John Szabo’s Buyer’s Guide to Port

by John Szabo, MS

As we wind towards holiday season and the short days and long, cool nights of winter, thoughts turn to comfort. And one of the classic “comfort foods” of the wine world is surely Port, that inimitable fortified wine from Portugal’s Douro Valley, with centuries-old winemaking traditions and one of the world’s first great export successes. Together with the Port and Douro Wines Institute, we’ve put together a two-part guide to everything you ever wanted to know about this singular region and the glorious multiplicity of wine styles produced therein. Part I is a look at the region itself, the spectacular topography and vineyard architecture that’s really unlike anywhere else, and the physical conditions that make Port unique. Part II covers the basics of winemaking, and most importantly, describes the various styles of Port, and practical advice on which should age, which can be drunk on release, and how to enjoy them and with which foods. Below is my Port Wine Buyer’s Guide, fruit of a recent tasting at WineAlign headquarters with the entire crü of over 35 wines, all currently in market. Need a heart-warming value, special holiday gift, or bottle to commemorate the birth of a child or celebrate a future marriage? We’ve got you covered.

Part I: Reading History Through the Vines

Part II: Port Winemaking & Styles

Here is a link to all the wines reviewed at the WineAlign HQ Port tasting.

Click on the wine links below to see reviews from John and the entire crü.

Ruby/Ruby Reserve

89 Taylor Fladgate First Estate Reserve Port ($17.55) Sylvestre Wines & Spirits

88 Fonseca Bin No. 27 Reserve Port ($16.95) Family Wine Merchants

Tawny/Tawny Reserve

89 Niepoort Tawny Port ($17.95) Le Sommelier Inc.

88 Ferreira Dona Antonia Reserva Tawny Port ($19.75) Authentic Wines & Spirits

Age-Indicated Tawny

95 Taylor Fladgate 20 Year Old Tawny Port ($69.95) Sylvestre Wines & Spirits

94 Taylor Fladgate 10 Year Old Tawny Port ($35.95) Sylvestre Wines & Spirits

94 Burmester 10 Year Old Tawny Port ($29.95) Eurovintage Wines & Spirits

93 C. Da Silva Dalva 10 Year Old Tawny Port ($39.95) The Case For Wine

91 Graham’s 10 Year Old Tawny Port ($30.00) Mark Anthony Wines & Spirits

91 Graham’s 20 Year Old Tawny Port (500ml) ($40.00) Mark Anthony Wines & Spirits

90 Warre’s Otima 10 Year Old Port (500ml) ($19.00) Dionysus Wines & Spirits Ltd.


93 Poças Colheita Port 2003 “Aged in Cask” ($45.95) MAJESTIC WINE CELLARS

93 Dalva Colheita Port 1995 ($51.95) The Case For Wine

Late Bottled Vintage

92 Warre’s Late Bottled Vintage Port 2007 ($36.95) Dionysus Wines & Spirits Ltd.

91 Dalva Late Bottled Vintage Porto “Bottle Matured” 2002 ($40.20) The Case For Wine

90 Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage Port 2015 ($18.90) Sylvestre Wines & Spirits


96 Dow’s Vintage Port 2017 ($129.00) Churchill Cellars Ltd.

96 Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port 2018 (375ml) ($81.00) Sylvestre Wines & Spirits

96 Croft Vintage Port 2016 (375ml) ($79.00) Sylvestre Wines & Spirits

94 Fonseca Guimaraens Vintage Port 2018 (375ml) ($157.95) Family Wine Merchants

92 Delaforce Vintage Port 2007 ($53.75) BREAKTHRU BEVERAGE CANADA INC.

91 Quinta Das Carvalhas Vintage Port 2015 ($75.00) N/A



92 Niepoort Crusted Port ($31.20) Le Sommelier

This feature was commissioned by the Port and Douro Wines Institute. As a regular feature, WineAlign tastes wines submitted by a single winery, agent or region. Our writers independently, as always, taste, review and rate the wines – good, bad and indifferent, and those reviews are posted on WineAlign. We then independently recommend wines to appear in the article. Wineries, wine agents, or regions pay for this service. Ads for some wines may appear at the same time, but the decision on which wines to put forward in our report, and its content, is entirely up to WineAlign.