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Life Expectancy and Best Age to Enjoy Vintage Port

September 22, 2012
Question by: Damien, (Mobile)

Q:

Typically how long does vintage port hold and what is its optimum drinking period?

A:

Hi Damien, A few extraordinary Vintage Ports can give pleasure after a century or more if they have been well-made by a top producer and then well cellared, but as a rule count on a lifetime - a case of Vintage Port purchased for a child's christening can be expected to be drinking well when they come of age, and to continue to give pleasure throughout their lifetime.

Our winemaker, Charles Symington, discussed how Vintage Port Ages in bottle, and described the change in flavour profile over the years.  Whilst Vintage Port ages well and is enjoyable throughout its lifetime, most people find they have a preferred age range, when the flavour profile suits their preference.  On the other hand, you may find you prefer your Vintage Ports at different ages for different occasions - a young robust fruit-driven Vintage with a strong cheese or even paired with a main course meal such as game, but a very mature and more nuanced Vintage with great elegance and a long finish as a "wine for meditation" after dinner with close friends.

We suggest you try to taste Vintages at all ages in wine courses or merchants' tastings as a good way to understand these differences for yourself.  Here on The Vintage Port Site we have tried to gather tasting notes from the entire lifetime of our Ports in the Knowledge Base to help readers understand the development of the wines.  Take a look at the notes for Graham's 1945, Warre's 1963, and Dow's 1970 for good examples.  For comments regarding the extraordinary age-ability of Port, you might read the Dow's Brand Profile - James Suckling gave 98 to 96 points to wines from 1896, 1924, 1945 and 1994 when tasting them side by side!  A clear demonstration of the potential quality of Vintage Port throughout a very long life!



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