Ask The Expert

Question subject

Date Asked

Vintage Port on a Budget

November 3, 2011
Question by: James, Bristol, UK


Hello, I recently went to Le Caprice with my father and tried my very first vintage port, a little late at 21, which was a Grahams 1983. I thought it was fantastic and am now looking to buy a couple of bottles. Could you reccomend a Port around the £40 mark that would be a good alternative? the £70 bottles available are a bit of a stretch for me.


Hi James, Lucky you to have enjoyed such a wonderful Port as Graham's 1983 for your first taste!  But prices on mature ports can be daunting, alas.  Here are some ideas for enjoying Vintage Port on a budget: 

For near term consumption, look at Quinta Vintage Ports - for example Graham's classic declared Vintages are built around the wines from Quinta dos Malvedos.  The Quinta dos Malvedos 1999 Vintage Port is currently available and should be within your budget for a single bottle.  Similarly look at Quinta da Senhora da Ribeira or Quinta do Bomfim to get an affordable taste of Dow's, or Quinta da Cavadinha from Warre's.  Most of these Quinta Ports are not released to market until they have around 10 years of age on them - we hold them in our own cellars here in Portugal and release them only when we think they are ready for drinking.

You might also look for our smaller niche brands - as they do not have the high profile in the marketplace, they do not command the same kinds of prices, even when a bit older - look for Smith Woodhouse, Quarles Harris and Gould Campbell.  When top critics review all the Ports declared in any given year, they frequently remark on the extraordinary value for money these brands represent.  These wines are made by the same winemaking team, led by Charles Symington and his father Peter before him, as the big brands so the quality is just as high.

For classic Vintage Port, the best thing to do is plan ahead:  buy Vintage Ports on release, and plan on laying them down.  The release price is usually the lowest price at which the wine will ever be available.  If you do not have suitable storage, many top wine merchants will offer bonded storage at a modest fee, to ensure your wines age in optimum conditions.  It is also possible to buy older Vintages at auction or through specialist wine merchants, read more about all these alternatives in our article about Purchasing Vintage Port.

Finally, there are also several other styles of Port you might try which have a taste profile similar to a young vintage, but are widely available at prices well within your budget.  Look for Crusted Port - which is a blend of wines from two or three vintages which have been aged in wood for three years or more then bottled without filtration - just llike Vintage.  The bottles are then held and aged by us in Gaia for three years before being released to market.  Although ready to drink on purchase, Crusted Port will also mature in bottle for some years like a Vintage, and will throw a crust and need decanting when served.  Another choice is Late Bottled Vintage - or LBV - which is a wine from a single Vintage aged 4 to 6 years in casks and then bottled after a light filtration.  This will be ready to drink when purchased and does not need decanting.  Finally, a special word about Graham's Six Grapes, which is a reserve Ruby port blended from the wines left after our Vintage Ports have been blended, and has all the sweet, rich power of a very young top vintage port. 

Impresso em

We use cookies to make sure we give you the best experience on our website. We do not store any personal information.

Cookies Usage

This website uses cookies so that we can provide you with the best user experience. Some of these cookies are necessary for the website to work.

Other cookies perform functions like recognizing you each time you visit the site or helping our team to understand which parts of the site you find more interesting and useful.

We do not store any personal information.

If you are happy with the use of cookies on the The Vintage Port Site website, please click on the "I Agree" button.