Drinking time: Portugal’s favourite tipple

Buyers looking for dessert wine options beyond Sauternes for the upcoming festivities may wish to consider another Christmas favourite: Port. Although a perennially minor player when viewed in terms of trade share, Port offers consistent quality and one of the lowest entry points into the fine wine market. A combination of falling prices and rising activity in the months before Christmas is only benefitting drinkers further this season.

Compared to the broader market, the Port story is not one of investment gains. Over the past five years, the Port 50 index, which tracks the price performance of Dow, Taylor’s, Fonseca, Warre and Graham, has risen just 2.2%. Year-to-date, the index is down 6%, while the Liv-ex 100 is up 2.6% and the Bordeaux 500 – 2.5%.

Port prices tend to rise on the back of critical acclaim i.e. Dow 2007 (JS 100, “without a doubt the best Dow Vintage Port ever”) and Dow 2011 (Wine Spectator’s 2014 wine of the year), and for older vintages as supply starts to diminish. As supplies remain intact for longer, prices languish, offering incredible value to those who love the famous tipple.

For instance, Taylor’s 1994, which features in the top five most active Ports in 2020, is just 10% more expensive than it was ten years ago. The highly praised (JR 18+) Graham 2007, released in the UK eleven years ago at £380, is still available today at £420. One can buy the 1983 (JR 18) at a mere £680 per case.

As the Port market continues to expand – the number of distinct wines traded (LWIN11) is up 103% over the past five years – buyers have plenty of vintages to ponder this year.