Port wines are known around the world as sophisticated and full-bodied, with a hint of sweetness that enhances their popularity with wine enthusiasts who love to pair them with desserts or chocolate-based desserts.
One of the best things about port wines is how they age and develop, just like fine wine. The trick to keeping your port wine tasting great as it ages comes down to proper storage and care once you open it up.
Here’s how to store and serve your port wine in order to get the most out of each bottle you drink.
Table of Contents
- How To Serve and Store Port Wine?
- Does Port Wines Go Bad?
- Do You Refrigerate Port Wines?
- Aging Port Wines
- Keep A Sealed Port Wine
- Storing At Room Temperature
- How To Store Opened Port Wine?
- Aging In a Cellar
- What NOT To Do While Storing Port Wine
- Final Thoughts
How To Serve and Store Port Wine?
Port wine is typically aged for years in wooden barrels. As a result, it’s an extremely complex beverage that has high levels of tannins and sugars.
Serving port can be tricky because you have to find a balance between bringing out its deep fruity flavors without overwhelming its drinker with strong alcoholic undertones.
Make sure to serve your port at room temperature (65-68 degrees) in order to not chill it too much and force out too many flavor notes. Serve on its own or pair with fruit, chocolate or cheese based desserts.
Does Port Wines Go Bad?
It’s a common misconception that all wines go bad and they do, after all, contain alcohol. But port wine is an exception! Port wine actually has an incredibly long shelf life if it is stored properly.
There are a number of factors that will affect how long your bottle of port wine lasts, so in order to learn how to store port wine for maximum deliciousness I spoke with master sommelier Marco Dionysos of Grape Collective about proper storage techniques.
Do You Refrigerate Port Wines?
While white wine gets better with age and red wine should be consumed within a year, port can be kept for up to ten years. After that, it starts losing its flavor, but those who can’t keep it around that long will still want to drink it.
Fortunately, there’s an easy way to do that without sacrificing flavor — port can be stored in a refrigerator.
Of course, some people prefer their red wines chilled — particularly cabernet sauvignon and merlot — but port is different than most other reds since it isn’t naturally high in tannins.
Rather than letting you taste dried fruit flavors as you sip on your wine, tannins make your mouth pucker up involuntarily.
Aging Port Wines
It is easy to think of port wine as a wine that can only be enjoyed after at least three years in a bottle. This may not be entirely true, and Port wines are among my favorites for when I want to enjoy a wine with dinner or other social occasions.
Many producers sell their wines when they are 2–3 years old, yet still very tasty and drinkable. It is worth taking some extra care if you are looking to age your own Port wines.
However there are also many producers who have learned that it pays off in quality and time spent aging their port if they handle these bottles well themselves.
I will explain how to store these wines well below so that you can make sure your open bottles stay tasting great!
Keep A Sealed Port Wine
If you have a bottle of Port wine in your collection, then it is good to know that it is important to always keep it sealed. This will ensure that it stays fresh and tasty for a longer period of time and you can always enjoy its full potential once it is unsealed.
You will also find wines like Port at many restaurants and cafes if you want to try some while dining out as well. Always make sure to ask if they have any on hand!
Storing At Room Temperature
This is what most people do with their wine, and it’s completely fine, as long as you store your bottles in a dark closet or cabinet. Be sure to use wine racks and not just stack your bottles on top of each other.
Not only will it protect them from breaking but it will also allow for them to breathe, which is extremely important for quality Port. When stored correctly at room temperature, Port can be enjoyed within a year of purchase.
If you’re planning on opening multiple bottles over an extended period of time (more than one week), I recommend using a refrigerator rather than storing at room temperature – let’s be honest; who really has that kind of self-control? 😉
How To Store Opened Port Wine?
Unlike beer and wine, port is a fortified wine that is designed to improve with age. If you’ve just opened your bottle of port, there are some factors to consider if you want to get maximum enjoyment out of it. Not sure how to store open port wine properly?
It’s not as complicated as you might think! Check out our guide below for everything you need to know about storing opened port wine.
Then, savor every last drop! If you want more details on how wines age, check out our Guide on Cellaring Wines.
Aging In a Cellar
The best way to store port wine is in a cellar, either an actual one or one that’s dry and not exposed to temperature changes.
Since Port is often enjoyed after dinner, it’s important to let it sit for at least two hours (the wine will still be fresh!) before drinking so that your taste buds can adjust to your meal.
Drinking Port right after dinner makes it difficult for your taste buds to perceive how sweet and rich each vintage truly is; they need time to acclimate.
A little patience will make all of those fabulous flavors pop! If you’re too excited about enjoying some of your best bottles with friends and family, you can store them in a dark closet at around 60 degrees F.
What NOT To Do While Storing Port Wine
Port wine is at its best when consumed soon after it’s bottled. Don’t leave port bottles on a sunny windowsill or in a humid, hot basement—these wines do not age well. Instead, store them in a cool and dark place like your kitchen cupboard for up to two years.
High temperatures accelerate oxidation and spoilage, which can completely ruin an otherwise fine bottle of port wine.
If you’re not planning on drinking your port wine within three months of purchasing it, transfer it to an airtight container to reduce exposure to oxygen and limit evaporation losses. It’s also recommended that you keep older bottles out of direct sunlight when you serve them.
Port wines, a traditional red wine that is produced in several regions throughout Portugal and other parts of Europe, was traditionally sold in demijohns. This bottle was usually equipped with a cork stopper and sealed with red wax.
Over time, it became more common to purchase wines in cans or boxes as a container. However, there are many who prefer to buy port wine by demijohn because of its rich flavor profile and robust finish when consumed directly from an elegant glass decanter.
When purchasing these types of bottles for your own enjoyment or as gifts for special occasions (birthdays, anniversaries), remember that storing your purchase properly can help ensure you’ll enjoy them both immediately and over an extended period of time without compromising taste or aroma.