Question on Port

Discussion in 'Officers' started by devexwarrior, Apr 28, 2008.

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  1. I have just recieved a rather pleasant bottle of Port for my birthday-however it is a "Crusted" port and decanting is required.

    Is there a specific knack for decanting or just "pour carefully"?

    Is the shelf life of port reduced in a clear decanter (unlikely to last that long before drinking but curious anyway)?

  2. in_the_cheapseats

    in_the_cheapseats LE Moderator

    Chuck it in and let it stand.

    Pour carefully once it has settled. Mind the dregs at the end of the bottle.

    That's it.

    Oh and enjoy :D :D
  3. Decanting port
    You may find some bottles of vintage port without labels. Sometimes there may be a hard wax capsule covering the cork that will have the name of the port house and vintage stamped on it. If not, the cork will always bear the name and vintage. Whichever the case, it's important to verify the customer's choice with this information before or after decanting.

    Ideally, the bottle should be stood up for 24 hours before decanting to allow sediment to fall, although this is seldom practical in a restaurant. If the bottle has no label, a white paint mark may have been drawn on the bottle. This will indicate what is "up", with the sediment lying opposite. Bring the bottle carefully from the cellar and place in a port cradle or bottle-holder.

    Look for signs of seepage around the cork. A sticky, dark residue of expelled port may indicate that it has been stored poorly in an area of fluctuating temperature. The cork has been pushed back and forth by the liquid expanding in a warm environment and contracting in a cool environment. This may have caused slight premature ageing of the port due to oxidation. You should not buy port that shows this symptom, and if it has developed while it has been in your care, consider alternative storage.

    Wherever you conduct the decanting process make sure all your mise en place is prepared. This will include a clean decanter, candle, possibly a decanting funnel with clean muslin or fine wine mesh, corkscrew, tasting glass, side plate to catch any debris and damp service cloth for wiping the neck of the bottle.

    Hard wax capsules may need to chipped away to reveal the head of the cork, which should be done away from customers as it can be messy.

    As if lighting a stage for a performance, light the candle on your guridon before you start. This brings the attention of other diners to the decantation and adds to the sense of occasion.

    Remove any lead capsule from the neck of the bottle and wipe clean with the cloth. Corks from very old bottles can be quite crumbly, especially at the last half-centimetre where the port has been in contact, so keep your side plate under the neck when extracting the cork to catch any pieces. If any pieces are thought to have fallen inside, use the funnel to strain the port during decanting. Coffee filters or similar fine-grained filters are not recommended as they can take too much flavour from the port.

    At this point a small tasting of the port by the sommelier may be necessary. Check for clarity and hue variation. Healthy, mature vintage ports should have a wonderfully bright mahogany-tinged rim with a ruby to purple/black centre.

    Slowly and steadily pour the port into the decanter using the candle as illumination through the bottle neck to observe the sediment.

    Some port bottles are made out of very dark impenetrable black glass, designed to protect the port from decades of ageing. In this case, use the funnel as well as the candle. Stop decanting when sediment is observed moving closer to the bottle neck or when deposit is seen in the funnel.

    It's possible to open port using port tongs if you feel the cork is too fragile to be removed successfully. The tongs must be heated until red-hot and then clamped around the neck of the bottle below the cork and above the shoulder of the bottle for one to two minutes.

    Remove the tongs and apply a small wet towel that has been dipped in iced water to the same area. The rapid change in temperature should cause the neck to crack and break cleanly.

    On a personal note, I always decant port directly into my stomach. It saves so much palaver!
  4. Where the fcuk did you copy that from?? I guess the last line wasnt copied though!!!!
  5. So exactly how old is this bottle of port?

    I only ask as I have just been given a bottle of port of exactly the same vintage as me (1960) and I have no idea if it is even drinkable.

    I think I might leave it until 2010 and drink it on my 50th Birthday but was wondering if it was worth waiting or should I just neck it on the weekend?
  6. Is the shelf life of port reduced in a clear decanter (unlikely to last that long before drinking but curious anyway)?[/quote]

    Once the bottle is opened you must treat it (and drink it) with the shelf life similar to any other wine, fortified or not. I tend to thus work on the principle that it goes off quicker than milk on a warm day :D
  7. I always finds its best to crack the seal in a confined space with several friends and liberally decant ( in turn) to each individual directly into stomachs- hope that helps !
  8. cpunk

    cpunk LE Moderator

    Leave it to stand for a day or so, carefully open it, decant it a few hours before you're intending to drink it, leave it to stand again until the last possible moment and then get it down your neck. Following these procedures I had a semi-religious experience on New Year's Eve with a bottle of Taylor's 1927 vintage which I'd been given (even though it did show some signs of leakage from around the cork). I shall shortly be doing something similar with a bottle of 1908.
  9. Bought a 60 year old bottle for my Dads 60th last year. It still isn't open, but I look forwards to doing the honours when I next get the chance. Watch me go, I'm planning on drinking the lot, seeing as how he no longer drinks!!!!!
  10. Depends upon what it is - 1960 wasn't one of the greatest years, but it was still a very good one. I once picked up a case of Warre's and have opened three, the last about two years ago: they were all surpassingly delicious, though I can't reasonably expect no disappointment at all. But if yours is from one of the top houses you should be OK (Dow, Graham and Taylor were all excellent).
  11. It is a Taylor, so worth waiting then.

    Alternate plan of course is to drink this one and then buy some more. :D
  12. Crusted port really needs filtering through muslin as even with a steady hand you will not get all the bits out unless you leave about a third left in the bottle, which would be a crime...

    Worth doing though - crusted port is the nectar of the gods IMHO

    (don't throw the crusty bits away BTW - traditionally eaten on toast!)
  13. Fine, if you don't mind flogging the house! I shudder to think what a '60 Taylor would cost these days, though Christie's guru Michael Broadbent rates it as 'only' ***(*) out of a possible five, and drinking till 2015 or so. He describes the last one opened as "still sweet, fleshy but 'hot', peppery and alcoholic" - as good a summary of my missus as I could hope for! :D

    Finally, Steven me boy, no amateur du vin would ever be heard to speak of an "alternate" plan when what he means is, of course, "alternative". Dear me, what's the Mess coming to these days? :wink:
  14. Again, Mr D, let me have its identity and I may be able to help - there were a few excellent 75s, but overall it was a modest vintage, I'm afraid.
  15. I have a 1970 Warre's - drinkable or not?