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Port


food_eater
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Hello all,

I'm not much of an alcoholic drinker, and I tasted my first glass of port about 2 years ago. I loved it, and have since always tried to order a glass at the end of a meal if I'm at a fancy place and have a little cash to spare. I just got a whole bottle of it for my birthday, and would like to indulge every once in a while, but I don't want it to go bad. It is a W&J Graham's 20 year Tawny Port. Also, is there a recommended temperature to drink it at, or should I drink it with nuts, cheese, chocolate, or something else? If it doesn't last that long after opening, I might wait for a party or an event.

Thanks,

Food_eater.

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Once decanted you can drink a bottle for about a week until oxidation starts to set in. If you have one of those vacuum sealer type units you can pump a lot of the air out and extend it for about a week more.

http://www.winespectatorschool.com/winesch...0,2128,,00.html

This Page says that port and other fortified dessert wines are higher in alcohol, which effectively acts as a preservative and have already been oxidized as part of the winemaking process, and thus should stand for about 2 weeks still in the bottle once it is opened. But they advise keeping it in the refrigerator after opening it. Once you completely decant a wine I dont think it makes much of a difference though whether you keep the decanter in or out of the fridge.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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I apologise for my ignorance, but doesn't decanting involve pouring the liquid into another container? Or does decanting also include simply opening the bottle and pouring into a glass? In that case, are you saying that once I open the bottle, I have one week to drink it at it's prime?

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I apologise for my ignorance, but doesn't decanting involve pouring the liquid into another container?  Or does decanting also include simply opening the bottle and pouring into a glass?  In that case, are you saying that once I open the bottle, I have one week to drink it at it's prime?

You really should decant a vintage port to open it up -- it needs the oxidization to bring out its flavors, and also you should decant to remove any sediments in the bottle. A 20 or 30 year old vintage port (1977s and 1963's are in their prime now) is going to have a lot of sediment in it, especially if the bottle looks really old and dusty. Once decanted into an appropriate vessel such as a carafe or a glass pitcher or decanter you should let it breathe for about a half an hour to an hour before drinking it. However oxidization is also the death of a port -- so yes, you should drink it within a week.

Tawny and Ruby ports and LBV (late bottled vintage) and vintage ports that are "single Quinta" or single estate which are to be drunk young don't really have as much sediment in them, so you can basically just open the bottle, pour into a glass and let it breathe for 15 minutes before drinking. You'll still want to consume that bottle within a week though.

Here's a good article on ports and decanting:

http://www.ivillage.co.uk/food/experts/win...67261-1,00.html

we've had several decanting threads on the site, all of which have discussed the pros and cons relevant to wines in general. However in the case of vintage port decanting is an absolute necessity.

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?act=ST...ST&f=24&t=10940

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?act=ST...ST&f=63&t=10364

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?act=ST&f=24&t=7346

Edited by Jason Perlow (log)

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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I think you'd be surprised how much you enjoy it and find it empty in a short period of time!

:wub: I love port. It is quite lovely with chocolate! I love it with berries! I love it with creme brulee! Almost not matter what, it's great! :raz:

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The Graham's 20 Year Tawny is utterly delicious and I don't think you'll have too much trouble drinking it quicker than you expected. If you pour yourself and a companion a 3 oz. snifters worth, there are only six glasses and a spill in the bottle. Enjoy it over a weekend after dinner Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening. Buy yourself some nuts, some chocolate and some hard cheese to sample with it on successive evenings and call it "research". :biggrin:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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  • 1 month later...

Generally, the higher alcohol and higher level of residual sugar does retard oxidation. I would urge you to put the opened bottle on a vac u vin stopper as this will allow a bit more time before the port starts its trail to oxidation.

Just my $.02.

I have never met a miserly wine lover
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Not so fast! The age of a wine, especially port, has much to do with its oxidation rate. Why, no less a personage than Robert M. Parker, Jr. is known to tell tales of young wines so thick and dense that there are no signs of oxidation after a week. You can, of course, question the wisdom of uncorking a young port before its time, but it does stand to reason that there will be cases where you can continue to drink such a bottle for weeks, especially if recorked in some fashion as suggested above. Stated another way, slow oxidation is not always a bad thing...

