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Jan 14, 2010 12:28 PM

Port wine, anything at moderate cost?

I have tried several rather ordinary port wines - the kind offered in an ordinary wine/liquor store and have yet to fine anything approaching the taste so often described in the literature. What should I look for?, expect?

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  1. What was the age of those that you tried 5, 10, 20?

    1. When you say that you have tried "several rather ordinary port wines," can you give some examples?

      There is Port, then there is Port, then there is Port, and finally, there is port. What are we talking about here?

      I find that the Tawny Ports are very moderately priced. They are food-friendly and very enjoyable. Still, there are many other "types" of Port, and then a myriad "port-styled" wines.

      Not that long ago, there was a very nice thread here on Port. Contributors, like Jason (Zin 1985?), commented with some very useful details. Maybe search this forum for "Port," and read some of those threads. There was a lot of useful info, as well as recs. for various Ports and port-styled wines, at almost all price-points.

      Good luck, and most of all - enjoy,


      1. This is where a really good wine store can help you. The more routine wine stores are going to try to sell you what they've got in inventory but if you go a really good one they can sell you something nice that doesn't break the bank. If you can tell me which major city you are near I can find such a store (maybe) to help you.

        6 Replies
        1. re: SteveTimko

          re: SteveTimko
          I live south of Albany NY and the best wine oriented store I've found so far is in Slingerlands though I have never approached them directly in trying to solve this query. Any help would be appreciated and it doesn't have to be very very local.

          1. re: feelinpeckish

            Empire Wine, 1440 Central Avenue, Albany, has an good port selection and they ship locally as well as down to the NYC area. Their link is

            Why not try them--or provide more details here so that your "experience" is better clarified...

            1. re: feelinpeckish

              Okay, for advice, I went to Roy Hersh, who reviews port.
              Roy has a Web site dedicated exclusively to port:
              It's a great place to learn about port.
              One suggestion he offered is Josh Hiebel at the Saratoga Wine Exchange
              It probably wouldn't hurt to tell him Roy Hersh sent you.
              Not sure how far north of you that is.

            2. re: SteveTimko


              I agree completely. Many decades ago, I encountered Vintage Port. I was in love. Went to a large wine shop, and walked to their Port area. I was overwhelmed and lost. The two clerks, who came by, knew little more than I did, and just recommended some probably great '55 VP's, which were quite expensive.

              That afternoon, I went to a smaller, more intimate wine shop. I went to the Port area, and the owner stopped by to see if he could help me. I told him of my recent experience, and asked him about Port. His reply was, "how much time do you have?" I had all afternoon, and he proceeded to spend it with me, answering all of my questions and giving me a history of Port, plus an understanding of the wine. When I left, I had a mixed case, and three books in tow. I have never looked back.

              An interested and knowledgeable staff can make ALL the difference. Port is a trip of a lifetime, and it should begin with a good map, and some advice on the road conditions ahead.


              1. re: Bill Hunt

                successful navigation always begins with a clear destination in mind and a good chart. the journey generally overshadows the destination.
                any port in a storm? only if it's a particularly nasty storm.

                1. re: steve h.

                  Yes, that works too. So long as one does not fall over starboard...


            3. what is your definition of moderate cost?

              1. My "sitting around, I feel like having some port" is Fonseca Bin 27. It's not expensive, it's not exquisite, it's not for collectors. It's drinkable "now", it's inexpensive, and it's a nice glass to share with friends.

                1 Reply
                1. re: bucksguy14

                  Next to the Sandeman's Founder's Reserve, I think that the Fonseca Bin 27 is one of the most sold Ports in the US.

                  For just "sitting around," I normally lean towards a Tawny, but many choose a Ruby Port, instead.