As mentioned a little while back, when I first learned about Castilla y León as a quality wine region, I associated it with red wines and only red wines. Because of Toro and Ribera del Duero‘s massive influence on the market, Rueda seemed more of an exception to the rule, […]
This past week I sat with José Peñín at the same two person table judging wines that were to become the “best of Portugal”. It’s a humbling experience sitting next to someone with so much history and credibility in the Spanish Iberian Wine Industry. Called the “Robert Parker” of Spain, […]
Last month, when my parents were in town visiting, I took them on one of my favorite local winery tours, the Manor House Museum Tour of José Maria da Fonseca. Easy to find on their website, this legendary Portuguese winery offers daily tours of the founder’s original estate and winery […]
Where do I begin this rambling and nonsensical post, filled with random bits of information that don’t really deserve a full post onto themselves, but that still need to be said? Well, where else than our “Iberian Links Around the Web”! Similar to your kitchen junk drawer, this post is […]
There is no way I can start this post without sharing my elation that my hand is free to type. For those of you who are not in the know, I have been in a cast for exactly 78 days, as reminded to me by my doctor this morning. But […]
Big news in the steep Douro Valley! Symington Family Estates, owners of internationally renowned Port brands Dow’s, Graham’s, and Warre’s is converting their three Vilariça valley vineyards entirely to organic farming. Quinta do Atayde, Quinta de Assares and Quinta da Canada, consisting in total of 146 hectares, or 361 acres, […]
The warm spring rays are now browning your ghostly winter skin; the orange light streams in through your windows well into the early evening; the air is heavy with aromas of fresh cut grass and blooming white lilies, all signaling the perfect time to finally indulge yourself with a bottle […]
Last night was one of the first evenings, in quite some time, that we took a big break away from drinking La Rioja wines. Sigh…it felt magical to take a massive step to the right and look adoringly at the bottle of 2005 Quinta do Vale Meão sitting regally alongside […]
I woke up this morning with a very odd thought clanking in my brain, “If the Fantastic Five port varietals are so famous, why don’t I have a clue as to how they each contribute to the pot?” I’ll readily admit that I rarely wake up…scratch that, I NEVER have […]
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.