Port is a very niche drink – while I’d had it a few times in the past at dinners to me it always seemed like a dad drink. Something my dad and his business friends would drink together and be all fancy and mature. It doesn’t strike me as a very accessible drink, particularly to students. After all what student do you know is going to go out and buy a bottle of port for pres before a night at the union? Most people haven’t tried it – and don’t exactly get the chance as it’s not usually on many drink menus at local student hangouts. Let’s face it; beer is just a lot more popular.
Having said all that, I was very surprised to hear two students had set up and established a port society in St Andrews celebrating all that is port. I was even more surprised at the great turnout they had for their first event ‘An Introduction to Port’. But what I think surprised me the most is the fact I actually really enjoyed the event – the port and the group of people that came with it.
The big selling point of the night was that it was educational – something vital for people like me who know nothing about the drink at all. I didn’t even know there were different kinds of port to drink (and it turns out there are quite a few!). Having already established themselves with a sponsor in the Wine Company, the society managed to organise Mr Peter Wood, the owner of the wine company, coming in to give an educational talk on how different ports come into being, the delicacies of their flavourings and the difference in their manufacturing processes. I was amazed that there was this whole world of alcohol that I had never discovered before.
We tried a variety of ports along with Mr Wood’s instruction, and there were also crackers on the tables for those who needed a pallet cleanse. I found that the darker the port the less I liked it. My favourites were the tawny port and the white port and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked them. Maybe not enough to buy a full bottle for myself but if I was older and more mature (and maybe less prone to binge drinking) it would definitely be something that I would look into.
Above all I was amazed at the professionalism and organisation that went into the Port Society’s first event. If this event is anything to go by there’s a great future ahead of it.