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How long does opened Port last?

  • r

I have a bottle of Port that is half full and last opened about 10 months ago. It smells good, but is it safe to drink?

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  1. NO, Even tawny is sucking wind at that point

    1. Take a quick swig if you dare, but I suggest this instead...

      slice some portobello mushrooms.
      Put them into a sauce pot with some butter and brown them.
      Dump the port in and let it reduce.
      Serve with a good steak.

      1 Reply
      1. I opened a bottle about 8 months ago. We had some on Friday night and it was fine.
        I'm not an expert but isn't the idea of fortifying it so that it has a better shelf life??


        1 Reply
        1. re: Davwud

          To a certian extent the fortifacation is to hold and stablize the port but non tawnys will spoil pretty quickly. Most tawnys are already somewhat oxidized during aging in barell.

        2. We don't drink Port, but I keep a bottle around for cooking. I've never had any go bad, even after a year or so.

          3 Replies
          1. re: pikawicca

            Same experience here. Never a problem with port going bad. All that happens is that more sediment is thrown so be careful not to shake the bottle when you're about to use it. Or else just pour it through a fine strainer before use.

            1. re: fauchon

              There's a difference between going bad and being drinkable. The alcohol and sugar levels in port pretty much ensure it won't spoil -- by which I mean develop harmful bacterial or fungal growth -- if kept well-sealed. However, port, like any other wine, begins oxidizing as soon as the bottle is opened and that affects flavour, as you can easily demonstrate by comparing the tail end of a bottle that's been open for a week or two with the same wine from a just opened bottle. Port that's been kept stoppered in the fridge for a month or ten will probably not be dangerous to consume and may be good enough to use in cooking, but it isn't something you'd want to serve in a glass to a wine lover.

              1. re: carswell

                You're right. Perhaps I wasn't sufficiently clear. I was referring to Port -- I use a medium priced, decent but not sublime quality -- used soley for cooking. Not for drinking! LOL

          2. carswell nailed it. There is a big difference between being "safe" to drink and being drinkable in terms of enjoyment. Any port that has been open for 10 months in a decanter is probably way past drinking for enjoyment. If it has been recorked and in the refridgerator, it is still probably past that stage but maybe not. I wouldn't use it for anything except cooking, but then again, I would never have a bottle of port that made it 10 days, much less 10 months. They are usually gone within two days in my house. (Of course, I don't open a bottle of port unless I have friends to help drink it for that very reason.)

            1. Rick, what type of port? Just so we can make more educated comments, although no port of any type will be anywhere near tasty after so much time, we can at least give guidelines for the different types.

              1 Reply
              1. re: JMF

                it sounds like a store brand and not even 'real' porto

              2. Tick tick tick..once you pop the cork, oxygen is starting to degrade the wine. Drink good port (~$15+) within 30 days. Keep it longer for cooking. It's never going to go "off" completely it's just not going to get any better.

                1. OK, this is a zombie post, from way, way back, and the OP's time is rather extreme, but in general terms, it depends on the Port. Assuming that one IS talking about Port, and not some port-styled wines, Port can last for awhile. In the OP's case, it is most possibly dead, and of little, to no use, or enjoyment.

                  Now, as there are many types, and styles of Port (from Oporto, and often called by that name), and their longevity can differ.

                  A capped, chilled bottle of Tawny can last for a month, or so, where a Vintage Port, once decanted, will usually change in one week, though not always for the worse.

                  A capped, chilled Ruby might last (it WILL change) for a couple of months.

                  So, it just depends on the Port, and also whether one enjoys the changes.

                  Many years ago, I did a Port tasting, and our VP's were all from Taylor-Fladgate - the 1963, the 1985, the 1970 and the 1977. All were decanted, at intervals, prior to the event, based on their age. We expected the 1963 to really show, but the 1970 was the hands-down winner, and by almost all attendees, both those familiar with VP, plus those new to the wine. OK - surprise,as the 1963 was "supposed" to be the winner. Four nights later, some of us revisited the decanters (not chilled, but in a cool home), and then, the 1963 had come into its own, and blew the doors off the other two, as we had anticipated initially. I had decanted the 1963 later in the scheme of things, but it needed a little extra time to really open up, and show its stuff. Obviously, four days in a decanter is not "10 mos.," but shows that Ports can present themselves a tad differently. It just depends.


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                    I remember reading about that story before...you have a nice collection which can bring enjoyment on special occaisions. I think I am lucky too...my wife would be ok with it. She just doesn't like how I have to "do it all at once" sometimes. LOL