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How Long to Store Port?

September 25, 2012
Question by: Rui (Mobile)

Q:

For how long should I store a bottle of Port?

A:

Hi Rui, Depends on what style of Port you have.  If it is Vintage then it can be stored in good cellar conditions for a lifetime and will reward you whenever you do decide to open and enjoy it.  You might want to consult our article about the Lifecycle of Vintage Port in Bottle to learn more about how the flavour profile develops after years of storage.

Other styles of Port are bottled for nearer term consumption.  Of the Ruby styles, Crusted Port, a blend of Ports from two or three vintages bottled without filtration and then aged in bottle in our own cellars for three years before release to market, can age a few more years in your own cellar, but it is released ready to enjoy and is not intended for prolonged ageing.  Graham's Crusted Port and Dow's Crusted Port are good examples of this increasingly rare style of Port.  Similarly Warre's Bottle-Aged Late Bottled Vintage, is released to market ready to enjoy but a few years in your own cellar will not impair the quality.

These three styles will benefit from careful decanting when you are ready to serve them.

Late Bottled Vintage, Reserve Ruby, Ruby, all Tawny styles including Colheitas, and White Ports are all released to market ready to enjoy and will not improve with ageing.  If you should discover an old bottle in your cellar, it will be worth opening, as under good cellar conditions they can hold their quality for some years, but fundamentally these wines are meant to be enjoyed within a year or two of purchase.  All of these styles of Port do not require decanting and may be served directly from bottle when opened.



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