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Looking for Good Port


bonaire
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Veering off the wine path for a bit, I need recommendations for a good bottle of port. I'm looking to spend around $100 (if one can get good port for that amount). I don't drink the stuff, never have, so I'm completely ignorant about what might be good. Any suggestions the peanut gallery may have would be very welcome!

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Veering off the wine path for a bit, I need recommendations for a good bottle of port. I'm looking to spend around $100 (if one can get good port for that amount). I don't drink the stuff, never have, so I'm completely ignorant about what might be good. Any suggestions the peanut gallery may have would be very welcome!

A perfectly appropriate question given the pending bad weather we are expecting ("Any port in a storm") :P

(Oh, come on... If I hadn't said it, someone else certainly would have, you can't pass up a golden opportunity like that, can you?)

Okay - without going into an entire Port primer, if you are willing to spend around $100, then you can certainly get a lovely top vintage bottling from any of the best Port houses. Off the top of my head, my first choice (based upon the inventory of my own store) would be the 1994 Dow. 1994 was a great vintage, Dow's reputation is sterling (stylistically, on the drier side of Port, more wine-like). These things begin to drink their best at seven years after the date on the bottle, so this bottling is six years into it's best period of drinkability.

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You also may want to consider an Aged Tawny, such as Taylor Fladgate's 20-year-old or Fonseca's 20. These are around $50-60 actually, but have some stylistic differences/advantages to vintage Ports. For $100, you might be able to find the Taylor's 40, though that's rare and may not even be in this market.

Vintage Ports are intended to be aged for decades (Joe's 1994, from my experience, might be just beginning to open up, but then, I like mine young, within 5-6 years of vintage, or else very old - 20 or more years). Aged tawnies are already aged for us, and are intended to be drunk shortly after bottling. They also can remain open for several days (refrigerated), while vintage ports tend to disintegrate and should be drunk up upon opening.

I wrote a piece last summer for the San Francisco Chronicle's Wine section on aged tawny - it is here. If you happen to read DC magazine, I have a piece on single quinta ports in this month's issue; I'll be posting a longer piece on my Internet newsletter within a few days.

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Does anyone have any inexpensive port recommendations? I've enjoyed the Fonseca Bin No. 27 which can be had for $20 and under, but most decent port seems to cost a good bit more. Anything else good at that level? Any stellar recommendations for $50 and under or does port necessarily cost a good bit?

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Does anyone have any inexpensive port recommendations? I've enjoyed the Fonseca Bin No. 27 which can be had for $20 and under, but most decent port seems to cost a good bit more. Anything else good at that level? Any stellar recommendations for $50 and under or does port necessarily cost a good bit?

For a good and moderately priced port, I usually go with LBVs. I think Taylor Fladgate is one of the best (less fruity than the Fonseca 27) and is a good value. (I can't remember now how much it costs, but I'm pretty sure it's well under $50.) The Taylor Tawnys of stated age (of 10 or 20 yrs., older are pricier) are also excellent values.

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Does anyone have any inexpensive port recommendations? I've enjoyed the Fonseca Bin No. 27 which can be had for $20 and under, but most decent port seems to cost a good bit more. Anything else good at that level? Any stellar recommendations for $50 and under or does port necessarily cost a good bit?

I second the above - LBV's vary in price and quality according to the house, but should also be around $20. Taylor's and Fonseca's 10 year olds are around $30 or less (I bought the Taylor's at Total Wine in McLean for $24 recently), and the 20's are around $50.

Port is inherently expensive; the oldest and best vineyards are on steep stone terraces that cannot be machine harvested. The aged tawnies spend decades in cask and therefore become even more precious before bottling. And demand of course keeps the prices up.

For a really good Port that isn't really a Port, look to Australia. The Jonesy Old Tawny Port retails for about $10 (at The Vineyard in McLean; I've seen it at MacArthur, too) and is loads of fun. Not even remotely comparable to the Taylor's 10 year old, but still delicious.

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Port is inherently expensive...

To make, perhaps, but not to buy. Considering the quality and consistency of the product compared to other wines, I've always thought that Port is rather inexpensive. As we all know, you can spend $50 on a Bordeaux or a Burgundy or some New World wine, and often it's the luck of the draw as to what ends up in your glass. Not so with Port, as long as you know some very basic rules. The same applies to other "house produced" wines, like Sherry, Madeira, or Champagne. In terms of pleasure-for-dollar, I think Port is one of the cheapest wines on the market.

Enjoyed your article in the SF Chronicle, by the way.

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To make, perhaps, but not to buy. Considering the quality and consistency of the product compared to other wines, I've always thought that Port is rather inexpensive. As we all know, you can spend $50 on a Bordeaux or a Burgundy or some New World wine, and often it's the luck of the draw as to what ends up in your glass. Not so with Port, as long as you know some very basic rules. The same applies to other "house produced" wines, like Sherry, Madeira, or Champagne. In terms of pleasure-for-dollar, I think Port is one of the cheapest wines on the market.

Enjoyed your article in the SF Chronicle, by the way.

Thanks. You're right of course in terms of value and bang for the buck. I was quick with the generalization sensing the preferred comfort-price range of the original poster.

That said, having become thoroughly addicted to Port, I wish I could afford to buy more of it. Saw Taylor's 30 year old tawny on a restaurant list tonight for I think $25 or so a glass - was tempted, if only because the place was new enough that the bottle shouldn't have been sitting open too long! :lol:

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mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm Love Tawny Port. I bought a bottle of 20 yr old Taylor Fladgate for friends while visiting them over New Years, we ste to it right away. I got home and bought a 10 yr old Dow and it's nearly gone - just me. Just a nip before going to bed, right?

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