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holiday gift: bottle of port wine?

my SO loves port wine, which i know nothing about. in fact, i don't even care for it very much, so tasting it at a shop wouldn't be that productive. i would like to find him a great, value-priced (under $40) bottle as a gift, but i need a shop with a knowledgeable and friendly staff (or at least helpful signage).

my question to you all is whether i should go to one of our local bevmo's (does it vary among the locations?), or if is there a wine shop i should go to? feel free to recommend your favorite bottle along with where i should get it!

TIA for any advice!

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  1. K&L has some excellent aged Ports. ~$40 maybe hard to get an LBV with decent age though. You could get a good aged Tawny for that though. Anyway I would recommend K&L, good knowledgeable staff.

    7 Replies
    1. re: dhoffman1421

      I agree about K&L's selection and their prices on port are comparable to BevMo. And yes $40 is a modest amount for port (goes further for sherry, madera, California dessert wines like Justin's obtuse or Quady Elysium, or an Australian tawny or "sticky").

      Arlequin wines, the store next to and affiliated with Absinthe, is having a port tasting next Thursday, which means they'll probably have a good selection.

      Might be helpful if you knew a port he liked, so you could ask for someone to help match style.

      1. re: dhoffman1421

        where is k&l, please?

        i will be delving into higher priced ports in a few years, once my law firm salary kicks in. for now, law school tuition has bit far into the gift budget.

        we went to zucca winery in murphys, ca (fabulous weekend of free tastings!) and he loved the 2005 syrah port: http://www.zuccawines.com/ourwine.html. he also liked the solomon wine company portrait: https://solomonwine.com/component/opt....

        neither of these are available locally, i do not think. however, thanks to windy for the idea to tell the shop owners his previous port purchases. i should have thought of that! i don't think he's tried many ports, so i would love to speak with an expert at the shop about new ones to try.

        1. re: artemis

          berkeley -- san pablo ave. and cedar

          Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant
          1605 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702

          1. re: kc72

            Kermit Lynch, while wonderful, is not K&L.

            1. re: Windy

              And as far as I know has no port.

            1. re: dhoffman1421

              I can vouch for Prager's. Just tried the Aria white port, which is rather dry. But I would bet their Syrah port (available for less than $40, I believe) would be a winner.

              And you cannot go wrong with Justin Vineyards port from Paso Robles. To die for.

        2. Try the Spanish Table on University Ave in Berkeley. Their wine buyer is very knowledgeable and they have a huge selection. (The store name is kind of a misnomer -- they have a lot of Portuguese products as well.)

          1 Reply
          1. re: Kitchen Imp

            I second The Spanish Table, but they are located on San Pablo Avenue between Hearst and Delaware, not on University Avenue.

            The Spanish Table
            1814 San Pablo Ave
            Berkeley, CA 94702
            Mon-Sat 10:00am-6:00pm, Sun 11:00am-5:00pm

          2. The wine board has several current threads on port.

            Agree on the K&L recommendation.

            Kermit Lynch is an excellent wine retailer, though I cannot vouch for his port selection.

            3 Replies
            1. re: maria lorraine

              K&L has an excellent port selection.

              1. re: Paul H

                Graham’s Vintage Port is always perfection

                1. re: Lori SF

                  opps just saw that you wanted 40.00 or less. sorry

            2. Royal Tokaji from Hungary is the trendy and not-so-expensive pick.

              1 Reply
              1. thanks to everyone! this information is so helpful.

                1. While searching for something else, I came across a helluva deal on the 1997 Quinta do Tedo Vintage Port at Weimax in Burlingame. It's marked down to $20. Here's the link,
                  Hope it's still in stock. You should call first thing in the morning for availability. Ask for Gerald and inquire about how it's showing now in case your SO is inclined to open it right away. 1997 is an early drinking year though you can certainly hold onto it for much longer.

                  Here are the specs from the producer's website,

                  Weimax Wines
                  1178 Broadway, Burlingame, CA

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    wow thanks melanie! due to law school finals, i'm stuck in the library for the next couple weeks, but hopefully another hound will be able to take advantage of this great deal :).

                    1. re: artemis

                      Good luck with your finals! You can still call the store to buy the bottle by credit card to have it delivered or held for later pick-up, if it's still available.

                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        all sold out :). i'm sure they went to good homes. thanks for looking out anyway!

                    2. re: Melanie Wong

                      Good score Melanie although you've just given up one of my "under-the-radar" sources. They usually have Zaya rum at a good price.

                      1. re: dhoffman1421

                        And in general, if you have a need like "a good port under $40," the Weimax people are very helpful. There are only about three people that work in the store and all have a good knowledge of the store's fairly interesting inventory. I was there just this Saturday stocking up for the holidays and helping a friend do the same.

                        1. re: Calvinist

                          i received a friendly response email from gerald within hours of my inquiry. though the one melanie found was sold out, he recommended a couple others around $25 that he opined as good values.

                          i'm impressed. he's definitely earned my business!

                          1. re: artemis

                            Hey, you're supposed to be studying/cramming!

                    3. Prager fan here too. I love the Aria. The winery is fun to visit as well.