When to decant port

Oh Schoolmarm.....

When class resumes after Christmas Break, can someone brainy, like Jimmy Suckling - you know, the kid in the front row who wears leather, speaks French and has a motor on his scooter - when we should be decanting our vintage ports?

Sometimes it seems like port is at its best only a full day, if not two, after decanting, and other times the port is good to go only a couple of hours after hitting the decanter.

And should one leave the decanter un-stoppered the whole time, or decant for a few hours then seal it up until supper or the next day? I usually decant my ports the morning of the day I intend to drink them at supper.

Is it different for older ports (say before 1985) than younger ones? Or for single quintas? Or for half bottles?

I find this whole when-to-decant thing confusing, for big chewy red wines too. That's probably why I don't get to sit in the front row, like Jimmy Frown
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