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What is the Best Christmas Port?

Fun and Games

, 2019

We tried 6 of the most common ruby ports, so you don’t have to!

Every year in December, as supermarkets slash their Port prices I am once again spoilt for choice on delicious discount port. I mean, who buys Port at full price in the Summer? It doesn’t make sense, but I’ll take it! But take which one? We picked six of the most commonly discounted supermarket ports in December for about £10 each and compared them. We looked for taste and experience differences. Now, being similar price scale ruby ports made in the same region in a very similar way, I didn’t know what to expect. But I do know, I won’t have to worry about which port to buy in the future. Onto the results!

Had they intended it to be a one sitting bottle? Perhaps so.

Cockburn’s

Firstly, no Libby, it’s pronunciation is ‘Co-burns’. And onto the serious part: This is a nice bottle, good pour, no drips. Synthetic Tasting Cork (the kind of cork with a plastic grip at the top for easy opening and re-sealing). Sweet, fruity, flavour stays in the mouth briefly after swallowing. Very nice. I thought it had a bitter/savoury note in there too, but not everyone agreed.

Warre’s

Very similar to the Cockburn’s, : Good pour, no drips. Synthetic tasting cork. Sweeter than Cockburns. Richer, even syrupy! Flavour stays in the mouth longer too. But very nice.

Graham’s

Good pour, no drips. Synthetic tasting cork. We all identified Plum to it’s fruit bouquet. And perhaps smoother, someone thought they could taste barrel aging, but I won’t categorically agree. It definitely did well all round.

Dow’s

This porty port was very familiar. Actually coming in at the cheapest of all the ports in this study at £7. Synthetic tasting cork, but I don’t know if this is bottle design or my technique at this advanced stage, but it dripped while pouring! Very sweet and tasty in all the right ways, but a shorter finish. I like the clean finish, but I can’t say it’s as rich as some of the others.

Sandeman

The most expensive in the study, £13! And that money didn’t go on cork, it was a mere synthetic cork with no plastic grip. Had they intended it to be a one sitting bottle? Perhaps so. The bottle had a good weight too it, but alas there were drips again. We’ve opened Gustos (Romanian Wotsits) at this point, as a palate cleanser and scientific accuracy device. So I don’t think I was at fault for the drippy pour. Very rich Port, slightly peppery or spicy perhaps. Complex someone said. Definitely more going on here in the flavour department for a humble ruby port.

Taylor’s

Good Bottle, good pour. Synthetic tasting cork. Full flavoured, very sweet, dark fruit flavours and nothing complicated about it. It tasted smoother than the others and had a long finish. This was a smooth, easy ride.

Consensus

We all very unscientifically preferred Taylor’s! However, when it came to guess which it was blind (with unlabelled glasses) none of us could. 😣 So I have to say if you are in this price bracket you can’t go wrong. All the big named ruby port is delicious, fruity and familiar! But the Taylors was a good pour. One thing they did all have in common that surprised me, is that they were all synthetic corks. This is because although Portugal once supplied the majority of the world’s corks, it’s cork tree woodlands have been receding in recent years. And therefore, to protect their environment I think it’s great that synthetic corks are so prevalent! Anyways, We hope you all have a fantastic Christmas, and enjoy a well picked Port. 🍷