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Old 02-10-2006, 09:21 PM posted to alt.food.wine
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Default Vintage port - leaky bottle : (

Hello,

We were given a bottle of very old port as a gift a while ago, but we
haven't stored it very well (it's just been on it's side in our dining
room, at room temperature) and although the old cork has been
additionally sealed with wax, we've noticed that unfortunately it
appears to have been leaking slightly : (

I'd just really like to know if this probably means it's already
wrecked - is a leaky bottle generally a show stopper for old port? We
were kindof saving it for a special occasion, but does this leak mean
we might as well quit while we're ahead and open it ASAP at our next
dinner party, or if we try and seal it further with more wax might it
last a short while longer? (if this might help, would regular candle
wax do the trick?)

Any advice appreciated as I believe this is a really nice bottle and
was slightly devastated when I noticed it leaking!

many thanks
nicola


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Old 02-10-2006, 09:53 PM posted to alt.food.wine
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Default Vintage port - leaky bottle : (

wrote:
Hello,

We were given a bottle of very old port as a gift a while ago, but we
haven't stored it very well (it's just been on it's side in our dining
room, at room temperature) and although the old cork has been
additionally sealed with wax, we've noticed that unfortunately it
appears to have been leaking slightly : (

I'd just really like to know if this probably means it's already
wrecked - is a leaky bottle generally a show stopper for old port? We
were kindof saving it for a special occasion, but does this leak mean
we might as well quit while we're ahead and open it ASAP at our next
dinner party, or if we try and seal it further with more wax might it
last a short while longer? (if this might help, would regular candle
wax do the trick?)

Any advice appreciated as I believe this is a really nice bottle and
was slightly devastated when I noticed it leaking!


Interesting question, Nicola. I think that it would help to know what
exactly you've got: how old, and what kind of Port? If it's vintage
Port, it can age for many decades and still be quite robust. OTOH, if
you mean a vintage Port from before WW II, or if it's a Ruby or Tawny
Port, the story is different. I'd suspect from your description that it
is a vintage Port (not many Rubies or Tawnies are sealed by wax AFAIK).
To answer the question, no, leakage is not a sure-fire sign of
ruination, but a fragile (older) wine may be heat damaged. In any case,
I'd probably open it sooner rather than later but you'll get a better
and more informed answer if you can provide more information about the wine.

HTH
Mark Lipton
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Old 02-10-2006, 10:40 PM posted to alt.food.wine
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Default Vintage port - leaky bottle : (

Many thanks for your help Mark

We don't exactly know what it is because it was unlabeled (long story)
but we were actually given two bottles, and on opening the first all
the cork said was 'Oporto Cabral 1877' and we believe the second might
be the same thing. The bottle was sealed with an old, short cork and
had black wax over the top. The first bottle was fantastic, so you can
imagine my reaction when I noticed the second one leaking...!!

Do you think we've got a bottle of vinegar on our hands? (and while I'm
here does 'Oporto Cabral' mean anything to you, as it's a bit of a
mystery to us!)


Mark Lipton wrote:

wrote:
Hello,

We were given a bottle of very old port as a gift a while ago, but we
haven't stored it very well (it's just been on it's side in our dining
room, at room temperature) and although the old cork has been
additionally sealed with wax, we've noticed that unfortunately it
appears to have been leaking slightly : (

I'd just really like to know if this probably means it's already
wrecked - is a leaky bottle generally a show stopper for old port? We
were kindof saving it for a special occasion, but does this leak mean
we might as well quit while we're ahead and open it ASAP at our next
dinner party, or if we try and seal it further with more wax might it
last a short while longer? (if this might help, would regular candle
wax do the trick?)

Any advice appreciated as I believe this is a really nice bottle and
was slightly devastated when I noticed it leaking!


Interesting question, Nicola. I think that it would help to know what
exactly you've got: how old, and what kind of Port? If it's vintage
Port, it can age for many decades and still be quite robust. OTOH, if
you mean a vintage Port from before WW II, or if it's a Ruby or Tawny
Port, the story is different. I'd suspect from your description that it
is a vintage Port (not many Rubies or Tawnies are sealed by wax AFAIK).
To answer the question, no, leakage is not a sure-fire sign of
ruination, but a fragile (older) wine may be heat damaged. In any case,
I'd probably open it sooner rather than later but you'll get a better
and more informed answer if you can provide more information about the wine.

