Thursday, May 19, 2011


- Barossa Valley/South Australia?
- $50-$60 (Auction)
- Cork
- Alcohol not stated

Australia has a long, rich history of fortified wine production, written into the books by brands who now reside as household names. Old Ports from Hardys, Penfolds, Seppeltsfield and Yalumba still hold their presence on the secondary market, but more importantly, they constitute a living, drinkable memory of Australia's wine past.

It's slightly unnerving drinking a wine that's older than you. It's kinda like drinking your dad; with respect. When opened and ready to go, this 42 year old Vintage Port presents warm and inviting, if piercing and vaporous scents, with an air of sharp volatility providing an aerial kick to its deeper set notes of raisin dominated, spicy fruitcake with cranberries and crushed nuts. Oh yeah, there's alcohol aplenty in there as well. Its wonderfully captivating palate presents an unsurprisingly rich array of honeyed fruitcake flavours, held into place by an ever present aura of spiky, warming spirit, that sets itself in from first touch and never lets go, before revealing hints of green olive and oily nuts in its spirit infused, rather sticky climax.

ü There's so much to appreciate about drinking a 42 year old bottle of wine, that scoring it almost seems inappropriate. Realistically, I don't see any reason why the 1969 Yalumba Vintage Port wouldn't last another 10 or 20 years, but I'd drink to that! Drink to 2019.
90 points


  1. So much value to be had here. When I first discovered auctions I went nuts. 1970s America's Cup boxed set for my yachtie dad, refilled and recorked by Hardy's for no fee, say what you will about multinationals but that was a really nice touch. Australian Prime Ministers and Melbourne Cup winners sets in wooden boxes for around $6 per bottle. That's just criminal. I just wish winter in Sydney was longer!

  2. So true! We also picked up a 1976 Yalumba Thoroughbred Series Port, for a shade over $12 recently. I don't think too many retail sold $12 fortifieds could match that for value!

  3. For $12 at retail I think you're generally looking at a flagon of cream sherry. I just need to clarify though that I don't know this from experience!

  4. I had my first and second wines that were older than me this year (both fortifieds, a 72 Stanton and Killeen and a 67 Taylors Quinta de Vargellas) that I also picked up at Auction. What is very apparent is how different the Australian interpretation of port is from the real version. I do get the feeling that the old Australian port styles that I have had are pretty much indestructable! There are some bargains to be had at the auctions

  5. Paul,

    I do have to agree with you about some of these old Ports possibly being indestructible. I put a drinking window to 2019 for this wine mainly because it happens to be its 50th birthday, but honestly, I couldn't really see it getting any better, or worse for that matter - for a very long time!

    Quite special really.

    Chris P

  6. p.s. it's certainly made me a bit unsure what to do with the '76 (which I considered a drink now prospect previous to consuming the '69), but curiosity will probably see it getting drunk at some point over the next few months anyway :)

  7. There is only one answer for that, go buy some more at auction. I don't know whether it is the colder weather but there does seem to be a bit more port around. I'll be considering anything from the 70s drink now as I need something to drink while I'm waiting for my portuguese ports to get old enough. I generally can't afford the portuguese one from the 70s!