Port round-up: my guide to the best readily available Ports

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Port round-up: my guide to the best readily available Ports

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Port is one of the most seasonal drinks of all. And we’re in peak Port-drinking season right now. I drink quite a bit of Port – all year round – and I reckon that if you are a Port fan, these are happy days. Quality across the board is pretty good, and the cheaper wines have got quite a bit better of late. Here’s my round-up of some of the easy to find Ports on the market.

The two giants in the Port world – the Symingtons and the Taylor Fladgate Partnership (Quinta & Vineyard Bottlers Vinhos SA) – supply most of the main supermarkets with Port. They are both currently doing a good job.

I’ve divided these Ports into four categories. Reserve Ruby represents the most affordable style, and these are increasingly good buys, rich in fruit. Then we have the staple of the vintage style – Late Bottled Vintage. These are ready to drink, made in a fruit-forward vintage style, but with longer in cask before bottling, and they can be pretty smart wines. Then Vintage, which includes the Single Quinta wines. This is where things get pretty serious. And finally Tawny: a very different style, aged for a long time in casks, with less emphasis on fruit and more the complexity that comes from ageing in barrel. Don’t be afraid to serve tawnies a bit chilled: it can really help them.

 

Reserve Ruby

Marks & Spencer Finest Reserve Port NV Douro, Portugal
20% alcohol
£12.99 Marks & Spencer
Made by Taylors. Very sweet and rich with smooth berry fruits, some caramel and a hint of pepper. An attractive sweeter style. 87/100

Taylors First Estate Reserve Port NV Douro, Portugal
20% alcohol
£12 widely available
Sweet, vibrant and berryish with nice grip. This is a lovely fruity Port with brightness and sweetness. 90/100

Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference Special Reserve Port NV Douro, Portugal
20% alcohol
£10 Sainsbury’s
Made by the Symingtons. Sweet and a bit appley, with raspberry and spice notes. Juicy and herby. Unusual. 84/100

Noval Black Port NV Douro, Portugal
19.5% alcohol
£13.19 Ocado
Beautifully packaged, this is sweetly aromatic with lovely raspberry, cherry andplum fruit. Sweet and quite silky with a nice rounded texture and lovely smoothness. Brooding and appealing. 89/100

 

LBV (late-bottled vintage)

Croft Late Bottled Vintage Port 2009 Douro, Portugal
20% alcohol
£10.99 Majestic, multibuy price £9.89
Very sweet with lovely lush black cherry, blackberry and plum fruit. This has a delicious core of intense fruit. 90/100

Waitrose Late Bottled Vintage Port 2010 Douro, Portugal
20% alcohol
£10.99 Waitrose
Made by the Symingtons, this is really lovely. It’s direct and focused with bright cherry and plum fruit. Not too sweet, with nice structure and lovely floral fruitiness. 90/100

Tesco Finest Late Bottle Vintage Port 2010 Douro, Portugal
20% alcohol
£10 Tesco
Made by the Symingtons. This rather sweet-tasting Port has fresh raspberry and cherry fruit with a bit of spicy structure. It’s floral and enticing, with lovely weight. 89/100

Taylor’s Late Bottled Vintage Port 2010 Douro, Portugal
20% alcohol
£15 Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Waitrose, Booths
With generous blackberries, spice, cherrie and plums this is quite a rich Port with some violet floral notes adding interest. It’s sweet but has a lovely salty, savoury quality. 90/100

 

Vintage Port (including Single Quinta Vintage)

Tesco Finest Vintage Port 1997 Douro, Portugal
20% alcohol
£16 Tesco
Made by the Symingtons. This is a bargain. It’s mellow and rounded with some spicy, leathery maturity and really nice smooth berry fruits. Textured and delicious. 90/100

Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference Vintage Port 1998 Douro, Portugal
20% alcohol
£20 Sainsbury’s
Made by the Symingtons. Warm, spicy and sweet with some spice, liqourice and leather notes. Attractive and mellow with ripe berries at its core. 89/100

Marks & Spencer Vintage Port 2011 Douro, Portugal
20% alcohol
£25 Marks & Spencer
made by Taylors. Very deep coloured. Rich, powerful, structured blackberry fruit here with supplementary notes of cherries, spice and plums. There’s also some mintiness. 90/100

Taylors Quinta de Vargellas 2002 Douro, Portugal
£30 Cambridge Wine Co, Corney & Barrow, Lay & Wheeler, Tanners, The Wine Society
2002 was a tricky vintage in the Douro, and this single-quinta vintage Port is spicy and earthy with some savoury notes under the powerful cedary black fruits. It’s warm and dense, and really good considering the vintage. 92/100

