“To travel hopefully,” Robert Louis Stevenson wrote, “is a better thing than to arrive.”
But what if you travel despondently?
This was our state last Thursday as we motored south to Providence to keep Thanksgiving with a sister, brother-in-law, nieces and extended family. We had intimated to our host that we would furnish several bottles of Pinot Noir to complement the feast. Too bad we had not first checked our wine inventory. Thanksgiving morning, as we were about to leave, the cruel truth was revealed: we were fresh out of that fine, light-ish red wine that so deftly cuts through the gravy, stuffing and mashed potatoes. So we packed up several bottles of Malbec and, for those who prefer a merry white, sauvignon blanc.
But we felt bad about our inability to make good on our PN promise. Maybe, we thought, one of the other guests would bring an appropriately medium-bodied red. And with that thought, we commenced to travel hopefully and only somewhat despondently.
In this case, the arrival was even better than the journey: my brother-in-law’s family arrived for dinner with a trove of Adega de Borba — one of Portugal’s most prized blends. (Did we mention that our brother-in-law & family are hugely Portuguese?)
This garnet-colored amalgam of grape varieties (Trincadeira, Tourig Nacional, cabernet sauvignon and Alicante Bouschet) is not as familiar (or findable) in our part of Maine as Portuguese vinho verde or Dão. But Providence, R.I., and Fall River, Mass., have large Portuguese populations and stores that cater to their Old World tastes for linguiça, cod, papo secos and Borba.
Adding to Borba’s rarity is the historical fact that Borba was, for a long time, narrowly marketed within Portugal and its former possessions, Angola and Brazil. Only recently have economic crises in those two countries prompted the makers of Borba wines to direct their product at the American market. Lucky us.
The moral of the story: Go ahead and travel hopefully. But don’t forget the wine.