispy Pig Skin, Yuzu, Melon)
Maggie’s Daisy (Cilantro & Chive Infused Privateer Silver Reserve Rum, Yuzu, Melon, Velvet Falernum, Rhubarb Bitters, Salt)
Course 3
Curried Clam and Pork Belly Chowder (Steamed Littlenecks, Braised Pork Belly, Pink Peppercorn)
Shave and A Haircut (House-Spiced Privateer True American Amber Rum, Cola Syrup, Harpoon Boston Irish Stout)
Course 4
House-Salted Cod and Chorizo Doubles (Garbanzos, House-Made Chorizo, Shaved Spanish Chorizo, Fried Dough, Pickled Shallot)
Mary Pickford (Privateer Silver Reserve Rum, Pineapple, House Grenadine, Maraschino)
Course 5
Pork Shoulder Aji Mojo (Braised Calilou, Macomber Turnip Puree)
Rum Bronx (Privateer True American Amber Rum, Sweet and Dry Vermouth, Orange Juice)
Dessert
Boozey Black Cake (Jamaican Allspice Ice Cream)
Winter’s Sting (House-Spiced Privateer True American Amber Rum, Giffard Menthe-Pastille, Orange)

COST: $75 including tax and gratuity. Tickets are limited,
TICKETS: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/heads-to-tails-privateer-pig-dinner-tickets- 14237246989

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sherry by Talia Baiocchi

"There is Sherry, and there are all other wines."
--Rupert Croft-Cooke

Back in June, I Ranted that people should Stop Neglecting Sherry, asking that they take a chance and explore the wonders and diversity of Sherry. I've written over thirty articles on Sherry, some of those posts based on my visit to the Sherry region of Spain. Back in 2010, I penned a five-part series on the History of Sherry, noting that Sherry has weathered many ups and down through the centuries, and was currently at one of its low point. However, I felt that after rebounding so many times during the centuries, that it was only a matter of time before it saw a resurgence once again. Currently, it seems Sherry is climbing in popularity once again, and the outlook seems bright.

Sherry needs passionate advocates, to help spread the word, and Talia Baiocchi is doing her part to popularize Sherry. In her new book, Sherry: A Modern Guide to the Wine World's Best-Kept Secret, with Cocktails and Recipes (Ten Speed Press, October, 2014, $24.99), she helps to educate people about Sherry, presenting this information in an easily understood manner for readers of all knowledge levels. If you are curious about Sherry, this is an excellent introduction to this worthy wine, and even presents cocktail and food recipes.

Talia Baiocchi is the editor-in-chief of Punch, an online magazine focused on wine, spirits, and cocktails. She has also written for other outlets, including Wine Spectator, San Francisco Chronicle, Decanter, Bon Appétit, and Wine & Spirits.

Available as a hardcover or e-book, this Sherry guide presents seven chapters, with an informative appendix on "Where To Find Sherry." The first two chapters, How Sherry Is Made and Wines of the Sherry Spectrum, present all of the basics of Sherry, including methods of production, terroir, solera system, bodega architecture, flor, as well as the various types of Sherry, from Fino to Palo Cortado, from VORS to En Rama. Though this can be complex, Talia does an excellent job of explaining matters so most anyone will understand. These chapters will also show readers the incredible diversity of Sherry, and how it isn't simply some sweet stuff their grandmother once drank. I also enjoyed a fascinating sidebar on Flanenco & Sherry.

"Sherry is one of the greatest of all misunderstood wines."
--William Grimes (New York Times, 1999)

Chapters 3 & 4 discuss the history of Sherry and its modern renaissance. The history lessons extends back to the Phoenicians, covering a number of highlights across the centuries. You'll learn how Sherry was popular in the U.S. during the 19th century, with cocktails like the Sherry Cobbler and restaurants pairing Amontillado and Turtle Soup. There is also mention how U.S. wineries started making their own Sherry-like wines in 1948, and that by the 1950s, it was said California was making 8 times as much Sherry as Spain.  The recent resurgence of Sherry is due to many factors, from a change of tastes to more savory items to its greater use in cocktails. There are hopes that Sherry popularity will continue to grow.

Chapter Five explores the Towns &; Bodegas of the Sherry region. There are listings for the Bodegas of Jerez, El Puerto and Sanlucar, with short descriptions and listings of their notable Sherries. If a consumer sees Sherry on their local wine shop shelves, they can use this chapter to do a little background research, to learn more about those specific Sherries.

