How to Store Port Wine

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Port wine is demanding. Decant vintage, but not late-bottled or tawny, port. Don't rush the uncorking, as port corks often crumble. Pour through a wine funnel to trap sediment. Don't even consider using an improper glass and failing to allow the port to breathe, lest you risk losing its sinfully delicious bouquet of chocolate, dried currant, red pepper and toasted oak that makes all this coddling worthwhile. Proper storing takes more effort than proper enjoying, and is just as integral to the experience. Port likes a dark room that's not too hot and not too cold, with enough humidity to keep its cork moist.

For the Casual

Wrap the port in a thick towel with a small unopened packet of silica gel on top of the cork; you can buy silica gel at most supermarket and warehouse stores, or salvage a packet from a vitamin bottle or shipping box. The gel absorbs the ambient moisture before it gets to the cork. Set the wrapped bottle in a closet or cupboard -- on its side -- in a room that maintains a temperature between 55 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit; if you have a vintage bottle, you can go as high as 66 F. If you live in an arid region, set an open bowl of water in the cupboard alongside the bottle to achieve optimal humidity. Vintage ports are naturally sedimented from aging; never disturb these gems while they're resting to keep the sediment on the side of the bottle.