Written by
Alan Boatright

10 Best Port Wine Choices - Reviews and Buying Guide

Cannot handle the dry taste of wine or the strong taste of bourbon? Do not worry; you can find wine varieties that taste like luscious, sweet drinks. Those wine varieties are known as Port Wines. These sweet dessert wines are made for those who cannot bear the dry taste of other wines.

That makes the best port wine as a moment of joy to the palate. Just like mince pies that make an appearance once a year, port wines are cherished during the Christmas season. This exquisite drink can offer more than just a digestive after a heavy meal or a dessert companion.

If you are searching for the best port wine on the market, you have come to the right place. From defining its various types to reviewing the best port wines, we will provide every piece of information to help you choose the one for your next big event.

10 Best Port Wines - Reviews

It is time to review the best port wines of all time. Bring a spark to your evening dinner by adding port wines to your menu.

Sandeman 40 Years Old Tawny Porto N.V.

Best and Famous Port Wine - Sandeman 40 Years Old Tawny Porto

Sandeman is a fortified wine from the Porto region of Portugal. Being a chain of Sogrape, the port wine is made with an amalgamation of locally grown grapes.

Sandeman 40-year-old Tawny Port wine is counted among the best port wines in the world. The smooth and soft textures and flavors are tempting to both palate and the nose.

The rich aroma of orange zest, toffee, muscovado, and nutmeg will not let you leave without tasting. Also, the taste offers a sweet combination with rich flavors of dried fruits, vanilla, hazel, butterscotch, a bold Cuban cigar, and walnuts.

The notes of honey and oak are responsible for the nutty flavor of the wine. Further, it offers an intense aftertaste and finishes with strong caramel notes.

Overall, the texture is quite smooth with balanced flavors and acidity. You can match this vintage Port with beef. Also, it pairs well with hard and mature cheeses.

Grapes Used: Tinta Roriz, Tinta Francisca, and Touriga Nacional
Winery: Sandeman
Alcohol Content: 20 per cent
Port Style: Tawny Port
Allergens: Sulfites

W. & J. Graham's 40 Year Old Tawny Port N.V.

W. & J. Graham's 40 Year Old Tawny Port N.V.

The winery of W. & J. Graham produces the best port wine in Porto Region. The wine producers are well-reputed and trusted for making the best and flavorful Tawny Port wines.

Being a classic vintage port wine, the 40 year old Tawny Port offers mellow and rich aromas of coffee, raisin, caramel, and toffee. Apart from the nose, you won't be disappointed with the palate.

The complex yet intense flavors of dried figs are produced by dipping in cola, white chocolate, chocolate, walnut, butter, leather, coffee, blackberry plum, oak notes, and nuts.

The golden color of the port wine offers an excellent texture and feel. The wine finishes with a flavorful and lengthy taste. It is going to forever stay on your palate.

In terms of pairing, it goes well with beef. For a more pleasurable experience, you can drink the wine with hard and mature cheeses.

Grapes Used: Pure Touriga Nacional
Winery: W. & J. Graham
Alcohol Content: 20 per cent
Port Style: Tawny Port
Allergens: Egg, milk, and sulfites

W. & J. Graham's 30 Year Old Tawny Port N.V.

W. & J. Graham's 30 Year Old Tawny Port N.V.

Coming to another exotic wine from W. & J. Graham offers a blend of long-lasting taste, tempting aroma, and local grapes. Moreover, the wine is vintage; what else do you need?

The 30-year-old tawny port wine is recognized for its rich and creamy flavor because of cinnamon, nutmeg, anise, and hazel. The port wine offers average acidity and high alcohol content, making it more demanding among the people.

The aroma is nutty and intense with added smoky Christmas spice, mince pies, oak, waxed leather, fig, toffee, and caramel. To provide a lingering and long aftertaste, the wine contains the delicious flavors of fruitcake, dried flowers, clove, and spicy orange peel. Its brilliant and delicious flavors make it the best port wine and value for money. Further, you can pair the wine with cheeses and proteins such as beef. A hairy crab is also a great dish to pair with this delectable wine.

Grapes Used: Tinta Barroca, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesa and Tinta Cao
Winery: W. & J. Graham
Alcohol Content: 20 per cent
Port Style: Tawny Port
Allergens: Milk, Egg, and sulfites

Taylor's 30 Year Old Tawny Port N.V.

Taylor's 30 Year Old Tawny Port N.V.