The next chapter is all about Sherry Cocktails, providing a short history and an explanation on how Sherry affects cocktails. Then, the chapter provides over forty cocktail recipes, from old classics to modern innovations, such as Sherry Cobbler, Adonis, Sherry Flip, Bamboo, Pale Rider, and the Rye Witch, Even if you don't like drinking Sherry on its own, these cocktails might appeal to you, balancing out the flavors of Sherry with other ingredients. And if you like Sherry on its own, these cocktails can introduce new flavors and combination to you.

The final chapter,Sherry At The Table, begins with an origin tale of Tapas, and then presents about ten recipes, dishes that go well with Sherry, including items like Salmorejo and Huevos A La Flamenca. There are even cool sidebars on Spanish Cured Ham and Sherry Vinegar. However, there is little information on pairing Sherry with food, which would have been very helpful, especially considering how food-friendly it is. For example, as I mentioned before, Sherry would be a good choice as a Thanksgiving wine.

In a final appendix, Where To Find Sherry, there is a list of restaurants, bars and wine shops where you can purchase Sherry. Initially, there are restaurant recommendations for the Sherry region, but the rest of the lists are for the U.S. A number of Massachusetts spots get a mention, including Taberna de Haro, Belly Wine Bar, Toro, Merrill & Co., The Hawthorne, Central Bottle, and the Wine Bottega.

Overall, this book is an excellent and reader-friendly introduction to Sherry. It covers a wide range of topics, though could have provided more advice on pairing Sherry and food. As there are few books currently available on Sherry, this is a needed book, and Talia has written a guide that should be on the shelves of all wine lovers.

"There are only two kinds of sherry, the good and the better."
--Jerez saying

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Soctch Tasting: Auchentoshan, Bowmore & Glen Garioch

I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis.”
--Humphrey Bogart

Scotch Whiskey has a rich history and an excellent reputation, often seen as the benchmark for whiskey all around the world. Japanese whiskey has become major competition to Scotch, but Scotch will always remain a classic, one valued by many whiskey lovers. In the middle of autumn, as the leaves fall and there is a chill in the air, a glass of Scotch can be so welcome, helping to warm your body and soul.


The Auchentoshan Distillery was founded back in 1823, at the foot of the Kilpatrick Hills overlooking the River Clyde.  It has changed owners multiple times, and in May 2014, Beam Inc. and Suntory Holdings Limited merged to create Beam Suntory Inc, which now owns the distillery. The name "Auchentoshan" is from Gaelic and translates as "the field of the corner." It is one of six malt whisky distilleries in the Scottish Lowlands.

It is the only Scottish distillery which uses a third still, creating the  highest distillate of any single malt distillery. Usually, Scotch production involves two stills but Auchentoshan adds a third, known as the Intermediate Still. This creates a spirit that is 162 proof, rather than the usual 140 proof.  This extra distillation is more costly and time consuming, but creates a more pure, elegant and delicate whiskey. They produce five main single malts and numerous limited edition bottlings.

The Auchentoshan American Oak ($39.99) is matured in American bourbon barrels and has a 40% ABV. It is their lowest tier whiskey, but is still very much a quality single malt. With a light gold color, it has a nose of vanilla and coconut, with a hint of baking spices. All of those smells also come through on the taste, along with citrus notes and a touch of sweetness. It is elegant and light, a smooth, easy drinking Scotch.

I was impressed with the Auchentoshan Three Wood ($59.99), which has been matured in three different barrels, including American Bourbon, Oloroso Sherry and  Pedro Ximenez Sherry, and has a 43% ABV. With a darker hue, you get more sherry notes on the nose, including brown sugar and raisins. The taste is rich and complex, with delicious flavors of caramel, dried fruits, baking spices, and nutty accents. It has some sweetness to it, but plenty of savory flavors too. With a lingering finish, this single malt intrigued and delighted me. Highly recommended.

Glen Garioch, which was founded in 1797, is located in the town of Oldmeldrum, near Aberdeen in North East Scotland. They generally produce small batches of their whiskies, and the style is considered to be a hearty and creamy Highland malt, which is also non chill-filtered. They also make a line of vintage single malts, though not every year.

The Glen Garioch Founder's Reserve ($45) was matured in American bourbon and Spanish sherry barrels, and has a 48% ABV. With a light gold color, there are aromas of vanilla and baking spices, and on the palate, there were tasty flavors of vanilla, green apple, and baking spices. It has a creamy texture, a long finish, and plenty of complexity. Another smooth, easy drinking Scotch.

