Unctuous, rich and heady, Port is a hedonist’s delight. Bottles made from grapes grown in a single year, often from a “declared” vintage, are labeled Vintage Port and represent the top echelon of quality. They are some of the most long-lived, cellar-worthy expressions of fortified wines, with the staying power to last for decades.
When first released, Vintage Ports are driven by flavors of plush blackberry, plum and other dark fruits alongside plenty of baking spice and chocolate accents. Dense, heavy tannins are typically front and center, which contribute to the aging potential. With age, the rich fruit flavors morph into more nutty, savory and spicy nuances, while the tannins mellow to yield a velvety, seamless palate.
We combed through our extensive database of Ports reviewed over the past two decades to find the best bottles to drink now. Of course, availability is top of mind, and with the help of an online resource like wine-searcher.com, we assured the selections are still on store shelves.
Here are eight aged Vintage Ports that are sitting pretty in their drinking windows:
Cockburn’s 2000 Vintage Port; $90. Incredibly juicy and fruit-filled, with mixed berries leading the charge, backed by cocoa, chocolate and dried spices… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Dow’s 2000 Vintage Port; $109. This is an impressively concentrated wine, showing the hallmark Dow’s dry edge… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Fonseca 2003 Vintage Port; $104. Fonseca Vintage Ports are always among the most attractive and long-lived. This 2003 conforms magnificently to that model… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Niepoort 2007 Vintage Port; $100. An impressive, balanced wine from master winemaker Dirk van Niepoort. Chocolate and licorice flavors dominate the fruit… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Quinta do Noval 2011 Vintage Port; $110. This is a powerful, concentrated wine, full of dense tannins, ripe fruit and a rich texture… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Taylor Fladgate 1977 Vintage Port; $303. The most prominently floral wine in the vertical, but that delicacy is amply backed by plush chocolate and dried fruit flavors… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Warre’s 2011 Vintage Port; $95. A dark, black-fruited wine, with the fruit hanging off the hard tannins. The wine is dark and concentrated… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
W & J. Graham’s 2007 Vintage Port; $109.A Port for aging, as you would expect from Graham’s. The wine is dry, firm, textured, solid and dense… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW