White Port and Lemon Juice

I’ve been listening to this song W.P.L.J. as performed by The Four Deuces, and I decided maybe I’d like to try it. The recipe is deceptively simple:

Well, you take the bottle and you take the can,
You shake it up fine, you get a good, good wine.

I don’t know anything about wine, but I take it that white port' is something that comes with a convenient twist-off top and is consumed without taking it out of the bag. I went to a store that had a fair selection of wines, but I didn't see anything labeled as white port.’ Where does one find the stuff?

Measurements are also unclear. I assume the bottle mentioned is the common 750ml size, but would that have been the case in 1955, when The Four Deuces were singing? I’ve never seen lemon juice in cans, and I take it that it hasn’t been distributed that way in a long time. What size cans were they?

I’d appreciate it if anyone could enlighten me. I’m looking forward to finding out what exactly it do to you.

I’m not sure I’ve seen white port in the U.S. (assuming that’s where you live). It was available in Portugal, naturally, but wasn’t that common. I’m not sure why anyone would mix lemon juice with port or any other wine.

Port is actually an excellent dessert wine. The problem is in finding decent port in the U.S. IMO, any port that hasn’t been aged 20 years or more isn’t fit to drink.

White port mixed with lemon juice used to be a popular drink among Mexicans. The rotgut wine Thunderbird (made by Gallo) is an attempt to imitate this mixture.

I have seen white port for sale at The Spanish Table in Berkeley. They do mail order, and also have branches in Seattle and Santa Fe (although their web site says they can’t yet sell alcohol at the Santa Fe location). Their web site is at http://www.tablespan.com/

Lemon juice is commonly used to improve the potability of your less expensive liquors. Presumably, the wine they are referring to is not by itself a tasty one.

What makes something a port wine, as opposed to a muscatel or a ripple? Or, will any cheap white wine do?

Port originally referred to wines made in a specific region of Portugal (though the name itself derives not from this, but from the town of Oporto, which was the commercial center of the Port trade). Nowadays, the term “port” can also refer to wines made in the style of the original, while port-style wines made in the Oporto region (or the nearby Douro region) are generally labelled as “Porto” to distinguish them from generic ports. Australia makes some surprisingly good tawny ports; so does South Africa. Ports made in the U.S., are almost always, but not quite universally, just above paint stripper in quality.

As for what distinguishes Port-style wines from other styles:

  1. They are always fortified with brandy or neutral grape spirit. Unlike most other fortified wines (Sherry, Madeira, etc.), ports are fortified before fermentation of the wine has completed, which arrests the fermentation process while there is still residual sugar remaining in the wine. Because of this, all ports are sweet, though not equally so.

  2. They are always barrel aged for a long while, usually for at least 3 years, sometimes for as long as 40 years in the case of tawny Porto. Most other wines are aged a maximum of 2 years; however, the high sugar content of port affects the aging process enough that it can be aged much longer while continuing to improve.

  3. They are almost always blended, not only from different lots or vineyards, but often from different years. This allows the winemakers to pursue a particular distinctive “house style”, rather than being subjected to the vagaries of the yearly harvest. Exceptions to this include Vintage Porto (from one year) and single-quinta Porto (from one vineyard).

Most port is red wine - the most common styles are ruby porto (aged for 3-5 years; usually sweet and fruity) and tawny port (aged at least 7 years, and therefore not nearly as sweet, but with a very distinctive nutty flavor). White port is of course made from specific white grapes (duh), and is usually not aged long - like ruby port, the sweetness and fruit predominate. Lemon juice is unlikely to improve it unless it is quite lousy to begin with - as, again, most generic ports made in the US tend to be (in the US, foreign geographic designations, like port or burgundy, are legally considered to imply “vaguely in the style of ________”; since there are no specific standards on what this means, these sort of terms are almost always applied to the lowest quality generic wines that could not stand on their own merits without the pretension of foreignness.)

IMO the combination was picked for its rhythm & abbreviations,(the hook) more than the actual drink. Kind of like “Pospsicles & Icicles.” In fact a radio station in NYC named itself WPLJ, in the 70’s.

