“No longer on the fence.” Prager Port… cocktails?!

My friend Sky, a pilot with a fitting name, has often remarked of skydiving: “I don’t see why anybody would jump out of a perfectly good airplane.” It’s a humorous quip with a barb of common sense on the end of it, and I agree with his assessment. Similarly, as a lover of wine, I’ve always been on the fence about Sangria. Why would anyone dilute perfectly good wine? Only if the wine was poor to begin with would I make sangria from it. Then last night, I was forced to reconsider my position.

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The Prager Brothers had already given me cause to reconsider everything I thought I knew about port wine when they had me pair their white port, Aria, with lobster bisque. This changed my life. So when I called their winery a few days ago and Jeff suggested to me that I mix two parts Aria with one part mineral water, I’ll admit that I was hesitant, but with the Prager’s track record of good suggestions I couldn’t say no. I went to Wohlner’s, picked up some mineral water, and started chatting with Jerry, the manager. “Oh,” he told me. “You know what’s really good? When I was in Portugal we used to add a little sprig of mint and a twist of lemon to that. It’s terrific.” I didn’t know that Jerry had been to Portugal, but it didn’t surprise me, and given that mint is an infectious weed that has taken over my entire little patio garden, I figured the investment in a lemon wasn’t much to ask.

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And so, on the recommendation of the guys who made it, I diluted perfectly good (read: truly excellent) fortified wine with a deluge of fresh-picked solids and bottled liquids, refusing to add ice so that, in the very least, I would actually know what it tasted like. I made seven of these and served them to the entire Chieftain Distribution team as well as a winemaker friend from the Willamette Valley and…

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As usual, the Prager Bro’s were on point. This light, refreshing little blend was a perfect summer day concoction, and so simple that even I could make it. Our next move was to pair their ten year tawny with sausages, blue cheese, popcorn, pizza, and chocolate (obviously not all at once). The Prager’s have caused me to reconsider everything I know about what I once considered to be only a dessert offering. Their lineup of port wines is tremendous and I highly recommend you seek them out. Even better, we expect a visit from Peter to Nebraska sometime this fall, so keep your eyes open for the announcement and, in the meantime, go pair your port with something a little more creative than a Hershey’s Kiss. I think you’ll be pleased with the result.

Cheers to learning new things every day,

Mark

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