Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Wine >
Dec 6, 2009 01:39 PM

Decent Port, $25 - 35ish range?

I don't know much about wine and I'd like to give some port to my boyfriend's parents for Christmas (I know they both like port) along with a cool wine stopper.

Can anyone recommend something in the $25 - 35 range that is respectable?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. There are so many ports in the 25-35 range that are respectable. Call Susan at K&L Wines, the port specialist and ask for something that doesn't come from one of the big houses -- that will double your buying power.

    Also, I'd think about half bottles (1 or 2) rather than a 750ml because few folks I know have enough port drinkers around to enjoy the big bottle while it's fresh.

    Contrary to many opinions, port starts to lose its luster in a week.

    1. Well, there is Port, and then there is Port and finally, there is Port.

      What I am getting at is that one has a full range, from Rubies up through variations on Tawnies and finally Vintage Ports.

      For pairing wiht foods, I am more a fan of going with Tawnies, but that is personal. I love the others, but find that Tawnies go with more cheeses, desserts and similar.

      In the Tawnies, I am partial to the Taylor-Fladgate 20 Year, but their 10 Year is good too. Prices should be within your range, with the 10 Year at the lower end, and the 20 Year at the upper. Some others, that are worth the effort are the Porto Barros 20 Year, if you can find it, the Fonseca (same house, but different style than the Taylor), and the Cockburns 20 Year - lighter, more "spirity," but nice, none the less.

      In the Rubies, up through the Late Bottled Vintage, you have tons to choose from. For full Vintage Port, that price range will be extremely limited.

      Now, one consideration is that there are many good port-style wines, from the US and from OZ. Both of these can be interesting, but they are NOT Ports - just nice, port-styled wines.



      7 Replies
      1. re: Bill Hunt

        What do you have to pay for drinkable Port in the US please Bill? Here in London I pay about $18 single bottle retail for Taylor's LBV 2003.

        Actually I tend to avoid it a bit if I can. For some reason my wife doesn't get the joke when it comes to unpredictable behaviour.

        1. re: Robin Joy

          Actually, that does not seem bad for the Taylor LBV '03. Phoenix is NOT a Port town, so we see more Tawny, than VP, or LBV. I'd guess that it's about US$25.00 here, but will take a look at a local wine shop.

          Was just at Costco, a "big box store," but with good wine selections at some locations, and everything was Tawny. Taylor 10 Year was US$16, and Fonseca 10 Year was US$18. They had more Tawnys, but did not take note. Also, there were 3 Port-style wines from OZ, but none that I recognized.

          Let me do a bit of "homework," and I'll get back to you. Still, that price for any Taylor LBV (especially in London), sounds good to me. If you had said £ 18, that would have been more to my thinking. Now, I do have to admit that when in the UK, I pretend that the £'s are really $'s, and just ignore the danged exchange rate. I let AMEX figure that out a month later.


          1. re: Robin Joy

            Just looking on, it's selling for US$23 plus shipping, so I was not too far off. Still, I'll see if AJ's has it locally. That is a good UK price!


            1. re: Robin Joy

              Taylor 2003 LBV is a steal at $18. Taylor 10 year at $16 is a great deal, too.

              Bill, I grew up in Phoenix. I've been in AJs a number of times. I find that they often mark prices up in a bad way there. Total Wine often has respectable prices for a lot of wines, but the ports there are usually priced "in line" as opposed to deeply discounted.

              1. re: bricap

                My rough figure is that AJ's is about US$5 over the "going price." Still, we have one just over the hill, and I support them, because they do have a nice list, past the "usual suspects." When I find that I need 4 btls. of a Lois Jadot '04 Puligny-Montrachet, and I only have 3 in the cellar, I want them to be there for me.

                We just got some Total Wine stores around the metro-area, but I have not been yet. I do not know what their Port selections are like. In general terms, their prices are pretty much in line with our Costco. However, one cannot not count on Costco to have the same wines week to week.

                Right now, I feel sorry for the locally owned small wine shops, and for my AJ's. I think that I'll just need to choose another wine from my cellar, and not be able to rely on many of these in the next few years.


                1. re: Bill Hunt

                  AJ's is owned by Bashas'. If history is any guide, Eddie will figure it out. The business has survived for years in one of the most competitive retail environments in America.

                  As for the local retailer, I think it takes a lot of creativity and ingenuity to survive, especially in Phoenix. Whatever an independent does, it cannot offer the same stuff as Costco or Total Wine, or it will get killed. I imagine an independent has to work very hard to build a customer base there. A customer has to have a real compelling reason to consistently shop at an independent over a big box retailer.

                  Total Wine is an interesting place. It stocks nearly every type of wine, but it still can't do it all. I went in there looking for a Spanish mencia, and they had nothing, for example. They have some Portuguese table wines, but it's far from comprehensive. It's impressive enough that they bother to have any selection of them at all in Phoenix, though, as I imagine it would take a lot of work (driving, phone calls, internet searching, etc.) to find out who in Phoenix bothers with that. I believe most of Total Wine's buying decisions are done at the national level. That does leave room for an independent to carve a niche of sorts.

                  1. re: bricap

                    Just had dinner with Eddie and Nadine, and I am not sure that the AJ's chain will survive, at least in the present state. Obviously, I put in a plug for MY store, but I've discussed that up-thread. We also do a lot of shopping there, for non-wine fare. I'll head there first, knowing the markup, rather than the Safeway across the street. Now, my frugal wife will shop wherever the best prices are, but I go with convenience and people, with whom I have dealt before.

                    Will be interesting to see how things sort out. If we loose our AJ's, we'll likely just move on to others, and make danged sure that I have enough of each wine in the cellar.

                    I wish the best for the AJ's lineup, especially as my wife is good friends with the daughter of the original AJ. Plus, they are just over the mountain from us, and we have 12+ years invested in them.