The Bowmore Distillery:was founded in 1779, and was the first recorded distillery on the island of Islay. It is located on the shores of Loch Indaal, which leads into the Atlantic Ocean. Islay whiskies are known for being peaty, and Bowmore smokes their malt in a peat-fired kiln, just as was done two-hundred years ago.

The Bowmore Small Batch ($39.99) is aged in first and second fill ex-bourbon casks, and has a 40% ABV. After the aging, the whiskey is blended together, each barrel adding its own distinctive aspects to the final blend. With a pleasant smoky aroma, the taste of this whiskey brings to mind the sea, with its briny elements, combined with smoke, lime, vanilla and baking spices. It has a mild smokiness, blending well with everything else. A lengthy finish and plenty of complexity make this a delicious single malt.

Out of the five Scotches I tasted, my favorite was the Bowmore 15 Year Old Darkest ($74.99), which is aged in bourbon and sherry barrels, and has a 43% ABV. Its final three years of aging are in Oloroso Sherry barrels, and that is why this was the darkest of the five whiskies, with a darker amber color. This whiskey was smooth and complex, a delectable melange of smoke, baking spices, chocolate, dried fruit, vanilla and hints of nuttiness. The smokiness was around mild, but pervaded every taste, gently caressing your palate. The lingering finish seemed to go on and on, satisfying long after each sip. Not only was it my favorite of these five, but is definitely one of my all-time favorite Scotches. Highly recommended.

Seafood Sustainability & Social Issues

When discussions of seafood sustainability arise, they most often revolve around protection of seafood species as well as their environment. There might be talk of endangered fish populations, such as cod in the Gulf of Maine, or destruction of the sea bed from trawling. However, sustainability discussions have been expanding, and social issues have begun taking on more and more importance, as rightfully so.

When I wrote about the 2014 Seafood Expo North America (SENA) this spring, I posted about The Seven Keys of Sustainability, my own list of the most important aspects of seafood sustainability. A vital question raised during the conference was  "What is the next step beyond sustainability?" That referred to sustainability as mainly species and environmental issues. And as more and more fisheries became sustainable, that means it no longer provides as significant a competitive edge. So what would fisheries do to increase their competitiveness, as well as how would the definition of sustainability expand?

For me, the potential answer was inspired by a seminar with the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC). The sustainability standards set by the ASC address social issues, such as the welfare of workers, a fair wage, safety, and much more. At the time of the Seafood Expo, the abuse of Thai seafood workers had been making headlines, and I predicted that social sustainability would likely be the next big step for the seafood industry. This seems like it is coming true.

The SeafoodSource reported about the recent Global Outlook for Aquaculture Leadership (GOAL) conference held in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, in October. This conference is organized by the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA), a NGO which promotes responsible aquaculture practices. The SeafoodSource stated that discussions of social issues were prominent at GOAL and that social issues and environmental impacts "are now permanently intertwined."

It was also mentioned that there were significant discussions of "human rights and responsible treatment of workers on fishing vessels, on farms and in processing plants." Avoidance of these issues doesn't seem to be an issue. Much of this was spurred on by recent reports castigating the seafood industry for social abuses. This is a very positive sign, that a major international seafood conference would deal with these issues head-on.

The prominence of social issues and seafood sustainability will only increase in the next few years, with the seafood industry trying to correct past errors, and ensure such problems do not arise again. I suspect that next year's SENA will also address this issue in greater depth. You will see more articles about these social issues in the seafood media.

What is especially significant is how the seafood industry has addressed all of these issues in such a short time span, when other food industries seem to have dragged their feet. Maybe other industries should take lessons from the seafood industry and up their game.

Monday, November 17, 2014

A Knight Of The Brotherhood Of Port Wine

"Port is the oil of good conversation."
--Adrian Bridge

When was the last time you enjoyed a glass of Port?

Port, which is also known as Vinho do Porto, Porto and Vinho Generoso, is basically a fortified wine produced in the Douro region of Portugal. It is a wine of diversity, depth, and deliciousness, one which many Americans don't properly appreciate. Port consumption in the U.S. is low so it is likely many of you rarely, if ever, savor a glass. To increase its popularity, consumers need to know more about it, to understand its wonders and delights. The myths and misconceptions about Port need to be shattered. Why deprive yourself of such a fascinating wine?

