December 14, 2005

Wine Tasting Note: Taylor’s 20 Year Old Tawny Port, Portugal.

By Andrew Barrow In Wine Notes
‘Tis the season for port – trah la la. Who drinks port in the summer for goodness sake? Well me actually; a rather nice chilled white port that might also make a decent aperitif in these colder months.

Tawny Port – available at plenty of differing price points and in various styles too (oh the confusion) . You can have non-aged tawnys and those with an age indication and those that don’t mention tawny at all! There are actually two differing styles of tawny. In theory tawny indicates that the wine has been aged in wood for a longer period than a ruby, aged, in fact, until the colour turns to an amber-orange hue. But much of what passes as tawny (we are talking the cheaper end of the spectrum) is no older than a ruby and is offered often at the same price.

So what’s the difference? a ruby is made from a blend of big, richly coloured wines while a tawny is usually made from lighter styled wines. They are paler coloured and can have their colour adjusted by adding a little white port too. These are the money making bulk wines of many producers.

But a true tawny, such as this one, is in a different league. A step up in age from a 10 year old the 20 is where tawny port combines the delicacy and complexity of an aged wine with the fruit and freshness of a younger wine. They don’t come cheap mind due to the stocks required of maturing wine that are required to deliver a consistent house style. Labels of aged tawnys should carry a bottling date (this one is 2004). They do not improve in bottle; are ready to drink on release and can deteriorate if left hanging around.

Wine Tasting Note Taylor’s 20 Year Old Tawny Port, Portugal.
Available from Sainsbury’s, Majestic, Selfridges and Threshers for £29.99.
On opening a mass of sun-dried raisins and a touch of meatiness. In the glass quite spirity but a beautiful colour though, crystal clear, pale rose coloured tawny (obviously). “Check out the legs on that” piped up Rob. I assume he was referring to the glass. Mellow and rich with broad complexity hints of chocolate, prunes and blackberries. Stewed plums. Touch of almonds. Plum crumble. Quite a spirity finish though and I was expecting the acidity to be softer. Lovely though and a glorious companion to a decent mince-pie. As I said ’tis the season…

Scribblings Rating – 92/100

Although this style of wine will keep a few days before the delicacy of fruit diminishes, I resisted the temptation to finish the bottle (not all on my own I hasten to add) as I have several other tawnys to sample and I would like to compare… more to come…

1 Comment
  1. spittoon December 20, 2005

    Two Ports – Fonseca and Delaforce 20 year old’s.

    This was a tricky comparison. On initial opening there were few distinguishing differences; both had slightly differing hues and subtle differences in the aroma but trying to tell them apart was difficult. So I went down the pub. Leaving them…

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