I made a short port-seeking tour in Lewis, on Route 1, in Rehoboth and in Bethany. Transfers were minimal, with all those visited reporting the same sad story – shipping issues from overseas suppliers. Below are the ports that can be found in more than two stores in each location. Prices are approximate and vary a few cents in the six I visited. I couldn’t find any old outlet so phone shop for availability. Keep in mind that arguably the six most advertised Port Quintas properties (real estates) are produced by the fifth generation Symington Family. Of the 2019 classic, two En Primeur were released (still in barrel futures), the Quinta do Vesuvio and Dow’s Quinta Senhora Ribeira. The others – Warres Quinta da Cavadinha, Dow’s Quinta d Bonfim, Quinta da Canais of Cockburn and Graham’s Quinta dos Malvedos – are now housed in a vault for future release. This link will let you know everything you need: vintageportsite.com/campaign/2019-v vintage-port.
Vintage Port must be advertised by its producer following a very strict set of quality guidelines: austerity in its youth, great depth of flavor and massive structure, the ability to age and improve over 10 years in a great port. Then it must be approved by an external panel of experts. Oddly enough, 2016, 17 and 18 were great for the port. It was reviewed many of the 1990s, with two 100-point reviews after it was announced. Unfortunately, they will start drinking well after 2030. I usually choose Taylor Fladgate Vintage Porto. They seem to be more careful in advertising, nominating about three picks every 10 years. Best of all, they are well priced. For example, we can buy 2,000 ready-made booze now for less than $100. The 2019 top sells north of $115. Getting to know $100 isn’t a straw, 95 points from McD and everyone else’s, 21-year-old, age-appropriate, great wine is a great value. In 2005, she wrote: “An assorted bouquet of cassis, graphite, licorice, moss, and a pinch of raisins; on the palate of black fruit, tannins are chewy with hints of saltiness. A long, dusty finish showing barrel spice. A recent review in WS earned a 95th.” Biddened, Fresh , smooth, with cassis, cherry paste and Linzer Torte flavors with red licorice, alder and briar. Finally, anise and spices appear.
The following can be found locally. The first list in each category would be my choice. Quinta Nouval Fine Ruby Port 87 McDonald’s, $17. Herbal chocolate flavours, a smooth fruity palate great for the first time. Dow’s Ruby Port, 86 McD, $16.10 YO Tawny: Fonseca, 90, $25, Caramel, red fruits bolstered by bright acidity. Taylor Flagett, 92 McDonald, $30; Graham, 93, $32. 20 YO Tawnies Fonseca, 92 McD, $60, Fruit cake flavors with hints of dried rose petals, crushed wine, and fudge and nut flavors, an extra-long-lasting finish balanced with coffee and cocoa and enough acidity to keep it clean; Quinta do Nouval, $91, $90; Taylor Flaggate, 92, $60. I found a 40-year-old Barao de Villar Maynard for $75. Buying at this price seemed like a steal. He won gold all-around, 94 mcd, aperitif or digest. Great with chocolate, cheese, cream-based or fruity desserts that aren’t too sweet. It goes well with dry fruits, nuts, walnut cakes and Swiss rolls. A medium tan with notes of mandarin, walnut, mocha, walnut, and earthy spices. It should be served at basement temperature, 55°F or 13°C. Cockburns, 88, $25; I didn’t sample either. Last but not least, I found some Sandeman Apitiv Reserve White Port NV for $20 and 88 mcd. This is a rare find in smaller markets. I saw several of them in Lewis on Savannah Road. Golden yellow color of seven years in oak barrels. Nuts, flowers, dried fruits (Fig Newton), and orange peel flavors; Balanced acidity and sweetness. Dried fruits and tropical fruit flavors open up, and go to fruit to finish. Point of information, Port allows winemakers a range of control. Very ripe grapes are crystallized and fermented. At the point decided by the chef, a neutral grape spirit at 77% ABV is added to stop the fermentation. Much faster than cooling. This also solidifies the wine to about 20%. Most of these then spend four to nine years in barrels and bottles. I find it great that there is so much work and time that can be devoted to such low prices.