Opening and keeping Vintage Port wine

Vintage Port wines are some of the most incredible wines I have ever drunk. Their aromas are unique, they can age for a very long time, they are good value (even 40 years after they have been made!) and even after opening a bottle, they can keep (in the right conditions) for a month or more in your cellar... I personnally don't know many wines with so many qualities. However, their reputation has slowly faded and they were almost forgotten in the 90's. But it seems, they are slowly making a come back and should you decide to open a bottle one day, here is how you can get the best out of it.

Opening the bottle: Before you decide to open the bottle, place it upright for a few hours in your cellar to help the sediment to settle at the bottom rather than the side. Do not shake or move the bottle too quickly in order to avoid the solids to mix too much in the wine.
Remove the foil entirely and assess the quality of the cork. Depending on the age of your bottle, they will be more or less damp. With very old Port (over 50 or 60 years old), the cork might drop in the bottle as you try to screw the bottle opener. Don't worry it is normal. (In this case, you will not be able to use the bottle for double decanting, unless you manage with water to catch the cork and push it out of the bottle)
If you can pull it, do it ever so slowly and re screw the pig's tail of the bottle opener to give some guidance to the fragile cork.

Filtering: Once the bottle is opened, you will need to filter the solids using a funnel and a fine metalic filter. (if you don't have one, a white paper napekin can also do the job. Try not to use a coffee filter as they remove too much colour and flavours)
Pour slowly the Port wine from the bottle to the decanter until all solids and liquid are out. The end of it is usually just a black paste, but it contains some very flavoursome wine.

Double Decanting: Once the wine is decanted, rinse the bottle with cold tap water. Do it a few times to ensure nothing is left in the bottle. Pour back the Port wine from the decanter to the bottle. The reason you want to keep it in the bottle and not the decanter, is that Port bottles are opaque and thick which keeps best the wine away from light. It also limits the air contact which starts oxidation.
For closure, I use plastic vaccum stopper. They allow you to pump the air out in a few seconds and seal perfectly the bottle.
With this technique, you can enjoy your Port up to 1 month or more!!!

QC