Roy’s Note: Here is the finest example of why I encourage people to come visit our Forum ... if not to join in the discussions, at least to read them.  My thanks to Derek Turnbull from the UK, one of our most prolific participants and educators on the site, who has been with us since the very beginning.  I have bestowed this post, the unofficial moniker: “Greatest Post Ever.”

Re: Port Trophies vs. Port enjoyment

by Derek T. » Thu Mar 25, 2010 12:57 pm

Something happened today that made me think of this thread so I thought it would be a good idea to revive it as there are new members here who have perhaps not seen it before. But mostly I had a need to record what happened today for posterity.

Firstly, I have to report that my beloved trophy bottle of pre-1936 Sandeman Ruby (refered to in one of my above posts) met its fate in 2009 at Quinta do Porto in the company of George Sandeman. I can't think of a better way for it to have exited my collection. I have the comfort of knowing that the empty bottle now sits peacefully in a rack of other empty bottles at the Quinta.

But now for the story of my latest, and now my favourite, trophy bottle of Port...

This evening on the way home from work I recieved a phone call from my mother to tell me that her sister, Jess, had given her "a bottle of Port" to give to me for my birthday on Sunday. I immediately knew what this bottle was and was instantly filled with a combination of extreme sadness and overwhelming joy.

This story actually begins when I was a child in the late 1960s and 70s. Our family holidays always followed a familair pattern; Uncle Steve, my mother's brother-in-law, would drive between eight and fifteen of us in a minibus from Edinburgh to Devon in the south west corner of England for two weeks by the sea. These were epic journeys in those days with no Motorway (Freeway) and the 500 miles would take a whole day each way. Uncle Steve was a hero from a very early age in my life as he was the only member of our large family who could drive and and was therefore the only possible reason we could have had those holidays. He is also the kindest and most respected man I have ever met in my life.

Unfortunately, Uncle Steve passed away whilst I was on the 2006 Harvest Tour with Roy and many others from here. My family didn't tell me until I landed back at London Heathrow as they didn't want to spoil my trip. I was completely and utterly devastated when I heard this news and the days that followed were horrible. Every time I think of that Harvest Tour my thoughts turn to Uncle Steve. The pain of losing him has now been overtaken by the great memories of a special man and the times I was able to spend with him.

One of Uncle Steve's great passions in life was the Bar that he built in his house. It was stocked with bottles of every imaginable drink that he had collected from the many place he had visited in his life, but he never opened any of them. All of them were trophies and the collection was put together over a period of around 30-40 years.

So, a tear-jerking moment occurred tonight when I realised that this weekend I will be receiving the one and only bottle of Port that has sat on the counter of Uncle Steve's bar for the past 20 to 30 years. It's a bottle of Noval LB. Which Port it is does not matter at all. What it means to me matters enormously. Uncle Steve would never have opened this bottle and therefore neither shall I. It is now my favourite bottle of Port in my collection, trophy or otherwise. XXX Thanks, Uncle Steve, and thanks to Jess for giving it to me.


Read more in the full Port Trophies vs Port Enjoyment thread on For The Love Of Port's Forum