I've long been a vocal advocate of Port, and am also a Certified Wine Location Specialist, which concentrates on Port and Champagne. I wrote a four-part series exploring the history and origins of the Port region, and I have reviewed numerous Ports. At the wine store where I work, I have recommended different Ports of various customers. And for my advocacy and promotion of Port,I have received a great honor. I owe a deep debt of gratitude to whomever proposed me to receive this honor.

Last Thursday evening, I became a Cavaleiro in the Confraria do Vinho do Porto, essentially making me a Knight in the Brotherhood of Port Wine. This was the first time the Confraria has been in Boston in about ten years, and they inducted 13 new Cavaleiros that night. Around the world, there are currently about 1300 Cavaleiros.

Though the genesis of the Confraria extends back to the 1940s, they were only able to unite in November 1982, after overcoming a number of bureaucratic impediments. The Confraria is now headquartered in the Palácio da Bolsa (the Stock Exchange) in the city of Oporto. They have chosen their patron to be the Infante Dom Henrique de Avis, Duke of Viseu, who is better known as Henry the Navigator. He sponsored numerous maritime explorations, including of the coast of Africa, and rediscovered the Madeira Islands and located the Azores.

As the Confraria states: "The indomitable character of this great Portuguese Prince, who inspired the most extraordinary maritime voyages, is reflected in the traditional values and characteristic quality of Port Wine." The primary objective of the Confraria is to communicate, promote and reinforce the knowledge, reputation and honor of Port wine.

The Confraria is led by a Chancelaria (pictured above), a five person group consisting of the Chanceler (Chancellor and senior representative), the Almoxarife (Administrator), the Coperio-Mor (Head-Cupbearer), the Almotacé (Treasurer) and the Fiel das Usanças (Warden of Usages). All of the members of the Confraria are known as Confrades (Brothers), though women may be members as well, and there are various titles and ranks within the organization. For example, active members of the Port trade receive the rank of Mestre (Master), for owner or directors, or Experto (Expert), for managers.

There are also three ranks of honorary members, including Cancelário (Vice-Chancellor), Infanção (Nobleman) and Cavaleiro (Knight). The rank of Cancelário is given to Heads of State while Infanção is given to "notable people or institutions who make a significant contribution to the promotion and prestige of Port, of who otherwise merit distinction." The rank of Cavaleiro, which I received, is given to those who “have made a significant contribution to the understanding and prestige of Port Wine.

My honorary title was presented during an Enthronement Ceremony at the Omni Parker House, Usually, the ceremony takes place in Portugal, though sometimes the Confraria travels to other parts of the world. Prior to their trip to Boston, they held ceremonies in New York and Washington, D.C. The members of the Confraria were garbed in ceremonial dress, including red capes, black hats with wide brims, and a wide, silk ribbon atop the hat which winds around their neck. The Chancelaria members wear white ribbons while the other members wear black ribbons.

After we were led into the room, we sat down, waiting for our name to be called to receive our honor. The Fiel das Usanças read out each name, mentioning their primary role, such as writer, sommelier or importer. My name was called out first, and I stepped forward atop the stage.

The Chanceler placed a green and red ribbon around my neck. From the ribbon hangs a tambuladeira, a traditional Port wine tasting cup from the 17th century. It is a similar type of tasting cup as you see some sommeliers wear at high-end restaurants.

After receiving the ribbon and tambuladeira, I signed the Book of Honour.

This is the Book of Honour, with signatures of most of the new Cavaleiros. After signing the book, I was handed my diploma, encased in a cardboard tube of sorts, which was signed by the Chanceler and Almoxarife, When I later opened the tube, I also found that it contained a neck tie, with the Confraria symbols on it, and a stick pin, also with the Confraria symbol.

After everyone else was called to the stage, and we were back in our seats, we all swore a vow, while holding a glass of vintage Port (pictured above). Our vow was  “I swear to give my support to the Confraria and to continue fighting for the honor of Port Wine."

In addition, soon after the vow, we also made a toast, which is always done at the end of all Confraria ceremonies.
"For Port Wine
For The Confraria
For The Confrades."

Here I am with the Chanceler, George Sandemann. We had an interesting talk about Port, Portuguese table wines, and even whiskey.

"All wine would be Port if it could."
--Portuguese Proverb

After the ceremony, we had dinner, drinking a variety of Portuguese table wines and Ports, including more of the Niepoort Vintage 2005 Port as well as the superb Ramos Pinto Vintage 1983 Port.It was an evening of stimulating conversation and excellent wines, I feel greatly honored to have been inducted as a Cavaleiro, and will do my best to live up its expectations, to protect the honor of Port wine.