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Keeping an Opened Bottle of Vintage Port

February 20, 2012
Question by: Phil, Delta, CA


When I open a bottle of Dow's 1991 Vintage Port I will only have small glass with a cigar once in a while.  It may take me several months to drink a full bottle. What is the best way to store it?


Hi Phil, Vintage Port has had very little exposure to oxygen during the ageing process, so when you open the bottle, its character will change with exposure to air.  This is good up to a point - hence the need to decant and let the wine breath for a little time before enjoying - but prolonged exposure to air over several days will cause the wine to lose its aromas and flavours.  This is true for any bottle-aged wine, not just Vintage Port. 

You could close the bottle after serving with its original cork or use a vacuum-style stopper, and the wine will hold for a day or two if kept in a cool place, but any longer than that you will notice a distinct degradation in quality.  We would suggest that you invite friends or family around to share this wonderful Vintage Port with you when you open it, so it can be thoroughly enjoyed at its best.  You might want to look at our articles about Decanting and Serving Vintage Port for more information about handling the wine once it has been opened.

For every day, more leisured drinking, you might consider half bottles of Vintage Port - speak with your wine merchant about sourcing those - or look at Port styles that have had more wood ageing, and so keep better in bottle after opening - up to a month or six weeks if re-corked promptly and kept in a cool cellar or fridge.  Look at either a Late Bottled Vintage if you enjoy the younger, more fresh-fruit driven flavour profile, or Tawny or Colheita styles if you prefer the flavours typical of an aged Vintage Port, such as dried fruit, nuts, caramel, spice and citrus. Dow's, Graham's, and Warre's all make these styles of Port.

Impresso em

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