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WWBG: The Gift of Port Wine

by BethesdaNow.com | November 30, 2012 at 3:30 pm | 690 views | No Comments

Editor’s Note: This new weekly sponsored column is written by the staff of Georgetown Square Wine and Beer (10400 Old Georgetown Road).

It’s the holiday season more and more customers are asking for a great gift recommendation for their loved ones. Any wine lover would be perfectly content with a nice high-end Cabernet or even a bottle of champagne. However, if you want to get a wine that someone special can enjoy for a few winter nights, port is definitely the way to go as some ports can keep up to a month after opening.

Port is a fortified wine from the mountainous Douro Valley in Northern Portugal. Under strict guidelines of the European Union protected designation of origin, only wines from Portugal may be labeled Port or Porto. The grapes used to make ports are a variety of grapes grown in the Douro region that are blended together.

After this process winemakers let the fermentation process begin as the yeast starts to convert sugar into alcohol (some wineries still do traditional foot pressing). A few days later, winemakers add in a neutral grape spirit or brandy to stop the fermentation process, leaving the wine with a load of residual sugar and higher alcohol content (18% – 22% a.b.v.). This sweetness and heavy alcohol content is why port is considered a dessert wine, after dinner wine, or (for me) a nightcap.

Port wine comes in many different styles. Each style is dependent on all how the port has been vinified, stored, and aged. The two main categories of port are wood aged and bottle aged, and each has many subcategories. For the purpose of simplicity and this article, I am going to write about the most popular and best-selling styles ports.

Tawny Port

Tawny port is the most bought and served port in Portugal and the rest of the world. Tawny ports are made from red grapes that are aged in wooden barrels that allow a slight amount of oxygen inside allowing the wine to slowly oxidize. As the wine oxidizes in the barrel the color of the wine turns from a dark red color to a beautiful golden brown color. Tawny ports come in four official categories — 10 year, 20 year, 30 year, and 40 year — all based on the average age of the blends used. The longer these wines spend in wood, the more complexities are derived from the wine. Tawny’s typically have a distinct nuttiness with butterscotch and vanilla flavors that make this style of port absolutely delicious. Here are two of my favorite Tawny ports.

Quinta De La Rosa Tawny Porto

This is house port of a small family owned vineyard in Northern Portugal. This port has been aged a minimum of two years, and offers complexity not found in ports in the same price range. Great for anyone trying port for the first time, and can be served over ice.

Graham’s 20 year Tawny Porto

“20 year” does not indicate actual age of the wine but indicates average age. So this particular wine has older wine that adds complexity and younger, fresher wines that add vibrant fruit flavors that make this port an incredible blend. This port is also very rich and elegant. Makes a perfect gift for the holidays or an anniversary.

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Strong-Arm Robbery On Battery Lane

by BethesdaNow.com | November 30, 2012 at 2:30 pm | 1,337 views | 5 Comments

Police responded to the report of a strong-arm robbery this afternoon outside an apartment at 4900 Battery Lane.

Two suspects, both reportedly in a white Ford Crown Victoria-like vehicle, took property from a victim around 1 p.m., according to a Montgomery County Police spokesperson. They did not yet have information on the property taken or if any weapons were used.

The vehicle with the two suspects was last seen on Old Georgetown Road traveling toward the Beltway.

Old Georgetown Road Bridge Set To Open Today

by BethesdaNow.com | November 30, 2012 at 1:45 pm | 526 views | No Comments

Repairs are finished on the Old Georgetown Road pedestrian bridge, which is scheduled to reopen today, according to the Bethesda Urban Partnership.

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation closed the bridge, which connects Bethesda Place to the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, in April to repair and repaint it.

According to Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center Director Ken Hartman, droppings from pigeons roosting in the cladding and poor drainage helped to corrode joints and connections in the steel structure.

The bridge, once light blue, is now red.

Photo via Bethesda Urban Partnership.

Du-par’s Bringing Famous West Coast Brand East

by BethesdaNow.com | November 30, 2012 at 1:00 pm | 1,825 views | 2 Comments

 

Du-par’s, the Los Angeles-based 24-hour diner, is combining with Hamburger Hamlet (10400 Old Georgetown Rd.) to bring its fresh-cooked breakfast menu to Bethesda.

BethesdaNow.com sat down with Du-par’s owner W.W. “Biff” Naylor, the California restaurateur and former chairman of the National Restaurant Association, at the Georgetown Square spot where preparations are underway for a Saturday morning opening.

Naylor’s father Tiny Naylor moved to central California from Iowa in 1926 and started Tiny’s Waffle Shops. After World War II, he moved to Southern California and started Tiny Naylor’s and Biff’s, which grew into 40 locations in Los Angeles and Orange County.

Naylor started working for his father when he was 15, then later took over the company and sold it thinking he would retire from the business.

In 2004, he was persuaded to get back in the business by buying Du-par’s, known for its hot cakes and pies.

