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Old Time Recipes for Home Made Wines: Port

Rhatany (Krameria triandra)

Port is generally thought to be a Portuguese fortified wine that is sweet and often served with dessert. Although other port-style wines are produced in Argentina, Australia, Canada, France, India, South Africa, Spain and the US only wines from Portugal are allowed to be labelled “port”. My paternal grandmother, Helen S. Wright, did not have the Internet or Wikipedia to focus her attention on the exact nature of port and included a recipe for it in her book, Old Time Recipes for Home Made Wines, published in 1909. The recipe contains 2 unusual ingredients: rhatany (Krameria triandra) the root of which is often used in medicine, and tincture of kino, made from various trees and other plants, particularly  bloodwood species of eucalypts and Pterocarpus, in reaction to mechanical damage. Photo Credit Wikimedia Commons

In the words of my grandmother:

To ten gallons prepared cider, add one and one-half gallons good port wine, two and one-half quarts wild grapes (clusters), two ounces bruised rhatany root, three-quarters ounce tincture of kino, three-quarters ounce tincture of kino, three-quarters pound loaf sugar, one-half gallon spirits. Let this stand ten days; color if too light, with tincture of rhatany, then rack if off and fine it. This should be repeated until the color is perfect and the liquid clear.

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