Vintage Port makes up approximately what percent of all the Port made?
A. About 5%
B. About 10%
C. About 15%
D. About 18%
Vintage Port is the most renowned style of Port, and it’s also one of the rarest styles, constituting just 3% to 6% of all the Port made in any given year. Vintage Port is made only in exceptional years when Port shippers “declare” a vintage. All of the grapes in the blend will come only from that vintage, and only from the very top vineyards.
Vintage Ports are first aged just two years in barrel, to round off their powerful edges. Then—and this is the key—they are aged for a long time in the bottle. During bottle aging, the vintage Port matures slowly, becoming progressively more refined and integrated. A decade’s worth of aging is standard, and several decades used to be fairly common. Indeed, Ports from the 1950s are still amazingly lively on the palate (the 1955 Cockburn’s is one of the most hauntingly delicious wines I have ever tasted or felt . . . it was sheer silk).
To maintain the intensity, balance, and richness of vintage Port, it is neither fined nor filtered. This, coupled with the fact that Port grapes have thick skins and a lot of tannin, means that vintage Port throws a great deal of sediment, and always needs to be decanted. Finally, in the years a shipper chooses not to declare a year as vintage quality, the grapes that would have gone into vintage Port are often used to make a single Quinta Port.