I was talking about ports with my dad, and he doesn't really know anything about them (ok, he just plain doesn't know anything about ports) and he suggested talking to my uncle E. My uncle is a sommelier - and on his way to being a certified master sommelier. I forget the exact title, but there are supposedly less than 100 certified [whatever he is]'s in the entire world. So he knows his shit.
Anyways, my dad decided to call him for me and ask, and so I got to talking to him. And while he gave me several recommendations, his specialty's not port, as he owns and runs a restaurant and so he focuses mostly on reds and whites, since that's what people drink with their dinner, y'know. (An interesting tidbit - he apparently tastes 10-15 new wines per week to keep up with things. And he's tasted dozens of ports, but didn't have his notes handy. So he could only give me 5 or 6 recommendations. Bugger. *cough*) But one thing he did mention is that I should check out Wine Spectator, as they're apparently one of the better magazines and companion websites for this sort of thing.
So I did.
And I pulled together a list of the 6 highest-rated $30-and-under ports from the past year of reviews.
And guess what? The port I normally drink, the Taylor Fladgate 10 year Tawny, is 3rd on that list, with a rating of 91/100 and a normal price of $29/bottle. It outranks many bottles of twice its price (or more). So, boo yah, I say. I may know almost nothing (about wines, ahem) but I do have good taste.
(Amusingly, I also have a bottle of the #2 bottle, with a rating of 92, the Graham 10 year tawny, but I personally prefer the Taylor Fladgate 10 year tawny. But I just find it amusing that armed with nothing but my own wits I managed to pick two of the three best ports under $30. If only I had an education, I'd have conquered the world already. DAMN YOU WORLD! DAMN YOU!)
Update: Here's the actual homepage of the American Chapter of the Court of Master Sommeliers. Fancy.