As the seasons change so do our choices when it comes to alcoholic beverages. A fall favorite for me has always been a good Tawny Port. I believe Port in general is often overlooked and has kind of become a relic in the wine world. Diversifying your palate is a great way to learn and at the same time justify your old stand by. With so many options even within the Port family, there is bound to be something that you can enjoy or at least appreciate.
Port can generally be broken into two broad categories; wines aged in the bottle (Ruby Port, Vintage Port, etc.) and wines aged in barrels (Tawny). Because we are talking primarily about Tawny Port I will try and just focus on the Tawny options. Tawny Port is the Port wine that is aged in Barrels, slowly exposing the wine to oxidation and evaporation. This ageing process results in the wine developing an amber or brownish color (because of the oxygen exposure). Tawny Port is famous for the “nutty” flavor characteristics. When there is no indication of age on the bottle, it means that the wine has been aged at least two years in wood. More commonly you will see Tawny in aged denominations of 10, 20 and 30 years. Most people believe that this means all the port in a 10 year Tawny is a minimum of 10 years aged. This is a common misconception, the 10 years is just an average target age for that specific Port. The final product will be a combination of barrels blended to a specific profile that a specific Port house is trying to achieve. This, much like whiskey, is blended to create a consistent product. Another form of Tawny Port you may see is a Colheita which is simply a single vintage port aged in the Tawny format.
Tawny Port is a great after dinner/dessert option. It goes great with all sorts of desserts, especially chocolate ones. It is also great to be enjoyed on its own much like a whiskey or cordial. We have a number of Tawny Port options here at WVLM so swing by and pick one up to enjoy the fall.