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Storage of Open Bottles

July 7, 2011
Question by: Donald, Chicago, IL USA

Q:

After opening a bottle of Port how many days is it still good enough to drink and how should it be stored?

A:

Vintage Port is best consumed within a day or so of opening - this wine has been aged in a bottle, and therefore the exposure to oxygen changes the character of the wine - this is why we decant a Vintage Port - but too much oxygen, e.g. leaving the bottle open a few days, will cause the wine to lose its aromas and flavours.  If you are unable to enjoy the full bottle with your friends the first night, re-cork it securely and keep it in a dark cool place.  Using a system like a Vacu-Vin (tm) will help, but the wine really should be enjoyed within a day or two at most.

Here's a reliable tip:  look at the cork.  If it is a classic cork that is removed with a corkscrew, the wine should be consumed within a couple days as described above.  Most non-vintage Ports use a T-shaped stopper cork e.g. Tawny, LBV, Six Grapes, and this is a sign that the wine can be kept a few weeks.  Always store in a cool dark location to preserve colour, aroma and flavours.

Dominic Symington once commented to a group of visitors that he is puzzled by the desire to save opened wine for an extended period of time.  In his view, wine should be enjoyed at the peak of freshness with lots of friends and family. 



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