The Holiday Season Without Vintage Port? Unthinkable, Dear Fellow!...
December 21, 2001 1:40 AM   Subscribe

The Holiday Season Without Vintage Port? Unthinkable, Dear Fellow!... But what vintage? I suggest the year you were born. Find out what your Vintage Port was like; how it's drinking now and what it says about your particular harvest (More inside)
posted by MiguelCardoso (23 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Fully mature, but well cellared(...) will be perfect for many decades to come

That's what it says about my particular vintage, 1955. So select the year of your birth in "Vintage Search" and get your own fruity diagnosis, along with weather details and other surprises.

The problem with Vintage Port is, of course, the price... But, if price were no object, here, deep in Port country, would be the ideal place to drink it.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 1:48 AM on December 21, 2001


Small harvest

That's getting a bit personal!
posted by stuporJIX at 2:20 AM on December 21, 2001

Exceptionally dry, lacking freshness and past it's high point.

Great site, Miguel. Two years ago if you'd have offered me a port I would have told you I can't stand the stuff. Then a friend came back from a visit to Portugal with a truckload of decent bottles and I haven't looked back since. Here's to a port drenched Christmas!
posted by dlewis at 2:25 AM on December 21, 2001

They skipped my birth year entirely. Apparently 1973 was only good for disco, and my parents.
posted by headspace at 2:28 AM on December 21, 2001

The good '75's will grow old gracefully and are in good shape. They are elegant and well balanced but not big.

I've got one somewhere. I think its at my Dad's, so I'll have something to hunt for over the festive stay at the old's house. Thanks for the reminder Miguel.
posted by davehat at 2:33 AM on December 21, 2001

Headspace - they skipped 1971 too..... Anyone have any idea why?
posted by brettski at 5:14 AM on December 21, 2001

Headspace and brettski: the truly magnificent years are "general declarations" - all the Port houses declare a "vintage year", meaning the harvest is exceptional. This only happens two or three times a decade and are the years that really count. Then there are partial declarations, when Port houses disagree and only some declare the year's wine worth the Vintage label.

Port houses' reputations stand on the reliability of their declaring policy, so the top 30 houses will only commit to a Vintage year when they're absolutely sure the wine will be outstanding.
If they make a mistake, the market punishes them severely.
Then there are years - I'm afraid 1971 and 1973 are among them - when the harvest is so poor not even the smaller and disreputable Port houses declare. The wine is still very good, of course, but ages in a cask, as most Port does(Vintage Port being the only one which ages in the bottle), and is then bottled as LBV(late bottled vintage), "colheita"(single harvest), "crusted", "tawny" or any of the other many qualities of Port.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:00 AM on December 21, 2001


A classic Vintage, with great balance, good structure, and long-lived wines. One of the absolute finest Vintage Ports of the last 50 years. Declared by all the major houses.

not my year of birth, but the year of vintage of my port, bought before my birth by my maternal grandfather. better open another bottle this xmas!

mmmm, porty. *smug grin*
posted by asok at 6:28 AM on December 21, 2001

sorry about all the page breaks, i am a bit spaced out!
posted by asok at 6:29 AM on December 21, 2001

There really is nothing like sitting in front of a fire in a leather club chair, snow coming down outside, enjoying a fine port and a five-dollar cigar. I've managed to do it once in my life (Christmas Eve Eve, 1998, Denver). I will never forget the feeling, it was richly Victorian.

Bravo on the link, Miguel.
posted by UncleFes at 7:00 AM on December 21, 2001

Any idea how the 2000 ports are turning out? I'm thinking of buying a couple for my son (along with a couple of other reds that will age well) and laying them down for his graduation from Harvard in 2022.
posted by UncleFes at 7:04 AM on December 21, 2001

Ah, vintage port! Nectar of the gods! Miguel, you have made my day with this link.


A monumental Vintage of legendary proportions that needs no introduction. One of the 20th Century's finest. A Vintage Port against which all others are judged. Declared by all the major Port houses.

posted by briank at 7:42 AM on December 21, 2001

I took the fabled wines class at Cornell (well, at least semi-fabled) and when we did our week on ports, sherry, etc. The professor mentioned that it's a great (although a bit bourgeois) gift when people have a child. buy an immature vintage port from their birth the time they're old enough to drink, it'll be fabulous.
posted by chacal at 7:45 AM on December 21, 2001

If you are looking for a bottle of port in your favorite wine shop here in the states, keep an eye out for this inporter's label. They bring in the good stuff.
posted by machaus at 7:57 AM on December 21, 2001

wow, thank you.

1974: Drinking now, although may appear somewhat light.

I have a bottle that my father bought the year I was born, which I was supposed to have gotten on my 21st birthday, but my mother had forgotten about it. I've been holding onto it for a couple of years, not sure whether to drink it, trying to imagine a good occassion. perhaps I will find one soon....
posted by epersonae at 8:39 AM on December 21, 2001

My dad gave me a vintage port on my 21st birthday, though he gave me a 70 and I was born in 71. I got hooched with a buddy one night and we drained most of the bottle, along with about a half a pound of stinky stilton. (Half A Pound Of Stinky Stilton is a good name for a Holiday Inn bar band by the way). When next I saw him I told him about the incident and he was somewhat less than non-plussed.

I do enjoy a good Port now, though. Here's a good Port tip: If you are hanging out with a bunch of snooty Port drinkers, relaxing on overstuffed chairs and hemming and hawing like John Houseman, take a moment to pull out some surgical tubing from the pocket of your smoking jacket, and yell at the top of your lungs: "PORT BONG! PORT BONG!"

Port guys love that.

Also, a good way to enahnce the flavor of your Port is to enjoy it with some Backwoods Cheroots, awesomely trashy cigarillos which resemble pre-chewed Slim Jims (The picture's on that page a ways down, just scroll on down, stopping briefly at the Amish Cigars).
posted by Kafkaesque at 8:52 AM on December 21, 2001

woah! What happened with the br thingys?
posted by Kafkaesque at 8:53 AM on December 21, 2001

I'm genuinely gutted. I wasn't born in a vintage year. That probably explains a lot.
posted by RobertLoch at 9:13 AM on December 21, 2001

Mature now, but the best...will age well for years to come.

Let us hope....
posted by rushmc at 12:17 PM on December 21, 2001

Backwoods smokes! Chewy and delicious. And they come in a wonderful to fool with aluminum-foil lined packet. Suh-weet.

And you can light 'em!
posted by UncleFes at 12:25 PM on December 21, 2001

I would never waste vintage port by drinking it while smoking a cigar. Not that I don't enjoy a good cigar, but you want to be able to taste what you're drinking. Stilton is also probably too strong a cheese for good port, though I've never tried the combination.
posted by briank at 12:51 PM on December 21, 2001

Nah, briank, it's the flux of tastes and the interaction between the two that makes the difference. The entire sensory picture. Smoke scores the tastebuds, the port soothes them.
posted by UncleFes at 12:55 PM on December 21, 2001

...and the Jasco finishes the job.
posted by Kafkaesque at 1:15 PM on December 21, 2001

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