Top 10 iconic Port vintages of the last century


“An apotheosis of vintage,” wine writer Chantal Lecouty is said to have declared. The Symington family like to introduce it as, “a monumental vintage of legendary proportions that needs no introduction. One of the 20th Century’s finest. A vintage Port against which all others are judged.”

The year was apparently “perfect” in every way. Bridge describes Taylor’s as having “Burgundian richness” with “dark chocolate”, “cigar box” and “slightly medicinal” characteristics.

There seems to be no praise high enough for 1963 and with its 50th anniversary approaching next year, now might be a good time to try and pick it up.

Barne notes that “anniversary years” usually see a surge in interest for the respective vintage – no matter what the region. But, as noted before, the older the anniversary the less reliable bottles of Bordeaux and Burgundy become – which is not the case with Port.

‘There’s no claret from ’63 worth drinking,” thinks Barne, “ and even though a lot of the ’63 Ports have been drunk we still see a bit of it at auction. I haven’t noticed a big rise yet but I expect a flutter.”

Equally, the other good vintages from the 1960s (see below) are apparently rising in value as prices for the 1963 reach a plateau.

“There’s been a fast increase in the value of the 1960s, three years ago you could hardly give them away but because of the much higher price of the 63s, the 60s have been catching up,” he states.

He cites the example of 11 bottles of Noval 1960 which recently sold for £575, which only a few years ago would have been snapped up for £300.

Other vintages of note: 1960, 1966

6 Responses to “Top 10 iconic Port vintages of the last century”

  1. Roy Hersh says:

    I enjoyed the read, but wanted to make one correction. Although the labels on Noval’s Nacional bottlings were wrong when they included mentioned the vines were pre-Phylloxera on bottlings including the 1931, the truth is, they were not and are not pre-Phylloxera as they were replanted in 1925. This error finally was corrected on all Nacional labels as of the 1994 vintage.

    Roy Hersh

  2. Michael Cox says:

    I very much joy these posts on vintage wines (ports.


    Michael Cox
    Burlington, Ontario, CANADA L7N3B3

  3. David Nell says:

    Roy do you have any comments on the 1961 Monis Port, 300th Anniversary of Paarl, South Africa. Done in a beautiful ceramic decanter to commemorate the tercentenery of Paarl..

  4. Roy Hersh says:


    While I have spent a considerable amount of time in So. Africa circa 2001-2003, I have not been back since then, unfortunately. I did visit several producers of port whilst there. But I am not familiar with Monis, nor the 1961 bottling you refer to. I have had ports in So. Africa back to 1924 KWV tawny; but not Monis, so I cannot provide any assistance in this case. Sorry about that.

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