Bottle Aged Port



   
 

The main type of bottle aged Port is Vintage Port.
 
Vintage Port is the finest and rarest of all Ports, the most sought after by wine lovers, collectors and investors. It is a selection of the very best wine from a single exceptional year and represents only a very small proportion of the crop. A bottle of Vintage Port must always be stored lying down so that the cork is in contact with the wine and does not dry out.
 
Vintage port remains for only two years in wood, usually in a large vat. It is then bottled – long before it is ready to drink - and continues to age for many years or decades in bottle, gradually developing the sublime complex aromas which are the hallmark of a great mature Vintage Port. 
Vintage Port ages for many years in the bottle 
 
During the ageing process a sediment – or crust – will form in the bottle. Before serving a Vintage Port it is often necessary to decant it to separate the wine from the crust. Decanting also brings the wine in contact with the air, allowing the aromas, or ‘bouquet’, of the wine to open out after the long period during which the wine has been enclosed in the bottle.
 
Declared Vintage Port
Vintage Ports fall into two categories: ‘Declared’ Vintages and Single Quinta Vintages, sometimes also known as ‘Classic’ and ‘Non classic’ Vintages.
 
‘Declared’ Vintages are the best Vintage years which produce wines of great concentration and longevity. They are usually blended from the best produce of more than one estate. Croft’s declared Vintage Ports, although based on the wines of Quinta da Roêda, sometimes also contain wines from other top estates. Croft is one of the most famous Vintage Port houses and its declared Vintage Ports, such as the legendary 1945 and more recently the award winning Croft 1994 are among the most sought after Ports.
 
The tradition of ‘laying down’, or putting away, some bottles of Vintage Port for a child when it is born derives from the fact that a declared Vintage from one of the top houses – such as Croft, Fonseca or Taylor – will last for the child’s entire lifetime, reaching maturity when the child is old enough to appreciate it and enjoyable when he or she reaches old age. Very few wines are capable of lasting and continuing to improve for so long. This is why declared Vintage Port is regarded as the ultimate collector’s wine and is also frequently purchased as an investment.  
 
Because it is rare and demand is high, declared Vintage Port is quite expensive – although still very good value when compared with most other classic wines. Like old clarets and burgundies, older declared Vintage Ports are usually purchased at auction or from specialist wine merchants, who buy parcels of declared Vintage Port when it is released. They are the perfect wines with which to mark a special occasion.
 
Single Quinta Vintage
Single Quinta Vintage Ports are made from the best produce of a single estate in years when the wines are softer, rounder and more early maturing. Whereas a declared Vintage may take twenty or thirty years to reach maturity, Single Quinta Vintages are normally ready to drink ten to fifteen years after the harvest. Single Quinta Vintages represent excellent value for money and are an excellent choice for immediate drinking.
 
Croft’s Quinta da Roêda Vintages are among the best known Single Quinta Vintage Ports. Although they are also made in very limited quantities, they are more widely available than the declared Croft Vintages. These full bodied wines with their ripe fruitiness express the quintessential character of the Roêda estate and are the perfect finish to any meal.
 
Single Quinta Ports should be decanted in exactly the same way as declared Vintage Ports.

 

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