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Dow's 1966

December 19, 2011
Question by: Darren, Plymouth, UK

Q:

Hi, I was gifted a bottle of 1966 Dow Vintage Port last year and since then has sat upright in its presentation box in my kitchen approx 3ft away from my gas hob. This is obviously not an ideal place to keep it and would like information on how best to keep it. Secondly, how long will I be able to keep the port before it starts to deteriorate.
Thanks in advance of your reply.

A:

Hi Darren.  Please, right now, go out to the kitchen and rescue that bottle!  Put it somewhere dark, cool (12ºC give or take is preferable) and lying on its side.  When you have done that, come back to the computer and read on.

Once the bottle is laid down, check it every fews days for signs of seepage - that is, wine oozing out from under the capsule which covers the cork.  With the bottle standing upright in the heat of a kitchen for a year, there is a danger that the cork will have dried out and shrunk enough to let air in.  If there is seepage, open the wine straight away - and I am afraid the Port would likely be oxidised in this case.  If there is no seepage, your chances of the wine still being in drinkable condition are greater, but you should plan to consume it sooner rather than later.  I am afraid the conditions in the kitchen, near the cooker, will have seriously compromised your wine.

Vintage Port, like any fine wine laid down for ageing, should be stored in a cool, dark place, and laid horizontally to keep the cork moist and in good condition, to maintain the airtight seal. The ideal temperature is around 12ºC (54º F), but there is some latitude in this - as long as the temperature is steady, and not subject to sharp swings, you should be ok. You can read more about storing you Port, including suggestions about locating a good place in your home, in our article about Storing Your Port under the Enjoying Port menu tab above.

The Dow's 1966 is a superb wine - that was a very good friend to give that to you! The 1966 Vintage Ports generally were excellent, with the structure and power of fruit to age very well - see our 1966 Viticultural Report for more about the conditions and vintage generally. The Dow's 1966 has matured particularly well, as you can read in the Tasting Notes. Whilst the wine is mature and drinking well now, it does have the structure to continue to age when properly stored.



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