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Old Ruby Port

April 19, 2012
Question by: Ian, Great Yarmouth, UK

Q:

I have a bottle of port I was given twenty years ago by a friend  who had owned it for over forty years and wondered whether it was of interest to anyone. It was bottled by John Martin of London Ltd and is labelled simply as an Old Ruby Port bottled in Oporto. It is encased in a woven straw casket and has a Martin's label. I have never heard of them and doubt it is drinkable but wondered if anyone knew of the company and what it may be worth?

A:

Hi Ian, Up until 1974 almost all Port was shipped in cask to buyers and merchants around the world who bottled for themselves or their customers, often under their own name rather than the name of the Port maker or shipper.  Only a few vintages, particularly after World War 2, were actually bottled in Oporto by the shippers themselves.  We are not familiar with this particular merchant ourselves.  A Ruby Port would have been intended for consumption in the short term, within a few years of bottling.  If the bottle has been well stored, in a cool dark place, it is possible it would be drinkable, but expect it to be cloudy at best - and quite possibly undrinkable - proceed with caution!  As Ruby Port was never meant for ageing, and the shipper is apparently unknown, it is unlikely to have any value for re-sale for the sake of the wine.



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