Thursday, December 27, 2007

Raising a Glass to the Methuen Treaty


What in the world is the Methuen Treaty, you ask? Well, if you haven't googled it, let me tell you: It was a treaty between Great Britain and Portugal. Among its lasting effects were the political solvency of Portugal's colony, Brazil. However, I have precious little interest in that. Rather, I want to get to the meat of the matter...port wine.

You see, France and England were having a tiff and so Englishmen couldn't get French wines. (Remember that England hadn't grown many wine-grapes since the end of the Medieval Warming Period which our global warbling friends refuse to acknowledge.) The Portuguese started exporting their wine to Britain. Unfortunately, it would spoil while in transit. Thus, to reduce spoilage, they began "fortifying" it with brandy and other hard liquor. The result? Port, or course!

I admit that I'm an unrepentant Anglophile, and am particularly appreciative of the little rituals that have grown up around the enjoyment of port. So enjoy a glass and join me in toasting the second day of Christmas with a nice tawny port.

8 comments:

Viola said...

If I had some handy, and it is a little early, I would love to do that. Interesting information.

Gary said...

I find the Medieval Warming period to be interesting since Greenland was settled by the Vikings at the time. And then forgotten because of the Little Ice Age that only ended in 1850 I believe.

While I don't doubt that the smoke going into the atmosphere is bad and should be contained/lessened, it is quite possible the warming trend is just the planet returning to the Pre-Little Ice Age when warm weather was common in northern Europe and Greenland was... green.

Chris said...

Gary,

If you haven't done so, check Dennis Avery's Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years. He attempts to show how the solar cycle of radiation emission corresponds to known historical warmings. For instance, the MWP was but a rehash of a warming that was happening when Christ came on the scene. Indeed, it's possible that a littler ice age was what initiated the migrations of Huns, Visigoths, and Germanic tribes which put so much pressure on Rome! And that says nothing about the Older Peron transgression, when massive ice sheets melted and global sea levels rose!

Timo Neroma of Finland has amassed excellent resources on historical weather cycles here.

Gary said...

Interesting reading. In the last one I like this quote:

"Considering the evidence it looks like a megalomaniac idea that the recent rise of half a degree would have been caused by man. So great are the natural variations. But man has always wanted to be in the center of the world."

Dave Moody said...

Great quote indeed Gary...

... but on to the important subject of enjoying Port. I tend to enjoy it with a nice english stilton, or better yet- a walnut and stilton tort my better half makes. There's a cheese shop about 40 miles from here, that I occasionally haunt, and they have a great layered cheese, I believe they call it Admiral. Its port infused english cheddar, with a stilton cheddar.

Now, that dear Adiaphora, is civilized culture on a plate, and in a glass.

Dave Moody said...

ack... can't type... thats stilton center, not cheddar.

Perhaps this evening...

Dave Moody said...

Ok, its Shiraz and Pizza tonight... perhaps Port during the New Year.

Grace & Peace,
dm

I Was Just Thinking.... said...

And it's a Stilton and Walnut tart not a tort!