Dec 28

The Oldest Port I’ve Stored in my Cellar.

Quinto do Vesuvio 1990 – When I purchased this bottle all the professional reviewers were saying it was a big one….so big, in fact, that it would keep for 30 – 40 years. Well, to date, this is the oldest bottle of wine I have ever kept in my cellar. Vintage port is aged in oak casks for approximately two to two and a half years before bottling and then released for sale 3 years after production. Holding a bottle in the cellar for 24 years is certainly pushing the limits of a home storage facility.

My greatest concern was the condition of the cork. The cork in a bottle of wine is the key to a healthy wine and a measure of proper storage conditions. If the cork shrinks or decays the wine can be ruined.

1990 was the year my daughter, Elizabeth was born. In commemoration of the event I purchased a few bottles of vintage port from that year. If you follow this link you may read more about vintage port and learn about another bottle of the 1990 vintage.


Quinto do Vesuvio 1990

The notes;

Cork – The cork was in remarkably good condition. There was some evidence of the wine beginning to run a bit up the cork, but I bet this would have been fine to keep in storage for another few years.

Decant – Surprisingly little sediment! Brilliantly clear.

Nose – An overwhelming scent of stone fruit – plums and cherries.

Color – A vibrant tawny – brick tone.

Legs – Thick luscious, long legs indicating a rich, full-bodied wine.

Taste – Wow! …said everyone at the table. Really. Everyone.

We shared 3 cheeses – a Danish blue, a double cream Camembert, and a Vermont white cheddar. I loved the cheddar best. Dark and milk chocolates with nuts and caramel…and cannoli. I forgot to break out the dried cherries and toasted pistachios, but they would have been great compliments as well.

Robert Parker gave this a 93 rating way back in 1992 when he first tasted it. If memory serves, that may have been a tasting direct from the barrel. It is amazing how the professional wine critic is able to call the longevity and depth of wine, but I’d say he was spot on with this call.


Cheese, dried fruits, roasted nuts are all terrific accompaniments to a fine Porto. Some folks like to eat fresh figs while consuming Vintage Port.

Cheese is often served with port. The sharpness of the cheese is a counter-balance to the sweetness of the port. I shopped around for an aged sharp cheddar, some kind of blue mold cheese and something simple – not too sharp, sort of neutral. Three cheeses allow for different taste combinations to meld with the wine.


I don’t normally use very fine and well aged wines for cooking, but this port stirred my culinary genius and I concocted a little something special to go with the second day tasting of this port.

Chicken livers with shallots, raisin and port reduction.

Chicken livers with Port.

Soak the livers in milk over-night. Drain, rinse and season well with S&P and a touch of turmeric.

Dredge in flour and saute in whole butter. Add the sliced shallots and raisins. As the shallots begin to caramelize flash with port. – reduce and serve with crackers.


This wine was, to date, the best Vintage Port I have ever tasted and the first time I’ve ever stored a wine for nearly a quarter century!

Tasting this wine was somewhat bittersweet. To know that I purchased such a terrific bottle all those years ago, held it in my storage for almost 3 decades and then, opened the bottle to enjoy the wonder of such a rare delight, but the person with whom I most wanted to share it couldn’t be here to experience this pleasure too.


We make our choices and live our lives with all of the consequences of our decisions – for ill or for good. There is no stopping time and no turning back. It is one run from start to finish. Some live long lives and others short. Our experiences comprised of some moments filled with happiness and some others brought sadness as the year rolled by. Time may wash away some of the memories, so perhaps it is best to linger long and savor the pleasant moments. Don’t get too stuck on any of the less enjoyable events. Things can change in a short span of time and you never can tell what’s around the bend.

Here’s to looking up in the next year. Hopefully with fewer friends leaving us.

Cheers and HAPPY NEW YEAR 2018!

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    • Messi on December 29, 2017 at 10:26 am
    • Reply

    “Don’t get too stuck on any of the less enjoyable events. Things can change in a short span of time and you never can tell what’s around the bend.”

    I can not agree more!

    1. All of my brightest students tend to agree with me. 😉

    • Lawrence Kahn. DC. ND. on January 5, 2018 at 6:40 pm
    • Reply

    The port was delicious. You described it perfectly. I can taste it all over again.

    1. It was my great pleasure to share this really special bottle with you, Doc.
      This bottle of port was another that the only regret was I had not purchased more!

    • Morning on January 8, 2018 at 4:10 am
    • Reply

    Wine is life. Just like you said “Tasting this wine was somewhat bittersweet” .
    Can you imagine what we will harvest in 30 years?
    Can you believe we can insist on one same thing for 30 years?
    Maybe get through the “bitter”, then the “sweet” is more cherished more deeply.

    “Don’t get too stuck on any of the less enjoyable events. Things can change in a short span of time and you never can tell what’s around the bend.” Such a bright sentence! Thank you my brightest teacher. I love it very much!!

    1. Thank you for your comment, but I am a little unclear about the meaning of your second question.
      We will have to discuss it during your next lesson.

      You are one of my most avid blog followers and I am grateful. Thanks for your continued high praise!

    • May on January 13, 2018 at 1:03 am
    • Reply

    I’m so lucky to know you and to be your student, dear teacher Kevin. In the past few years, we not only learned Englishi skills from you, but also life wisdom which are both so valuable.
    In the last few months, I had some emotional probelms. But after I finished reading this post, I felt much better and your blog helps me to relax and clean up my heart. Thanks so much, mentor Kevin.

    1. Dear May, You heart doesn’t need any cleaning…maybe just pick-up your spirits a bit with some positive thinking and everything will be fine.

    • summer on January 13, 2018 at 1:22 am
    • Reply

    I admire your patience for holding the port for 24 years. For me, only forgetting that I this port would I be able to hold it that long.

    1. Oh, good things come to those who wait. Patience is so important.
      If you open a bottle of Vintage Port before it is fully matured you would likely be disappointed.

    • June on January 15, 2018 at 5:52 am
    • Reply

    Good wine plus delicious chicken livers shared with lover and friends, that is a wonderful thing. It also can create a good moment with memories to treasure.
    You are a person who has strong positive energy and charm of personality. You have taught us not only learning skills but also taught us a lot of truth in life. As your student, I am lucky and happy.

    1. The chicken livers with port is a wonderful combination! Sharing with loved ones is the bonus.
      Thanks for your very nice comment, June. I feel lucky to have you and all members of Team Q as my students.
      Happy New year.

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