Ask The Expert

Question subject

Date Asked

1985 Vintage Port

September 25, 2012
Question by: Davinia, Durham, UK

Q:

i have a bottle of 1985 Sandeman's Port unopened and un-damaged, is it worth any value?

A:

Hi Davinia, It certainly would be worth opening and enjoying with your friends and family.  1985 was a great, classic Vintage year characterised by full-bodied wines with concentrated flavours, and if the bottle has been well-cellared in cool, dark conditions it should be drinking beautifully now, or you can continue to hold it in cellar for the right occasion.  This age range, 25 to 30 years, is Charles Symington's personal favourite stage in the development of a Vintage Port in bottle.  Take a look at our advice about decanting and serving your Vintage Port.

If you were thinking of trying to sell your bottle, be aware that you will have to demonstrate to any broker or potential buyer that the wine has been well stored and therefore likely to be in good condition.  You should contact a specialist wine merchant who is familiar with the secondary market to help you with this, or an auction house familiar with fine wines, such as Bonham's, Christie's or Sotheby's.

Another alternative to the auction house route is a private sale to a keen port lover. There are two internet chat forums devoted to Port: The Port Forum, which is UK based, and For The Love of Port, which is based in the USA. Both have a thoroughly international following, however. Registration is free on both sites

On The Port Forum, post your query in the Port Conversations chat room. If you take a look, there are a number of threads like this already posted, with members offering advice re how the wines are drinking, price levels, etc. Interest in buying is usually expressed via the private mail function on each site, rather than publicly in the thread.

On For The Love of Port, go to the chat thread Port & Madeira Marketplace to post your message – and do read the Marketplace Disclaimer notice.

Post a full description of the bottle, including exact wording on the label, describe the fill level of the bottle, the condition of the capsule and bottle generally (e.g. signs of leakage or staining)  and all the information you can about when and where the wine was acquired, and very importantly, how and where it has been stored. If you have photos, you can post them, or send an email to the moderator asking for assistance, and they will add the photo into the thread.

Both of these forums are very friendly and helpful places, and the members are very knowledgeable and will offer candid advice. Good luck.



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