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A question on port.

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Bruce Hayes

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A question on port.

by Bruce Hayes » Mon Jul 03, 2006 5:08 pm

Haven't had much experience with port, other than ordering a glass in a restaurant to enjoy with my cheese plate.

For my birthday someone gave me a bottle of Cockburn's Special Reserve. Just wondering if can hang around for a while before I open. What little experience I do have with port tells me that once this is opened, it probably should be finished within a few weeks.

Any and all pointers gratefully accepted.

Thanks.
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Re: A question on port.

by Robin Garr » Mon Jul 03, 2006 5:12 pm

Bruce, I haven't seen Roy Hersh around here for a while, and he's the definitive Port Answer Guy.

As a generality, though, I'll say a Ruby Port like Cockburns will certainly last in the bottle for a few years, thanks to its sweetness and fortification. You don't have to be in a huge hurry to drink it. Ditto on keeping it in the opened bottle, where the limit will depend somewhat on your personal tolerance for oxidation, but certainly fortified wines resist deterioration better than normal-strength table wines do.
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Randy Buckner

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Re: A question on port.

by Randy Buckner » Mon Jul 03, 2006 5:26 pm

Bruce Hayes wrote:What little experience I do have with port tells me that once this is opened, it probably should be finished within a few weeks.


This is direct from a Port site, Bruce:

Port styles have various shelf lives after being opened. Re-cork all bottles immediately after serving and store in a cool place. In general, the older the port the shorter the shelf life after opening. Use this as a guide:

Vintage Port and Quinta dos Canais: should be consumed within 24 hours of opening the bottle.

Fine Ruby, Fine Tawny, Special Reserve and Anno Late Bottled Vintage: should be consumed within 5-6 weeks after opening.

Aged Tawnies: should be consumed within 5-10 days after opening.
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TimMc

Re: A question on port.

by TimMc » Tue Jul 04, 2006 12:24 am

Randy Buckner wrote:
Bruce Hayes wrote:What little experience I do have with port tells me that once this is opened, it probably should be finished within a few weeks.


This is direct from a Port site, Bruce:

Port styles have various shelf lives after being opened. Re-cork all bottles immediately after serving and store in a cool place. In general, the older the port the shorter the shelf life after opening. Use this as a guide:

Vintage Port and Quinta dos Canais: should be consumed within 24 hours of opening the bottle.

Fine Ruby, Fine Tawny, Special Reserve and Anno Late Bottled Vintage: should be consumed within 5-6 weeks after opening.

Aged Tawnies: should be consumed within 5-10 days after opening.


Randy,

As a person who enjoys a nice cigar now and again with a glass of port, I really appreciate the information you just posted.


Thanks!
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Re: A question on port.

by Randy Buckner » Tue Jul 04, 2006 1:04 am

As a person who enjoys a nice cigar now and again with a glass of port....


Count me on that list as well. I prefer an LBV myself -- strong enough to stand up to a cigar -- you don't have to worry about overwhelming the subtle nuances of an old vintage Port.
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Re: A question on port.

by Paul Winalski » Tue Jul 04, 2006 1:53 am

Bruce,

With the exception of vintage Port (which really needs at least 20 years in the cellar, and will dramatically repay the investment of time), most Port is ready to drink upon release. As Robin points out, the fortification and sweetness mean that there's no hurry to open them--they won't go bad if kept, but they won't really improve, either.

Once opened, the fortification insures that there is no danger of Port spoiling and turning to vinegar. You can keep an opened bottle for weeks or months and it won't go bad. But a vintage Port or complex Tawny will lose some of its more subtle aromatic nuances after a few days. Finishing that bottle of Cockburn's within a few weeks is a wise course of action. There's no hurry in opening it, though.

Salut,

-Paul W.
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Re: A question on port.

by Sam Platt » Tue Jul 04, 2006 10:48 am

Bruce, My palate is admittedly nowhere near as refined as Roy and others, but I have kept 25 year old VP's for a full week after uncorking with no noticeable oxidation, or deterioration. I have consumed ruby and tawny Port over the course of a couple of months after opening. I will say that the tawny Port was getting a bit gamey after five, or six weeks.
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Oliver McCrum

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Re: A question on port.

by Oliver McCrum » Wed Jul 05, 2006 2:05 pm

Sam Platt wrote:Bruce, My palate is admittedly nowhere near as refined as Roy and others, but I have kept 25 year old VP's for a full week after uncorking with no noticeable oxidation, or deterioration. I have consumed ruby and tawny Port over the course of a couple of months after opening. I will say that the tawny Port was getting a bit gamey after five, or six weeks.


My experience is different; I try to use mature Vintage Port up that night, as I would any bottle-aged fine wine, or at most the following night. But true Tawnies, as they are oxidatively aged anyway, seem to keep much better in the bottle. Even then I wouldn't leave a good Colheita for five or six weeks.

I never order by-the-glass VP in restaurants for that reason, I prefer a good Tawny.
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Re: A question on port.

by TimMc » Wed Jul 05, 2006 10:24 pm

Randy Buckner wrote:
As a person who enjoys a nice cigar now and again with a glass of port....


Count me on that list as well. I prefer an LBV myself -- strong enough to stand up to a cigar -- you don't have to worry about overwhelming the subtle nuances of an old vintage Port.


Often, it depends upon the cigar I'm having. The bolder the cigar, the bolder the port.

My favorites run along the lines of Prager Port Works, Quady, Yalumba, Fonseca or Cockburn.

Tawnt or Ruby...it's all good :)

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