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May 9, 2014 06:25 PM

Port wines from 1700's


There's a steakhouse in Tampa called Bern's that serves port wines from the 1700's that have preserved well. Any place locally in NYC that has ports dating back - I'll take any age going back if not the 1700's


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  1. I don't believe Bern's has Ports dating so far back. But they do have the largest dessert and fortified wine list I've ever seen in any restaurant.
    They do however, have Madeira wines from the 1800's.
    Your best bet would be to buy a bottle of old Madeira wine and bring it to a restaurant. I've recently done that with a very old Bual, and paid a corkage fee.
    You will have a better shot finding Madeira wines from the 1800's. The oldest I've had was an 1863 Bual, it was amazing. Recently brought a 1948 Bual to a restaurant and it was delicious. You can still purchase these at a fairly reasonable price.
    Bern's sells the 1948 Bual ( Boal) for $100 for a half oz. quite reasonable in my opinion.
    PS. I prefer Madeira wine to ports. They are most similar to Tawny ports. Bual being my favorite variety.

    1 Reply
    1. re: foodwhisperer

      Its been a long time since I was last at Bern's but my recollection was that they did have something by the glass that was from the late 1700s. I recall pointing that one out and saying something like imagine having a glass of something that was around for the revolution. Don't recall whether it was port or madeira. There is nothing like Bern's wine cellar in NYC. That's because no place in NYC had a Bern Laxer. A real interesting character.

    2. I think I remember reading that Bern's bought some of Thomas Jefferson's wines, and he was a big fan of Madeira. I noticed an 1863 Madeira on Bern's dessert menu on my last visit. It would have been fun to sip a wine dating back to the Civil War, but $165 for a 1 oz. pour was a little rich for me. The tour of their cellar is fun.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Veggo

        What do they taste like guys? I know that's a hard question to answer but would love to learn what they feel like on the palette

        1. re: eateat22

          The oldest ports, Madeiras, and Sauternes I have had were about 40. There are wonderful tiers of flavors that only ageing can provide, and they replace the early years of excessive sweetness. Truly pleasant experiences. I can't imagine what another 100 years would add, but I probably would like it!

        2. re: Veggo

          I paid less than $50 for a bottle of 1863 Madeira Bual, and drank it all in one night with friends. That was many years ago. The prices have gone up significantly, so has the supply. But I was in Madeira last year and the prices are still very reasonable for their wines. Btw Madeira from 1863 wasn't significantly different from a 60 year old bottle I recently had. I also had a Niepoort Coheita from the 50's recently that was amazing.
          The taste without using wine terms, is very Umami

          1. re: foodwhisperer

            I assume you mean the supply has gone down, not up.

            1. re: Pan

              Yes, I meant prices went up , supply went down. . sorry.

        3. The oldest thing I see on the Bern's list (by the glass anyway is..

          1834 Barbeito Terrantez
          Half Ounce $87.00

          1. In the context where i made mention Bern's had in inventory, offered and served Ports from the 1700's, it was to affirm your belief Ports lasted a long time.

            Bern's may not have it now....but I took the tour and saw the bottles.