Graham’s Crusted Port 2007 Douro, Portugal
20% alcohol
£17.99 Morrisons
Although this is vintage-dated, ‘crusted’ Port is a blend from several harvests, bottled in the indicated year. This is sweet, mellow and rounded with lovely black fruits, herbs and some spiciness. Some grip, too. Lovely. 92/100

Warre’s Quinta da Cavadinha 1998 Douro, Portugal
£26.99
20% alcohol
Nice blackcurrant fruit core to this warm, spicy Port, which has lovely weight and some herb and pepper complexity. There’s still some structure, too. 93/100

Cockburn’s Quinta dos Canais 2001 Douro, Portugal
20% alcohol
£19.99 Lidl
Keenly priced for a single-quinta vintage Port, this is textured and dense with sweet, firm black fruits and some spiciness. Structured, firm and dense. 92/100

Sandeman Vau Vintage 1999 Douro, Portugal
20% alcohol
£19.95 Oddbins, Slurp, Hawkshead
Warm with a sweet, spicy nose of herbs and tar. Lush, concentrated palate with sweet, rounded blackberry and black cherry fruit. Smooth and textural with nice density. 92/100

Taylor’s Quinta de Terra Feita 1995 Douro, Portugal
20.5% alcohol
£26 Marks & Spencer
Mellow with a minty, herby, tea-leaf edge to the sweet, textured cherry and plum fruit. Mellow and complex, this is drinking well now.

 

Tawny

Pocas Colheita Port 1995 Douro, Portugal
20% alcohol
£14.99 Majestic, multibuy price £13.49
Colheita is the term used to describe a vintage-dated tawny Port. This is beautiful. Pale in colour, it has mellow red cherries and plums with some spicy old cask characters, and a long, nutty finish. 93/100

Taylors 10 Year Old Tawny Port NV Douro, Portugal
20% alcohol
£22 Booths, Majestic, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Selfridges, Tesco, Waitrose
Warm, spicy and rich with nice sweet rasoberry and cherry fruit. Vibrant with notes of earth and casks in the background. 92/100

Taylors 20 Year Old Tawny Port NV Douro, Portugal
20% alcohol
£38 Berry Bros & Rudd, Selfridges, Waitrose, Costco
Cedary, spicy and raisiny with real complexity, some marmalade hints and lovely smooth, intense flavour. This is serious. 94/100

Grahams ‘The Tawny’ Port NV Douro, Portugal
20% alcohol
£15 Marks & Spencer
Lovely packaging in a squat bottle. Pale brick/cherry red colour. Complex, spicy and sweet with nice raisin, cherry, spice and pepper notes. Very moreish. 91/100

Croft Reserve Tawny NV Douro, Portugal
20% alcohol
£14.99 Majestic, multibuy price £13.49
Nicely packaged. Full red colour. Lovely elegant cherry fruit with some mellow cedar hints. This is really stylish. 91/100

Warre’s Otima 20 Year Old Tawny Port NV Douro, Portugal
20% alcohol
£19.99 Lidl
Lovely weight to this mellow, warm tawny, which has attractive raisin and herb notes. Smooth and sweet with some red cherry fruit still in the mix. 91/100

Sandeman 20 Year Old Tawny Port NV Douro, Portugal
20% alcohol
£37.49 Waitrose
Elegant and fresh, with pure light red cherry fruit and fine spiciness. This is just so elegant and supple, showing perfect balance. 94/100

Quinta do Noval 20 Year Old Tawny Port NV Douro
21% alcohol
£45.90 Tanners
Warm, rich, spicy and bold with lifted red cherry and raisin aromas as well as some cinnamon and herb notes. Rich, bold, complex and spicy. 93/100

M Signature 10 Year Old Tawny Port NV Douro, Portugal
20% alcohol
£12.99 Morrisons
Made by the Symingtons. Peppery and spicy with notes of old casks. Warm and sweet with lovely cherry and plum fruit and some subtle herbiness. 89/100

 

3 Comments on Port round-up: my guide to the best readily available PortsTagged , ,
wine journalist and flavour obsessive

3 thoughts on “Port round-up: my guide to the best readily available Ports

  1. Hi Jamie,

    I was curious as to what score you had given to the Terra Feita 1995 as it is not included on your report. All other wines have a score?

    Thanks,

    Chris

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