The way wine is served can also be as fun as drinking it, especially with the right accessory.
We’re used to wine being served direct from the bottle to the glass—sometimes, it goes to a decanter first before the glass. However, those aren’t the only accessories that can improve your wine drinking experience. Introducing the Porrón.
A Magic Lamp for Wines
The porrón traces its roots to Spain. This accessory—which looks like a cross between a decanter, a watering can, and a magic lamp—is best used for white wines and light reds, even rosé.
This traditional glass pitcher can be found throughout Spain, mostly in the northern areas, from Bilbao in Basque Country, to Barcelona in the autonomous region of Barcelona. Conveniently, most porróns have a 750ml capacity, perfect for a full bottle of wine. What’s different about this ‘decanter’ is that it’s not only for decanting and storing, it’s also used for drinking. Yup, straight from the container.
The porrón features a long top that can be sealed off with a cork—it also doubles as a handle when pouring. The spout narrows off to a small opening. When pouring, the wine shoots from the porrón in a thin, steady stream.
A More Fun Way to Drink
The porrón was probably created due to the need to drink wine directly from the decanter. Hundreds of years ago, solo wine glasses weren’t very practical or economical, since many people couldn’t afford glass dinnerware. Moreover, personal hygiene was a big issue for people back then.
The porrón was the practical way for many people to drink out of the same vessel without worrying about hygiene. If done properly, the drinker’s lips never touch the glass.
A Poured History
The exact origin and history of the porrón has not yet been traced, but local historians assume it probably came from Catalonia and has been part of the Spanish wine drinking lifestyle for centuries.
Spaniards in the northern regions area led the way in making wine-drinking fun. They “porrón” almost any wine: Cava, Txakoli, cider, sweet wines, and even Rioja.
However, because of the non-traditionalist take on it, the accessory does have its fair share of detractors, most notably the renowned novelist George Orwell. The author of Nineteen Eighty-Four and Homage to Catalonia once likened the “dreadful thing called a porrón” to a bedpan.
Still, expert porróners never fail to amaze onlookers,making the accessory interesting to those who’ve never heard of it.
Porróning the Right Way
There’s an art to properly pouring and drinking wine from a porrón. After pouring the wine into the container, hold it close to your mouth and start pouring (drinking), and then slowly pull the porrón away from the mouth without breaking the steam of vino.
Traditionally, the further you can pull it away, the better you are—and the more respect you earn. The single most important pro tip is to commit to the pour and be confident. For first timers, it’s better to start with white wine, so as not to ruin your favourite shirt or dress.
Once you’ve mastered the basics, let your imagine run wild. See how far away you can pour the wine into a friend’s mouth, or have a porrón contest to see who can pour wine from the greatest height without spilling. For the thrill-seekers, find a way to be creative with your porróns—pour from your apartment’s rooftop, from the office window, or—like these sommeliers from New York—from a bridge in Central Park.
What to Porrón
Txakoli/Chacoli [chah-ko-lee] is the wine most associated with porróns. This young, fresh wine has a light fizz and typically packs zingy lemon flavours and a minerality that’s just the right mix of salt and stones. Txakoli is made in the Basque Country, in three distinct Txakolina regions situated along Spain’s lush northern coast. Pouring this wine from a height through the porrón’s thin spout coaxes the tiny bubbles, which adds to the blend’s brightness and freshness.
Rosé and the red Txakoli are also sometimes poured into porróns.
Get yourself a porrón and pour on.