Port for cheapskates

Before you chastise me, I did try a search but didn’t find a topic on this exact subject. newhere As a “for the guys” after dinner treat, a couple friends have brought nice bottles of Port for some male bonding over darts and cigars. Some of these are very flavorful, almost like brandy. The problem comes in when a Google search shows they cost $80 or more. Can I get some recommendations for more affordable options? Are there $15 - $35 bottles that aren’t harsh?

Any help is much appreciated. [cheers.gif]

Port is fortified with brandy like spirits, thus the brandy notes. Vintage Ports that are aged enough to mellow are going to be over $35/bottle, but just today I picked up an excellent Kopke 10 y.o. tawny for less than $30. You can generally get 10 yr. tawny in your stated range.

P Hickner

My absolutely favorite low cost Port is the Quinta do Infantado Ruby Port. Should be under $20 in most stores.

Ruby: fruity
Tawny: Aged in wood
LBV: Late Bottle Vintage

The Otima Porto (10 years old), Grahams Six Grapes (fruity), and the Fonseca LBV bottles cover fairly different styles - all at reasonable prices.

Penfolds Club Port. It’s an Australian Tawny Port. There has been a bottle of it next to my chair at home for that finale after dinner for 13 years. We sell it for $15.99, so it should be available in your area for between $15 and $20 dollars. It’s a no-brainer.

Quinto Do Noval, Noval Black. Non Vintage vintage like ruby port, $19 to $25 dollars. Got some accolades too.

2011 Carvalhas LBV is very good, for anywhere between $16-20. Drinks above its price point.

Sometimes one can pick up Banyuls for about the same price, and they are similar.

Port in general is a very neglected category of wine, so one will get a lot value there than in the glamour regions.

One doesn’t have to pay much of a premium to trade up from Ruby to LBV, and there are some good vintages on the market.

The Almighty will smite my wicked tongue for saying this, but Mark Squires, cursed with ugly shirts and a quick to excommunicate temper, actually follows the region well, and my palate lines up with his.

Echoing Randy’s slant on this request. If you’re willing to not be a stickler for technicalities, I’d look towards Australia as well. One of my favorites (although it used to be better 10 years ago) is the Hardy’S Whiskers Blake Tawny. Used to carry a 7 year age statement, not sure if it still does.

I don’t have a great range of real port (by that I mean stuff from Portugal) available in my market but my go to cheaper port tends to be the Taylor’s LBV which I am able to get from my local Costco for about AU $23. I’d expect that would be lower in the US.
LBVs or Ruby reserves like the Grahams Six grapes or Cockburns Special Reserve tend to provide pretty good QPR .
Personally I don’t particularly enjoy young tawnies, but some of the 10 year olds are probably worth a look if you are into that sort of thing. If I want something Australian in that price range, I’d probably go for a muscat instead.

Had some great LBVs : '92 Warre, soft and mellow. '96 Grahams, sweet, round, power. -Still some in the cellar, I think… Gotta drink them this Christmas…
Taylor and Fonseca, also very fine LBVs.

Great with Stilton and Shropshire cheeses.
[cheers.gif] , Soren.

Soren, I am with you on cellaring LBV for a few years…especially Dows, Noval, Taylor Fladgate.
Have to say the Shropshire looks good [cheers.gif] .

Based on some of the replies in this discussion and a search last night of other threads on Port combined with a fair amount of Googling, a visit will be paid to 2 local liquor stores to pick up a sample bottle of the following:

Quinta do Infantado Tawny Port
Quinta do Infantado Ruby Port
Penfolds Club Port
Quinta das Carvalhas Reserva Tawny Port

There’s only so much drinking one man can do, so some other suggestions will have to wait. From what it sounds like, the Late Bottle Vintage Port needs some time to age so I’ll forgo that until after a few bottles for immediate consumption are ferreted out. I am familiar with Graham’s and enjoyed their 10 year Tawny. It’s at the upper limit of my comfort zone though, so hopefully some of these less expensive options will satisfy both the skinflint and novice port lover in me.

Thanks everyone!

Jan, the LBV is meant to be consumed when released (aged by producer), -but they can survive in the cellar…
Get at least one good LBV, to try.


I’m not sure about current pricing, but single Quinta Ports in non- declared years are worth a look.

Noval Black, mentions above, is very good for the price.

Depends on where you live. If you are near a Trader Joe’s wine store, they have a port from Portugal, I think I is even a vintage bottling, that they have bottled for them at about $20 that is solid but not spectacular.

There are a lot of third tier houses that make good stuff. I got a case of Passoduoro vintage port 1997 at auction, cost me about $30, that was outstanding. You can get stuff from lower tier houses that is very good.

If you want to take one step up you can get the second tier ports of the major houses for under $50. I like Quinta de Vargellas, which is the “second” wine of Taylor that is made when they think that the vintage is not good enough to make their top level port. It is the same wine from the same grape made just about the same way, but from a lesser vintage. I have the 1995 and it is very close in quality to the Tete de Cuvée, or whatever they call it in port.

Taylor 20 year Tawny is the sweet spot for my tastes at about $35 ish for a 750. More complex than the 10 year. The 30/40 years aren’t worth the step up in price IMHO for the more subtle taste difference.

If you don’t like the Infantado, don’t give up on Port. They are not what I’d consider the best examples to try in their respective classes…especially for a basic ruby and tawny. Matter of fact, best to avoid the basic ruby’s and tawny’s all together IMO. For a couple dollars more you can get some really good QPR Reserve Tawny’s and Reserve Ruby’s. OR some ready to drink filtered LBV’s.

And most LBV’s are bottled fined/filtered and don’t require aging. The ones listed as Unfiltered on the label (or if not on the label they tend to use driven corks and not the plastic t-corks) tend to be better with a little bit of bottle age but don’t require it. Just make sure to decant a few hours ahead if you’re going to drink the unfiltered ones young.

Carvalhas (Which is Royal Oporto/Real Compahnia Velha) has really started to make a turn around. Their Ports are still lagging behind some of the other big houses (Graham’s, Fonseca, etc) but they are getting there. Their Douro wines are killing it right now. Awesome dry wines for the price…in case you are looking for some nice Douro dry wines.

If you can find the 2009 Taylor LBV grab a bottle. It is usually around $20 and it is very good.


Another vote for the Noval Black. Really nice value.

In my opinion, if you are willing to pay $35, cough up an extra $15 and buy 20-year old Graham’s Tawny port - you won’t be disappointed.