Boy, Johnny,a pretty obscure song by that SF area group, but good musical taste.

I thought you were talking about the Mothers of Invention version. Wasn’t the white port in question a product of Mogen David or Manichewitz? I recall the liquor store I worked at stocked a Mad Dog white port that I assume was some NASTY shit that needed something to cut the sweetness so you could drink more of it.

OTOH, Morgan Davis blackberry cut with some soda water can be very nice if you’re not a wine snob and simply wish to get drunk.

One of my favorite drinks is a good aged tawny port. Give it a try some time. I recommend Taylor Fladgate 10 year or 20 year tawny - whatever you can afford. It’s fantastic.

Australia also makes some very fine ruby ports, vintage ports, and white ports. I got a few bottles of a very promising RL Buller & Sons 2000 Touriga vintage port last time I was in the Rutherglen (I have put them away for ten years: by 2013 it should be excellent), and a surprisingly good white port when I was in Mount Tambourine (of all places) last month.

In fact there are some people (I won’t deny that they mostly have a certain quality to their vowels) who will tell you that Australia makes the best ports (and other fortified wines such as muscats, tokays, madeira…) in the world, and has been doing so for thirty years or more.


Put the lime in the coconut, drink them both together,
Put the lime in the coconut, then you’ll feel better,
Put the lime in the coconut, drink them both up,
Put the lime in the coconut, and call me in the morning.

So did I. Thanks to the OP for enlightening me as to this song being a cover. It really is a good song.

There, I learned my something new for the day. Thanks, SDMB!

Actually, there is a white port put out by Goose Watch Winery that my friends and I pick up bottles of each year when we travel up to the Finger Lake region of New York.

It’s divine. I wouldn’t add lemon juice to it, though.

I appreciate the information that Some Guy and Agback have provided. However, I don’t think that an actual good wine is what I’m looking for here, to reproduce the taste that inspired the song.

doctordoowop wrote:

Music. Hmmm. That’s that stuff they quit making sometime in the 70’s, right?

Hmmm…now, I could be mistaken here, but it seems to me that I recall learning that once the wine is augmented with spirits and bottled, the aging process stops. In other words, when you buy an aged port, it is already 10 or 20 years old and leaving it on the shelf accomplishes nothing.

No, no, no

Vintage port changes and improves more than almost any other wine. Vinatges from really good years improve in the bottle for 30, maybe 40 years. I’ve drunk two '63s and a '58 which were sublime.

I think you are thinking of high strength (40%+ alcohol) liqours which are essentially dead when they are bottled.

A good description of all the varieties of port from one of the top quintas (that’s the guys who make the stuff)

Oh god, you would think that after living in Lisbon for two years, I would know something about the stuff, but ignorance abounds. I must have been thinking of brandy, which stops aging once bottled. I guess this means the two cases of Graham 20-year old tawny that I bought in 1995 has gotten even better!

We used to love to go to the Instituto do Vinho do Porto (the Port Wine Institute) on Friday after work and sample whatever they had open from the hundreds of bottles in stock. I remember in particular a 30-year old white port that was like silk.

Oh-oh, did we hijack the thread?

It’s really only the vintage ports which improve with age. Tawny ports are barrel aged for (in you case) an average of 20 years before bottling. They are ready to drink when you buy them. I recommend an immediate tasting of you port, purely for research purposes, natch :smiley:

Ah, hence my confusion. It didn’t seem to make sense that the vinter would put “20 Year Old” on the label if it still needed to age. I’ve already “tasted” nearly a case of the stuff and it’s very nice indeed, as it should for the nearly $700 I paid for the two. I also bought 12 cases of different Portuguese reds, which are some of the most underrated wines in the world and largely unavailable outside the country.

I believe they would have referred to that container as a “fifth,” i.e. 1/5 gallon = 25.6 oz = 750ml.

But if I recall correctly, “White Port” isn’t a variety but a brand name, invariably purchased in half-pint containers and frequently mixed with Kool-Aid for that extra flavor sensation, YSRMV.*

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