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Tag Archives: tawny port

The Essential Guide to Port Wine – Just in Time for the Holidays

It’s already November which means that plans and parties for Holidays are about to get into full swing. We’re getting ready for weeks of socializing, eating and drinking, culminating into one massive feast before the New Year. One of the many wonderful traditions of the Christmas celebration is the requisite appearance of the dusty old bottle or ¾ full decanter of Port. It’s the perfect accompaniment to the block of Stilton that magically appears on the dining room table during the last week of December. These rituals are brilliant and long may they continue, but port is much more than a toddy for Santa’s helpers. Most of us who enjoy port but once a year, myself included, may not be […]

Top 5 Romantic Spanish and Portuguese Wines

Valentine’s Day is once again upon us; a day for which some ignore, some rebel against, and some embrace for fear of reprisal. However, there are those that actually like this intensely guilt ridden and consumer frenzied day, regardless of its flaws, as they see it as an opportunity to be ever so sweet and loving to one’s honey. Fine dinner, fresh bouquets of flowers, and of course, fine wines grace their table. For those of you who fall into the latter category, adoring the everything embodying the 14th of February, what are the truly “romantic”, and dare we say, sexy wines of Iberia? What wines are guaranteed heart stoppers when wooing that special someone? (Flickr photo by kalandrakas) We […]

Wild Mushrooms of Catalunya

Prior to my arrival on the Peninsula, my experience with wild mushrooms were both infrequent and rather tame. Having lived in Illinois, New Mexico, Colorado and Minnesota, my knowledge of mushrooms solely consisted of cute little button white mushrooms bought in the grocery store that had a slightly sweet flavor eaten raw, and when cooked, seemed to absorb any of the stronger flavors surrounding it. However, truth be told, both Illinois and Minnesota are renowned for their wild mushrooms. Every November, festivals are celebrated across the Midwest, with avid  mushroom lovers coming in droves to hunt Sheepheads, Stumpers (or Honey Mushrooms), Goldentops, and Morel mushrooms, among many others. And although I have very fond memories of picking forest berries, my […]

Wanted: Tawny Port

Background
Tawny port wine is made from red grapes aged in wood, exposing them to gradual oxidation and evaporation, for longer than a ruby port wine. As a result, the wine loses its brilliant ruby color, becoming a dark amber or a tawny hue with a characteristic “nutty” flavor imparted by the wood. Finally, through a system of fractional blending with various older port wines to match the house style, the resulting tawny wine is elegant and soft, showing delicate wood notes and rich mellow fruit.

Although there are several various kinds of tawny port wine, the two main types are: a young tawny that lacks any indication of age, and an older tawny labeled with a specific age.

Basic NV Tawny Port

Although the term “tawny’ refers to a wine that has been aged in wood for longer than ruby port wine, the majority of young tawnies are made from a blend of both red and white grapes, aged for approximately the same time as a ruby port wine. Come summer, several bulk tawnies are shipped up river to the Douro valley in cement baloes where they literally stew from the ambient heat, referred to as the Douro Bake. The Douro Bake is a traditional expression used to explain a particular characteristic imparted to Port when aged in a hot, arid climate, as opposed to the milder, cooler temperatures in Vila Nova de Gaia. Consequently, the resulting wines mature rapidly, losing their bright red color, and display a slightly brown tinge around the rim. On the palate, although lacking in the powerful fruit characteristics normally associated with a young ruby port wine, tawnies tend to be softer, more subtle, and many times, slightly more approachable.