Bill Klapp

bklapp@egullet.com

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  • 1 year later...

Recently we have been enjoying Ports for a variety of reasons. But given that there are just two drinkers, it takes a little while to finish a bottle.

Does Port keep opened, then corked with a stopper about as long as red wine? Longer?

Thanks

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Port lasts considerably longer as it is fortified. A regular red will taste oxidized after a day, but a port can easily last a week or two (I've known some folks who keep them open much longer, but I tend to notice a change). You can always use the gas-in-a-can to preserve it a bit longer.

But, heck, a glass or two an evening and it should be gone within a week!

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Recently we have been enjoying Ports for a variety of reasons. But given that there are just two drinkers, it takes a little while to finish a bottle.

Does Port keep opened, then corked with a stopper about as long as red wine? Longer?

Thanks

I believe the short answer is a little bit longer. The spirit (Ports are usually about 18% alc/vol - a combination of wine and spirit say brandy) helps to slow oxidation.

Vintage ports often fade quicker only because their flavour expression is based on a single vintage and they are designed to age. Non vintage ports are blends and their manufacture in large barrels for years means they have developed differently and the flavour expression lasts longer - either way the sooner the better - some books and winemakers say up to a month is acceptable, (although it well not be the port you started with) if well corked or decanted & stoppered - which should be about 3-4 weeks more than you need!

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The rule of thumb I was taught at school was pretty straightforward. Check how the bottle was closed; if it has a stopper it will keep pretty well, if it has a traditional cork it should be consumed at your earliest convenience.

Of course both of those descriptions are pretty vague... :hmmm:

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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Port keeps longer than red wine. Around a month or so, or even longer, but a lot depends on the ambient conditions, i.e. humidity etc.

As it oxidizes, the colour will change to brown and then tobacco. But before it's completely ruined you could use it to boil mushrooms (champignons, stemmed).

Add a little soy sauce (Tamari will work well), and a few drops of balsamic vinegar.

Boil till the resulting sauce is slightly thickened, and serve at room temperature.

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While other people's perspectives make interesting reading, isn't this a question you really have to answer for yourself based on the types of ports you're drinking and your personal taste preferences? To my taste, vintage ports keep much as other red wines, with older vintages keeping for a day or two if you're lucky, and the younger vintages keeping several days longer. As you can see from the previous posts though, others have different views based on their individual preferences, and/or based on the differences between the different types of ports.

Open an extra bottle, keep it in the fridge, and try a small pour every couple of days. Compare it to a fresher bottle once in awhile. You'll soon know how long port "keeps" for you, based on the type of port you buy and what you prefer to drink.

Good luck,

T.

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If it is a 'tawny' port (should say on the label) then it will last quite a long time after opening. Tawny ports are barrel aged for long periods of time and racked frequently off of the sediment which results in slow oxidation of the wine. When ready the port is blended into the bottle for sale not for long-term storage (port from different casks and different vintages are often blended). Because of the slow oxidation in the barrel, it isn't nearly as affected by oxidation after you open it and pour.

I usually keep tawny port upright after purchase and after opening just replace the stopper and keep in a cabinet in a reasonably cool place.

Vintage or Ruby ports are different. Vintage ports are bottle aged and should be decanted and drunk relatively quickly. Ruby port is similar to tawny but has not been aged nearly as long so it is younger and more prone to affects of oxidation after opening.

Stephen Bunge

St Paul, MN

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Open an extra bottle, keep it in the fridge, and try a small pour every couple of days.  Compare it to a fresher bottle once in awhile.  You'll soon know how long port "keeps" for you, based on the type of port you buy and what you prefer to drink.

Yes, although it may sound odd to some, keeping it in the fridge is the best way to keep it fresh. If you have a VacuVin or Private Preserve I usually recommend using one of those in combination with chilling.

A few years ago the wine trade newsmag Wine Business Monthly conducted its own 'freshness' trials, and found that simply chilling the wine in a fridge worked better than any other open-bottle system. Chilling slows down the bouncing oxygen molecules that interact with the wine and cause oxidation spoilage. VacuVin was second best, as I dimly recall, and they warned that the nitrogen in Private Preserve gas spray breaks down so quickly that it needs to be reapplied daily to keep a wine fresh--hardly a good investment.