HTH
Mark Lipton


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Old 02-10-2006, 11:12 PM posted to alt.food.wine
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Default Vintage port - leaky bottle : (

wrote:

We don't exactly know what it is because it was unlabeled (long story)
but we were actually given two bottles, and on opening the first all
the cork said was 'Oporto Cabral 1877' and we believe the second might
be the same thing. The bottle was sealed with an old, short cork and
had black wax over the top. The first bottle was fantastic, so you can
imagine my reaction when I noticed the second one leaking...!!


OK. Yes, this is an old vintage Port, but (assuming that Cabral was the
producer) not a producer whose name I am familiar with (note that I'm
nothing like an expert on Port, so my lack of familiarity means next to
nothing). Someone more knowledgeable about Port might chime in to
provide a more educated opinion.


Do you think we've got a bottle of vinegar on our hands? (and while I'm
here does 'Oporto Cabral' mean anything to you, as it's a bit of a
mystery to us!)


No, it won't be vinegar. At worst, it'll just taste flat and tired,
with little to no flavor or maybe thin and acidic. But, chances are
that the leakage just resulted from a spike in temperature that
increased the internal pressure of the bottle enough to force out some
wine. However, that does allow the ingress of some oxygen, so your Port
may have suffered a bit. As I said before, consume it sooner rather
than later and be prepared for the worst case by having something else
handy to drink instead should it prove to be over the hill.

(BTW, it's my understanding that vintage Port from that era didn't have
any labels on the bottle. Even today, most don't. Usually, the year
and producer are stenciled on the bottle to avoid mold destroying the
label during the years when it lies in a dank, humid cellar).

Have fun with the bottle, and if you can let us know how it is when you
*do* open it (it's not every day one hears of a 129-year-old bottle of
wine!)

Mark Lipton
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Old 03-10-2006, 02:35 AM posted to alt.food.wine
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Join Date: Feb 2006
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Default Vintage port - leaky bottle : (

In article .com, spud98765
@hotmail.com says...

Hello,

We were given a bottle of very old port as a gift a while ago, but we
haven't stored it very well (it's just been on it's side in our dining
room, at room temperature) and although the old cork has been
additionally sealed with wax, we've noticed that unfortunately it
appears to have been leaking slightly : (

I'd just really like to know if this probably means it's already
wrecked - is a leaky bottle generally a show stopper for old port? We
were kindof saving it for a special occasion, but does this leak mean
we might as well quit while we're ahead and open it ASAP at our next
dinner party, or if we try and seal it further with more wax might it
last a short while longer? (if this might help, would regular candle
wax do the trick?)

Any advice appreciated as I believe this is a really nice bottle and
was slightly devastated when I noticed it leaking!

many thanks
nicola


I'm with Mark all the way on this one. Until post-WWII, most Port was bottled
away from the lodge and was often labeled with the hotel, the restaurant, or
the importer. I do not know this producer, but there have been quite a few
changes in the houses over the centuries.

As for your Port, it might still be holding its own, regardless of the
leakage. However, it could, as Dr Lipton states, be heat damaged. Port is a
very durable wine and can withstand quite a bit of mishandling, though one
should NOT mishandle it.

As an example, I have had most of the Taylor-Fladgate Vintage Ports from the
'30s, except for the '55. In London, the club was opening a bottle and offered
me a glass. Hey, the '55, finally!! I noticed the stains on the label. I
helped the wine steward extract the cork. She poured my glass, and it looked
like a Tawney. Hm-m-m, not a good sign. It smelled maderized a bit (burnt
pecans, almonds, caramel, that sort of thing), but I tasted it. It was very
similar to either a Tawney, or a Madeira, but NOT a Vintage Port. It was OK,
just not what I had been waiting for. Too bad. To this day, I still have not
had the '55, but I'm off to London again, so there still might be a chance...

Good luck, and experience it for what it is now, especially as you have had
the opportunity to taste it without the heat (or other) damage.

Hunt



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