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Tawny Port Wines

Tawny Port Wines

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Are you looking for an after-dinner drink and want to have something exotic? You must try Tawny port wine! If you haven’t heard about this wine before, it’s okay after all what are we here for! We will explore everything about this wine. Tawny ports are wines usually made from red grapes that are aged in wooden barrels exposing them to gradual oxidation and evaporation. Do you want to know more? Then keep reading!

What is Tawny Port wine?

Tawny Port Wines are a trendy wine style that can be found anywhere in the world. This wine were produced in the Douro Valley of northern Portugal initially. This wine is made from red grapes then they are aged in barrels made of wood so that they can be oxidised gradually. They have a beautiful golden-brown color. They are sweet and medium dry style wine and considered as dessert wine mainly.

If the bottle of an Tawny wines does not indicate its age, then it means that the wine is a basic blend of wood-aged port and has typically aged for at least three years. The reserved Tawny port is generally aged for nearly seven years. Next are the Tawnies that are aged more than ten years and are labelled as 10, 20, 30, or 40 years. Many houses produce Tawny wines like Borges, Calem, Croft, Cruz, Kopke and other houses.

How is it made?

The winemaking process starts the same as any other wine’s starts.

  • First, the grapes are collected after the harvest.
  • Then the grapes are pressed, and the juice goes for the fermentation process
  • Tawny wines are non-vintage wines and are blended from several vintages. The principal aim is to maintain the house style rather than reflect any particular season’s vintage characteristics, aligning Tawny Port with Sherry and non-vintage Champagne.
  • At this stage there are two options. First, the winemaker decides to fortify the wine before the fermentation, the sugar residue increases, and a dessert wine is produced.
  • Second, the winemaker may choose to adds spirits after the completion of the fermentation process. In that case, it results in a dry fortified wine with less sugar residue. The high alcohol of the spirits stops the fermentation process, making the wine that has high alcoholic content and some sugar residue.
  • After that, the young Tawny wine is kept in wooden barrels for its ageing. They are left for gradual oxidation, and as a result of this oxidation, they get a golden-brown color.

What does Tawny Port wine taste like?

  • When compared to other port wines, Tawnies are lighter in both aroma and color.
  • Depending on the different winemaking processes or styles, they come from sweet and complex to brighter and drier varieties.
  • Usually, they have a nutty and oxidative character with sweet to medium dry. The oxidation process allows oxygen to interact with the wine, gives it distinctive characters, and leads to the pale, “tawny” color that gives it its name.
  • The aged Tawnies have an even more comprehensive array of subtle flavors like graphite, peppercorn, hazelnut, almond, butterscotch, and graham cracker. The older the wine, the more complexity it offers.
  • Typically it is consumed as a dessert wine, but one can also pair it with the main course.

Types of Tawny Port Wines

Based on the time period for the ageing of this wine, they can be categorized because age plays an essential role in the flavor of this wine. They are generally aged in wooden barrels, specifically the small sized ones, for the slow oxidation that affects everything from aroma to color to taste. The hardcore lovers prefer the 20 years aged Tawny as it gives the perfect balance of character and vitality.

1. Basic Tawny Port Wine

Basic Tawny is a young Tawny port that lacks the complexity that comes from ageing and is generally aged for about three years. It is roughly transparent with the aromas of toasted nuts, dried cherry, and a hint of leather. It gives a slightly creamy feel to the palate and finishes with a cacao powder finish.

2. 10 Year Old Tawny Port Wine

You can say that it is the slightly advanced version of the basic Tawny Port. It is light pink and orange in appearance with some shine and some transparence. It has aromas of burnt orange peel and some toastiness. The flavors offered to your palate are nuts and honeyed fruits with silky touch and long finish. It is a blend of wines, and you will notice that it is indeed different and has much more to offer than the basic Tawny Port.

3. 20 Years Old Tawny Port Wine

As the ageing period increases, the color becomes more pale and transparent. It looks more like faded copper in appearance. The aromas are somehow similar to the younger versions; they just become more subtle and sophisticated. The palate becomes more smooth and satisfying with age. It offers a firm mid-palate saline grip and a long praline finish followed by a lingering butter caramel aftertaste.

We have given a gist of how ageing affects the port wines, but this does not mean that Tawnies are only aged up to 20 years! There are versions that are aged for 30 years and even 40 years available in the market.

Serving and Food Pairing

Everyone knows how to enjoy a glass of wine, but if you don’t, then we have covered here a few points that will help you to enjoy your port wine to the fullest. As now you know that Port wine is considered a dessert wine, so it perfectly goes with sweet treats like chocolate truffles, cheesecake, dark chocolate cake, and even-aged or smoked and flavored cheeses, sweet smokey meats and even salted nuts. If you want to drink it as an aperitif, try pairing it with plates of seafood like lobster, smoked fish, oysters and crab! It is best served at room temperature.

5 Great Buys of Tawny Port

1. Graham 10-Year-Old 

Price: $33.99

This Tawny Port wine will offer you a very plush experience and is relatively a dry style 10-year-old wine.

2. Fonseca 10-Year-Old

Price: $21.78

It is a rich, full-bodied wine that comes with a creamy finish and an appealing bottling.

3. Taylor Fladgate 20-Year-Old

Price: $52.97

It is one of the most loved port wines as it strikes the perfect ageing time and gives you what it requires-muscular and concentrated.

4. Dow’s 20-Year-Old

Price: $61.99

This is a distinctive tawny that is dry and concentrated. The finish is crisp and offers some levels of acidity.

5. Fonseca 30-Year-Old

Price: 97.99

It has a brick color and comes with broad-textured, creamy and layered with flavors like walnuts and milk chocolate.

Buy your favorite and enjoy with your meal. Also check the 12 best port wines.

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