Taylor is among the old and well-established wine producers in Porto, Portugal. The wine producers of Taylor are known for making excellent and high-quality Vintage Port wines.

The Taylor's 30-year-old Tawny Port is aged beautifully such that it is abundant with a powerful aroma and rich red fruit flavors. Moreover, it comes with pleasing amber-magenta color.

The lovely nose is made with old oak furniture, black cherry, blackberry, cedar, vanilla, caramel, smoke, walnuts, and Christmas Cake. Even the palate is full of flavors of caramelized red fruit currents accompanied by milk chocolate, cherry, toasted nuts, plum, and orange liquor.

The velvet texture offers a delectable finish. Just like most port wines, it also goes well with cheeses and beef. For a variation to your taste, you can try the wine with Stichelton cheese.

Grapes Used: Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional
Winery: Taylor's
Alcohol Content: 20 per cent
Port Style: Tawny Port
Allergens: Sulfites

Fonseca Vintage Port

Fonseca Vintage Port

Let us move on to one of the top-rated port wines available in the market. The reason for its high ratings is the dark opaque red color and rich aromas. The color is obtained after aging for many years to make it pleasing and appealing.

The wine comes with a balanced and medium acidity along with high alcohol content. The flavors and aroma blend accurately to provide a balance to the wine's complexity. At the finish, you can feel the caramel and butterscotch notes.

Tobacco, caramel, black fruit, and plum make the nose. As far as the palate is concerned, it is filled with unique and distinctive flavors of licorice, date, sultana, balsamic liqueur de framboise teriyaki sauce, coffee, butterscotch, and toffee. You can tell just by the name how great and rich the wine would taste.

It takes about fifteen years for this port wine to attain character, depth, and maturity. Pair it with poultry, spicy food, or beef to have a divine experience.

Grapes Used: Tinta Roriz, Touriga France, Touriga Nacional, Malbec and Tinta Barroca
Winery: Fonseca
Alcohol Content: 20 per cent
Port Style: Vintage Port
Allergens: Sulfites

Sandeman Quinta do Seixo Vintage Port

Sandeman Quinta do Seixo Vintage Port

The popularity of Sandeman Quinta do Seixo Vintage Port has included the port wine among the top six per cent of wines across the world. Its flavorful profile and unique sweetness make it most favored among wine lovers.

The port wine forms a beautiful nose with tempting scents of blackberry, black plum, and blueberry fruit. The palate includes the above-mentioned fruits and dried currents, cassis, chili jam, anise, vanilla, chocolate-coated raisin, and licorice.

For perfect and balanced sweetness, the wine contains light and earthy smoky and tobacco notes. It tastes heavenly with proteins. Moreover, it complements beautifully with hard and mature cheeses.

The lingering and long-lasting finish is offered by citrus zing, toffee, and soft caramel. The wine's texture contains low tannins.

Grapes Used: Touriga Franca, Tinta Francisca and Touriga Nacional
Winery: Sandeman
Alcohol Content: 20.5 per cent
Port Style: Single Quinta Vintage Port
Allergens: Sulfites

Prats & Symington Chryseia Douro

Prats & Symington Chryseia Douro

Comes from the Douro, Portugal region, the Douro Red wine is available in various styles to satisfy your taste buds. Its flavors range from intense, dark to fruity and luscious. The grapes used are sourced locally from the region of Douro.

The Prats & Symington Chryseia Douro was highlighted in the Wine Style Awards by Vivino in 2020. Comes with modern tannins and medium acidity; you can enjoy the wine at any festivities.

The flavorful profile, soft palate, and dry texture offer a perfect blend of delicate and smooth taste. Also, the deep ruby hue looks luxurious and elegant. The finish has strings and long-lasting flavors of dried herbs and earthly olive stone.

The palate has rich flavors of many delicious fruits such as blackcurrant, blueberry, raspberry, and ripe blackberry. Furthermore, it contains cassis, cedar, violet, licorice, and vanilla. All the diverse flavors are developed and balanced with notes of menthol, forest floor, and leather.

For pairing, you can sip the drink with game meat from Venison or deer, lamb, or beef. Also, it tastes delicious with pasta.

