Oct 09

More on Vintage Port

Be sure to visit this older post to learn much more about Vintage Port.

And this link for the basics of wine tasting.

In this post I will share tasting notes on a bottle of Vintage Port that I opened after an extended stay in the cellar.

Warre’s 1997. 20 years is generally a minimum number of years to age a bottle of Vintage Port prior to opening. I bought 2 bottles of this ’97 Warre’s around 2007 or 2008. So, it has only been in my cellar for a decade.

Cork – Was a bit soft with some signs of seepage, but still fully intact.
Decant -Wow! As I decanted the wine I was surprised at the bright ruby color. This tone is usually found in wines much younger than 20 years.
Nose – First on the nose was a powerful scent of alcohol, followed by cherry and a hint of tobacco leaf.
Color – Clear, vibrant ruby with very little tawny showing around the edges.
Legs – As with most Porto this wine showed thick long legs indicating a rich, full-bodied wine.
First taste – Chewy cherry/plum and a “cough-drop” finish.

2nd taste – 90 minutes later- Bigger fruit and the alcohol mellowed considerably. Long warm smooth finish.

3 days after uncorking the bottle – a thick sun-dried cherry taste comes through with a luxurious long smooth finish.

When this wine was released in 2000, Wine Spectator scored it at 94 points. I would say at 20 years the wine scores a 93 and would love to have another bottle to taste again in 5 more years. Very fine Porto!


A savory accompaniment for any Vintage Port would be a sharp cheese, like an aged cheddar, or a blue mold cheese along with some freshly roasted nuts. On the sweeter side, a few small pieces of dark chocolate and some type of dried fruit – cherry, apricot, apple can add a different taste dimension as you sip and savor the port.

The sharpness of the cheese is a counter-balance to the sweetness of the port. If you are having a Port tasting with friends shop around for an aged sharp cheddar, some type of blue mod cheese and something simple – not too sharp, sort of neutral. Three cheeses allow for different taste combinations to meld with the wine.

In classic Euro style fine dining, cheese is usually served after a meal. There are different opinions on whether to serve after the main course and before dessert or after dessert….and still others suggest cheese instead of dessert. You can follow this link to read suggested cheeses with your wine.


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Vacu-Vin is a handy tool for preserving a fine bottle of Vintage Port. I’ve used them successfully for years and they will generally hold a good seal for a couple of weeks, though it is always good to check and determine the seal is holding. Vacu-Vin is a good product and I have nothing to gain financially for saying so. It’s worth every bit of the $12 – $15 you will pay for the product.



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