“People say, ‘Oh, your food is so different.’ I say, ‘No, it’s the same way it was in the 1930′s and 40′s.’ We still make our own pies. We still make our own pastries, our own soups and stews and gravys and everything from scratch. It’s really old-style, old-fashioned.’ We don’t have much of a freezer, just ice cream and french fries,” Naylor said. “It is the most difficult restaurant there is to run because it’s breakfast, lunch and dinner 24 hours a day and we make everything fresh all day.

“So we know nobody wants to work that hard anymore. But we do,” Naylor said. “We like what we do and I tell the guys, ‘If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.’”

Esquire Magazine at one point rated Du-par’s pancakes the best in the country. The secret, Naylor says, is the flour, which comes exclusively from a west coast distributor.

The new Du-par’s Hamburger Hamlet won’t get its first full batch of hot cake flour until next week, so Naylor had the distributor air freight a couple of bags in for tomorrow’s opening.

The new menu retain much of Hamburger Hamlet’s old menu, just with Du-par’s breakfast selections added on. It’ll be the second 24-hour restaurant in Bethesda. Tastee Diner (7731 Woodmont Ave.) in Woodmont Triangle is the other and Naylor hopes to build the same sort of following.

“We’re west coast-based but we know the market,” said Naylor, who went to Penn State and spent some time in the D.C. area with his duties for the restaurant association. “I’m not worried about the occasional snow storm.”

Ride On Bus Involved In Bethesda Avenue Collision

by BethesdaNow.com | November 30, 2012 at 11:44 am | 703 views | No Comments

 

A Montgomery County Ride On bus was involved in a collision with a car this morning near busy Bethesda Row.

The collision occurred at the intersection of Arlington Road and Bethesda Avenue shortly after 11 a.m. Friday.

The driver of the silver Lexus Sedan involved in the accident was taken by paramedics to a local hospital. Her vehicle did not appear to suffer significant damage.

Police and a Ride On representative were on the scene.

 

Beltway Maintenance Work Tomorrow

by BethesdaNow.com | November 30, 2012 at 11:00 am | 306 views | No Comments

The Maryland State Highway Administration will close down multiple lanes of the Beltway outerloop at Bradley Boulevard tomorrow for a routine bridge inspection.

Watch for crews and possible delays from 4:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. beneath the Bradley Boulevard bridge, just south of the I-270 spur.

Also tomorrow, watch for SHA crews on southbound Connecticut Avenue in Kensington between Saul Road and Washington Street. Workers will be building a retaining wall from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., causing the closure of one lane.

Photo via TrafficLand.com

Family Escapes Chevy Chase House Fire

by BethesdaNow.com | November 30, 2012 at 10:05 am | 671 views | No Comments

Fire and Rescue officials say working smoke alarms potentially saved a family of four and their two dogs during a house fire in Chevy Chase on Tuesday night.

At about 10:58 p.m., MCFRS received the call for a house fire in the 3800 block of Thornapple St. in Chevy Chase Section 5. The fire originated in the kitchen, according to MCFRS spokesman Bill Delaney, and caused an estimated $25,000 worth of damage.

The working smoke alarms and the barking dogs woke up the two adults and two teenagers in time to leave the house and alert authorities to help contain the damage. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

“We hate to hear that the house caught on fire, of course, but everyone was able to escape without injuries, which we love to hear,” Delaney said. “We love it when people have working smoke alarms. It could mean the difference between life and death.”

Delaney and MCFRS are using the incident to encourage residents to install or inspect smoke alarms, which has been shown to drastically reduce the chance of fatalities from fire.

Morning Notes

by BethesdaNow.com | November 30, 2012 at 9:00 am | 427 views | No Comments

YMCA Repairs Water Main, Reopens — The Bethesda-Chevy Chase branch of the YMCA (9401 Old Georgetown Rd.) closed yesterday after a water main break on its grounds yesterday. After fixing the pipe overnight, the branch reopened with regular hours today. [YMCA via Facebook]

Duncan Will Start Campaign With Hefty Financial Advantage — Using funds left over from his aborted 2006 bid for governor, Doug Duncan will start the 2014 county executive campaign with a significant money advantage over Councilmembers Phil Andrews (D-Gaithersburg) and George Leventhal (D-At large) of Takoma Park, the other two to announce their candidacy. [The Gazette]

Van Hollen Again Voted As Ranking Member of Budget Committee — Democratic leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives remained the same yesterday, after members of the Democratic caucus reasserted Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Steny Hoyer as minority leader and minority whip, respectively. Kensington native and local Rep. Chris Van Hollen remained the ranking member of the Budget Committee. [WAMU]

Somerset Poolhouse Wins Architectural Award — A $3 million, just more than year-old pool facility in the Town of Somerset recently won an architectural design award. The Town did not pass a proposal that would have included moveable glass walls to enclose the pool during the winter. [Chevy Chase Patch]

Walter Reed Adds Jobs, NIH Loses Some — Walter Reed National Military Medical Center added 700 jobs in the last year, in addition to the 2,900 added in 2011. NIH was down 1,140 jobs in the past year as was Lockheed Martin, the Bethesda-based private military contractor, which lost 1,000 Maryland jobs. [The Gazette]

Flickr photo by Bill in DC

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