The noble art of holding a port wine glass

To use the glass with style, the beginner would need a manual or, even better, a lesson by someone who knows. We got ours from Jorge Serôdio Borges during the lunch at Quinta do Passadouro. The glass is not just any wine glass, but the official port wine glass. Yes, there is one, apparently blessed by the port wine institute.

Quinta do Passadouro Vintage Port 2011

Jorge has served us Passadouro’s delicious Vintage Port 2011 when we come to talk about the glass. At a distance, you could mistake it for an ordinary ISO glass. A closer look and the differences appear. Naturally it is said to be designed to emphasise all the sensory merits of the noble beverage. Additionally, the Portuguese designer Alvaro Siza has added a couple of details that directly revealed our lack of knowledge.

The stem of the glass is not round, but formed with four sides. Quite high up there is a small dimple on one of the edges. Fits a finger nicely, so my thumb ended up there.

Oh no, so wrong, so wrong. That dimple shall not be facing your body when you grap the glass, but be on the opposite side. Thus, no thumb, but the forefinger. And of course no fingers on the bowl, just around the stem.

Okey, lets try again. Grab the glass around the stem with the forefinger in the dimple, turned away from you and with the thumb on the back. Hide the other fingers discretely inside the hand, with the exception of the middle finger that is allowed to give a little support below the thumb. Thus, only one finger on the front and two on the back of the stem.

”Just the forefinger on front side?” I ask Jorge, to check that I really got it right. I, who always have had two fingers on the front of the stem, irrespective of wine glass type. ”Yes, that’s correct,” he confirms, ”only one finger, but it is mostly about etiquette.” Well, I just have to relearn.

Then there was the other little detail from Siza. Designed for those who like to balance the glass by holding its foot. Beware, there is an opportunity to get it wrong here too.

The sides of the stem ends on the round foot and divides it into four parts. Three of the same thickness, but the fourth is a little thinner. It is there, on the thinner fourth, that you should take the grip, using only thumb and middle finger. Nice!

The lesson and the beautiful vintage took all our attention and we forgot to get a decent picture of the glass. If you havn’t seen it before, you can for example take a look on this link; Siza Official Port Glass.

Mission accomplished, we passed the exam and now know how to handle the port glass with style and etiquette. Thanks for the lesson Jorge!

Jorge Serôdio Borges in Wine & Soul's original vineyard

All posts about our visit to Quinta do Passadouro an Wine & Soul in Portuguese Douro valley in May 2014:

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