Grapes Used: Touriga Nacional
Winery: Prats & Symington
Alcohol Content: 20 per cent
Port Style: Portuguese Douro Red
Allergens: Sulfites

Taylor's Very Old Single Harvest Port 1966

Taylor's Very Old Single Harvest Port 1966

It is time to bring the fortified wine, which is a real gold of liquid, from the region of Porto, Portugal. Every sip of the drink displays brilliance in its taste. The 50 years old bottle is aged and made with deep, unforgettable flavors and aromas.

Being a single harvest port, the bottle of wine offers an intense palate of diverse flavors such as orange fruit stew, fig, apricot, coffee, cocoa, and pecan. Also, almond is added to give a nutty texture to the port wine.

The dark caramel color is something to die for. Further, the olive-green highlights add elegance and class to the wine. The spicy aromas forms the nose along with brown sugar, walnut, oak, nutmeg, and dry stone fruit.

All in all, the bottle of age-old wine taste divine with beef dishes and cheeses. Offering a perfect and balanced sweetness and acidity structure, the vintage port wine provides a delightful taste.

Grapes Used: Pure Touriga Nacional
Winery: Taylor's
Alcohol Content: 20 per cent
Port Style: Colheita Port
Allergens: Sulfites

Quinta do Noval Vintage Port

Quinta do Noval Vintage Port

A fortified wine from the Port region of Portugal, Quinta do Noval, is counted as the top-quality winemakers in the port wine industry. There is no other vintage wine that is such a crowd pleaser than Quinta do Noval Vintage Port.

If you age the young vintage port for more years, it will taste more delicious. Those people who dislike the taste of standard wine would find it pleasing as it is softer to drink. At a young age, the wine offers a dense purple hue.

Compared to many port wines, Quinta do Noval is spicy. However, the mocha in the wine offers a soft and long aftertaste. The nose is formed with black cherry and blackcurrant. You can also notice smoky and dark fruit flavors.

Grapes Used: Tinta Roriz and Touriga Nacional
Winery: Quinta do Noval
Alcohol Content: 20 per cent
Port Style: Vintage Port
Allergens: Sulfites

Ramos Pinto 30 Year Old Tawny Port N.V.

Ramos Pinto 30 Year Old Tawny Port N.V.

Bringing the best classic vintage ports from Porto, Portugal, to your table, Ramos Pinto 30-year-old Tawny Port. The port wine offers a blend of a variety of vintages that are aged for more than a hundred years.

The taste of the wine would feel like you are eating a toffee cake or chocolate covered in caramel. The finish marks the long-lasting flavors of spices and coffee. And the flavor never seems to go off your taste buds.

The caramel, toffee, umami, nuts, mocha, and citrus peel make a tempting nose. Along with that, the palate contains dense flavors of caramel, notes of chocolate brownie, orange peel, molasses, and walnuts.

What's more? Its hazelnut and oak scents are something worth noticing. The wine's intense flavors and sweetness provide a luscious and smooth texture to the wine.

Grapes Used: Tinta Roriz and Touriga Nacional
Winery: Pinto
Alcohol Content: 19.5 per cent
Port Style: Tawny Port
Allergens: Sulfites

A Guide to the Best Port Wines

Now you have read the best port wines' detailed reviews; you must be ready to experiment and try wines from one of the above-mentioned products. The Port wines produced in the Douro Valley, Portugal, offer their own uniqueness and distinctiveness. That is why you should know how to choose the best wine as per your taste.

What is Port Wine and Its Styles?

The sweet and fortified Port wine is manufactured and produced solely in the Douro Valley in Portugal. People prefer to enjoy port wine as a dessert due to its rich taste. However, some of its types serve as an appetizer.

Port Wine Grape Variety

Port Wine Grape Variety

The original Port is made by blending native Portuguese grape varieties. In Port production, more than fifty grape varieties are sanctioned, but the most sought after varieties are the below mentioned red wine grapes:

  • Tinta Cao
  • Tinta Barroco
  • Tinta Roriz
  • Touriga Nacional
  • Touriga France

White Grape varieties are:

  • Rabigato
  • Esgana-Cao
  • Donzelinho

Port Wines Styles

As regulated by the Institute of Duoro and Port Wines, Portuguese Port is available in a variety of styles.

Tawny Port

Made from red grapes, Tawny Port is a barrel-aged and sweet Port. The wine has a kind of nutty taste when it comes in contact with oxygen while kept in the barrel. Moreover, Tawny Port has a unique golden-brown color.

Tawny Ports come into the Port blend category, where it has been barrel-aged for a minimum of 3 years. Furthermore, Reserve Tawny Port is aged for over 7 years.

