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Old Bottle of 1927

May 23, 2012
Question by: Eric, San Jose, CA, USA

Q:

My great-aunt just passed away and tucked away amongst her belongings was a 1927 Hoopers Port, unopened. What is the best way to ensure this bottle, which is very much intact, retains its drinkability and its value? And do you have any guidance or opinion on its drinkability or its value? If we're going to open it, do you have any recommendations?

A:

Hi Eric, We hope your great-aunt had that bottle tucked away lying horizontally in some place cool and dark!  1927 was a great Vintage - Michael Broadbent rates it as an overall 5 star year, "the best between 1912 and 1935."  Our own records from the guest books at Dow's Quinta do Bomfim describe the harvest conditions and the wines we made that year as excellent:

In the Quintas and other good districts, grapes were exceptionally far advanced at the end of July; during August they ripened more slowly, but without any serious check, and they are today just about correct for the time of year.  Vintage on 3rd October?  Quantity is not abundant, but condition so far is excellent, promising good wine, but less than average yield (Sept 7-9th 1927 Maurice Symington)

Saw the samples at Pinhão.  1927s and Quinta wines excellent.  (Dec 1927 Maurice Symington)

If it has been well-stored, it could be a real pleasure, and worth opening in any case.  Read our advice about Decanting and Serving Vintage Port, paying particular attention to the notes for wines over 40 years old - the key points being you will need to decant only 30 minutes before you plan to enjoy the Port, and do not be put off by any initial off-odour - that is perfectly natural on such old wines and if the wine is in fundamentally good condition, should clear away after 20 minutes or so.  You should also take a look at another Q&A about handling corks that appear fragile, just in case!

Hoopers is one of a half dozen brand names used over the past 50 years or more by Real Companhia Velha (as the firm is now known within Portugal), so this is not a Symington wine and we are not in a position to offer you tasting notes or further information on this particular bottle.

Symington Family Estates are not active in the secondary market for Port, but as a general rule, only Ports from top producers and top years are sought in the secondary market, and you will have to satisfy any potential broker or buyer that the wine has been well-stored.  Your best bet is to consult a local specialist wine merchant, alternatively, seek guidance from one of the auction houses that routinely handle fine wines, such as Bonham's, Christie's or Sotheby's



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