Saturday, April 18, 2009

Taylor's 20 Year Old Tawny Port

I bought this wine a few months ago, before Christmas at some point.  It was a bit of a random discovery.  Usually I stop by the fortified wine section to see if there are any interesting sherries on offer, but this time a small orange label caught my attention in the the port section.  It was the Taylor's 20 year old tawny port on for half price, something like £13.99.  There were only two bottles left, and I should have bought both of them, because after that they were gone, and I haven't seen it at all since, even at regular price.

Tawny port is a variety of port that is barrel aged for years on end.  I find myself at the moment appreciating fortified wines of the oxidized variety.  By this I mean wines that have been aged in barrels for decades, allowing oxygen to interact with the wine and mellow it out, change the colour (from red to a brownish hue), and impart a nutty flavour.   This is all opposed to the other way of ageing wine: in bottle, where interaction with oxygen is more restricted, preserving the fruit flavours and tannin for a much longer time.

What I mean by the previous paragraph is that I was kind of surprised (but shouldn't have been) by how much this port reminded me of Oloroso sherry, which has a similar ageing process: in barrel, unprotected from oxygen (unlike its fino brethren which is protected by a flor of yeast), for decades.  I've only had dry Oloroso, so the port was much sweeter, and I have to say I prefer the drier wine.  Having said that, the port is a much better match for things like blue cheese, where the sweetness is a great foil for the strong flavour of the cheese.

It's a complex drink, starting with dried fruit type flavours, and ending with that delightful toasted nutty taste.  It's also sweet and a bit syrupy.  Great as a dessert on its own I'd say, or with a cheeseboard.

20 Year Old Tawny Port
Douro Valley, Portugal
£13.99 (£27.99)

No comments:

Post a Comment