Ruby Port

Ruby Port is the most affordable Port type because it is produced in abundance in Portugal. Ruby port is aged in concrete or steel tanks to eliminate the possibility of oxidation aging. This way, the ruby wine can preserve the bright red color and its fruitiness.

Ruby port is cold filtered and fined before storing in the bottle. And its taste does not improve as it ages. One of premium Ruby Port is Reserve Ruby which generally aged for about six years in the wood. For Ruby Port to become a Reserve, the tasting panel of IVDP, Camara de Provadores, must approve.

White Port

Produced from white wine grapes, White Port is available in different varieties, from sweet to dry. For example, White Port Colheita has a straw color because it is aged in larger tanks and produced from a single grape harvest.

Vintage Port

Produced in a declared vintage year, Vintage Ports are sourced from various Quintas. It is then stainless steel or barrel-aged before bottling for about two and a half years.

After bottling, Vintage ports are still aged for ten to forty years, where it continues to gain complexity as the decomposition of grape solid gradually begins.

Rosé Port

Launched in 2008, Rosé wine is a new product among the best Port wines by Croft Port House. It is produced in a similar method to most rose wine with no or less exposure to grape skins. That's why it has a rose color.

Late Bottled Vintage

In contrast to Vintage Port, Late Bottles Vintage is barrel-aged for a minimum of six years before bottling. During the aging time, Late Bottled Vintage Port begins to settle down upon maturing.

Further, you do not need to empty the Late Bottled Vintage Port, and you can drink it directly after bottling.

The Making of Port Wine

Table wine and Port wine has similar making process. The grapes are sourced in Douro Valley in Portugal, which is later harvested and, lastly, pressed. The red and white grapes, as mentioned above, are pressed with skins, seeds, and stems to ferment so that the level of alcohol comes down to seven per cent.

The only difference between table wine and port wine is the brandy type. Upon adding the brandy to the fermented grape juices, it stops the fermentation so that the alcohol level increases to about 20 per cent.

After that, the Port is stored in huge oak casks for eighteen months to assess later. The Port house will be the decision-maker to label the type of Port it has become upon assessment. The Port House knows well what kind of Port they want to create. For example, the grapes from a single harvest and good quality make Colheita, Vintage ports, or LBV.

Drinking and Serving Port Wine

How can you enjoy and have a divine experience with your bottle of Port Wine?

Serving Port Wine

You can use a three-ounce Port wine Glass to serve the wine. The temperature should be about 15 to 20 degrees Celsius. Before serving the port wine, take it out from the fridge and keep it for half an hour at room temperature. This will allow the wine to come down to its average temperature.

You can also serve the White Port chilled and Tawny Port a little cooler.

Food Pairings with Port Wine

Food Pairings with Port Wine

You have so many delicious food options to pair your port wine.

  • Pair your reserve and ruby port with Gorgonzola cheese, red fruits, or chocolate mousse.
  • Pair Vintage Ports and LBV with almonds, dark chocolate, brie cheese, and VenisonVenison.
  • Pair Aged Tawny Port with walnuts, pecans, creme brulee, and Beijing duck.
  • Pair White Port with salted almonds, olives, and aged gouda cheese.

Cooking with Port Wine

Port is enjoyed best with gooey sauces and chocolate cakes. You can even use the wine as reduction sauces to add to many savory dishes.

Storing the Port Wines

Port wines are made to be finished as soon as it is opened. The port wine that improves storing and aging are Crusted Ports, Unfiltered LBV ports, Single Quinta Vintage Ports, and Vintage Ports.

The unfiltered bottle of wine required a corkscrew to open. This is the indicator that this pork will mature if stored in the bottle for years. Also, if you want to store the Port, you can keep it in the dark and cool surroundings. The ideal location is the cellar, where there are no temperature fluctuations.

Final Thoughts

Porto is the Port wine capital that produces its grapes to use in the wines, responsible for the uniqueness in wine's taste. It seems difficult to understand how the best port wines can be made in the rough terrain of Portugal. However, the Douro region has always proved its valor and worth by being a host of port wines and red wines. 

So, if you cannot handle the bold and dry flavors of standard wines, you should definitely go for port wines. With every sip, you can taste the sweet flavors that will stay on your taste buds forever. Buy your favorite bottle of port wine, grab a wine glass and have a sip while enjoying your meal!

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