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Splash Mark on Vintage Bottles

June 22, 2012
Question by: Leo, Staten Island, USA

Q:

I have heard that all vintage port bottles should have a smudge mark on the bottle to aid the rotation process.  I just received a magnum bottle of Dow's 1977 Vintage Port as a gift, that does not have a mark.  Should I be concerned ??

A:

Hi Leo, What a wonderful gift to receive a Magnum of Dow's 1977!  It is a beautiful wine, drinking well now but with life ahead if well cellared

Yes, we do normally mark all our Vintage Ports with a white splash mark - this is to indicate which side is uppermost during storage, so that when you pour, you can try to continue to keep that side uppermost in an effort to not disturb any sediment that might still be clinging to the opposite side of the bottle.  It is possible however, that this mark has worn away in handling.  When we lay down bottles for ageing here in our own cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia, we do not label the individual bottles, only the bin in which they are stored.  When we are getting ready to ship them, we remove the bottles and gently wipe off any dust before affixing the labels on the "splashed" side of the bottle.  In this process it is possible the splash mark may have been wiped or washed away, or the label may have been affixed over it.  If your bottle was purchased from a reputable wine merchant, we would not be concerned about this.  Enjoy your Port!



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