I also recommend pouring yourself a scosh of your chilled port and letting the glass come up to cool room temperature, rather than waiting for the whole bottle to warm up. :unsure:

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There are three different kinds of Port:

1. Vintage dated. Designed to be aged for many years not really to be consumed young and by law must be bottled young. A vintage dated port less than ten years old will keep fine for a month at least open, and will probably improve some.

A vintage port 20 years old, I wouldn't keep open for more than maybe a few days to a week. Any older vintage port will fall apart after a few days, in my experience.

2. Non Vintage (NV). Usually sold as "Tawny", "10 yr." or "20 yr" . Follow that above rules.

3. Colheita (my personal favorite). Kept in cask not bottle, some for decades. THESE gems, having been kept in cask, will stay perfect in the opened bottle for as long as it takes to finish, and IMHO are the BEST value going in Port today. For the same $50 you pay for a young "vintage" port that you can't enjoy for twenty years, you can HAVE a 20 year old colheita ready to enjoy now! The least well known Port product, it is well worth seeking out from the few producers left.

I have the rare privelege to taste a Colheita blend bottled in 1999 for the year 2000, it was a blend of 1898, 1895, 1890 and 1886 left in cask for a century. and it was AMAZING! and frankly, the retail price of $500 was not ridiculous given when compared to bottles of vintage port.

Cheers,

Rob

"When I lived in Paris, and champagne was relatively cheap, I always enjoyed a half-bottle in the middle of the morning and another half-bottle at six or so in the evening. It did me a tremendous amount of good." - Gerald Hamilton.
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To clarify a bit about the definition of colheita. A colheita (the word means harvest in Portuguese) is a tawny port whose grapes come from a single vintage (not a blend of different vintages). The minimum by law that a colheita needs to be asged in cask is seven years, but producers often make the decision to leave the wine in the cask for longer.

Non Vintage or vintage character ports are rubies (like vintage ports) whose grapes come from a blend of different vintages and are cask aged for two or three years before bottling.

I am unclear as how you were able to taste a colheita such as the one described. Who was the producer and was the word colheita actually on the label?

over it

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Porto Rocha made the millenium blend. It was labelled as a blend of their Colheita vintages. I sold my entire allocation of 6 bottles of it!

I've had many of the Rocha Colheitas, going back to the 1933...Right now, I think their 1950 is drinking fabulous.

Thanks for the additional clarification on Colheitas, I was in a hurry to get out the door.

Cheers,

Rob

"When I lived in Paris, and champagne was relatively cheap, I always enjoyed a half-bottle in the middle of the morning and another half-bottle at six or so in the evening. It did me a tremendous amount of good." - Gerald Hamilton.
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I have a good rule of thumb give to me by Dirk Niepoort. I think we all know about the different kinds of Porto wines. So, the longer a wine has been in cask, the longer the bottle will keep open, and the longer the wine has been in bottle, the shorter the opened bottled would keep. I think it's a very good rule that is good for all styles and combinations of ageing in cask or bottle.

I hope it helps. Cheers,

Luis

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Luis, I like it. Makes perfect sense as well.

From my personal experience which is limited mainly to vintage port, I reckon it should be drunk with in 3 days. If you decant it for an evening it usually is nicer the next day for lunch/dinner. To be honest there usually isn't anything left in the decanter past that! On the odd occasion that there is something in the decanter that has been left for a couple of weeks it tends to be past it.

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Luis, I like it. Makes perfect sense as well.

From my personal experience which is limited mainly to vintage port, I reckon it should be drunk with in 3 days. If you decant it for an evening it usually is nicer the next day for lunch/dinner. To be honest there usually isn't anything left in the decanter past that! On the odd occasion that there is something in the decanter that has been left for a couple of weeks it tends to be past it.

Yes, I think it makes sense even within the vintage category, for example. A bottle of Vintage 2000 should last longer than a bottle of say a 1977, which has spent a lot more time in glass.

Cheers,

Luis

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