Three Good Reasons to Drink Reserve Ruby Port

Comparing Reserve Ruby PortsFor those who are just beginning with Port wine exploration or even for the serious enthusiast, this is a very solid category of Port. Here are 3 good reasons for buying this type of Port regardless of your level of wine knowledge or discretionary income.

1. Value for the Money

Between a basic Ruby Port and LBV, comes this fine category of what used to be called "Vintage Character Port". It was ultimately deemed by the trade to be too confusing to consumers. In 2005, nomenclature changes took place and the IVDP renamed this category Ruby Reserve (and/or Reserve Ruby). Pricing on these Ports is quite reasonable and provides a LOT of drinking pleasure in a Port that should sell at retail within the $12-$18 range. On a given evening or at a time when Vintage Port, TWAIOA (Tawnies with an indication of age) or a fine glass of Colheita is not possible, or even something less expensive is desired -- these Ruby Reserve Ports make for very easy sippers and are also great to cook with.

2. Quality

Why open a Reserve Ruby when you can get a far more serious Port by opening a Vintage Port or 20 year old Tawny, (to name just two other great categories of Ports)? It is simple. you don't eat steak every night because it would lose its speciality and become routine. Diversity is good. Same with this category of Port too, mix it up on a weeknight after a rough day at work, or pour a glass to enjoy with your dinner.  What is better than just having a glass of Port while surfing the web, watching a fun flick on TV or listening to some fine music?

3. Convenience

On a moment's notice you can pick up a bottle at a wine shop or even most grocery stores that have a wine section. Then again, you may keep some bottles of Ruby Reserve/Reserve Ruby (terms are interchangeable) at home as "cellar defenders." Within this category of Port you really don't have to worry about sediment unless you've forgotten a bottle for a decade or more, at which time there may be some small amount of sediment that has precipitated out. Regardless, this is the kind of Port you can open any time you'd like, without any prior thought or preparation. It is best served just a few degrees cooler than room temp, so I suggest putting it into your refrigerator for 5-10 minutes, (unless it was removed from a temperature controled wine cellar). If you prefer and/or time does not permit prior planning at all, simply serve it at room temp. These Ports don't need much air time, although I have found that some can be slightly spirity early on. By the 2nd or 3rd day nearly all will improve slightly, often gaining a little more body weight and they may seem more well-balanced and with greater depth.

Reserve Ruby Ports

Here are a half dozen tried and true bottlings to seek out, in no particular order:

By | 2016-11-18T10:23:04+00:00 October 10th, 2016|Categories: Featured, Port Basics, Roys Blog|Tags: |9 Comments


  1. Celia C September 1, 2014 at 13:12

    For any Aussies out there, the Cockburn Special Reserve is available at Dan Murphy’s for $11.99/half bottle. I’ll be picking up one to try on my next visit – thanks Roy! 🙂

  2. Mahmoud Ali October 27, 2014 at 17:58

    Points well made Roy – I too find these ports useful and convenient. It is uncomfortable for me to open a port that requires a considerable decant to show itself and many of the better LBVs do need it. Interestingly the Cockburn LBV is less expensive here than many of the ports you have on your list and recently sale priced for only $15. It’s very slurpable.

  3. Mahmoud Ali October 28, 2014 at 00:33

    I shoudl have said “it’s uncomfortable for me to open a port on short notice when the port requires time in the decanter.” Decanting itself is not uncomfortable – I’m quite used to it.


    • Roy Hersh October 28, 2014 at 22:49

      I am not sure why in Alberta that Cockburn’s LBV is less expensive as I’ve not come across it when visiting each year for the past decade. However, at $15 per bottle, that is one heck of a great price and I don’t blame you for buying it early and often.

      As for decanting on short notice, I knew exactly what you meant. It is at times like those that I will typically opt for a bottle of Tawny Port with an indication of age, or a Colheita. Either of which can be opened and poured immediately; or will show well with a rather brief time in decanter (Colheitas).

  4. Mahmoud Ali November 13, 2014 at 01:20

    Roy, I’m not sure either. It’s usually in the $20 range but at the outlest I was at it was reduced from a high of $22 to $15 – so I jumped. It’s almost too cheap and it gets drunk all too fast- I bought a dozen, of both the ’07 and ’08, and all I have left are 3 bottles. Waah!!

  5. Jan Erik Rasmussen October 10, 2016 at 12:56

    Remember both LBV and reserve ruby ​​port is fantastic to braisering fluid when cooking…

  6. Roy Hersh October 10, 2016 at 12:59

    Hi Jan,

    Yes, Ruby Ports can certainly deliver excellent flavors for cooking!

  7. Matthew Ford December 18, 2016 at 00:21

    Very good points all around, Roy. I appreciate the insight!

  8. J Liu December 31, 2016 at 13:38

    I’m also a huge fan of Ferreira’s Dona Antonia and Ramos Pinto’s Collector reserve rubies. Those are actually two of my favorites, for the money.

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