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Opening Vintage Port

Because port ages for a long time in bottle, the corks of vintage port bottles are often old, crumbly and hard to remove. Vintage port has to be decanted, and so the cork must be removed when the bottle is horizontal. Alternatively, stand the bottle upright tor 48 hours before decanting to allow the crust, or deposit, to fall to the bottom. Sometimes getting the cork out can require unusual measures. Port tongs are the traditional solution. These long-handled metal tongs fit neatly around the bottle neck. The ends are heated in a fire until red-hot, then clamped around the bottle neck. After a minute, moisture is applied with a wet rag. The neck should crack cleanly below the cork. This is not a method for the novice.

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