Let’s talk tawny
It doesn’t get more traditional than port, especially at this festive time of year. And we’ve been witnessing a growing appreciation for this delicious fortified wine due to the range of styles it offers and it’s suitability for a host of drinking occasions.
Evidence of this is the excellent growth it has enjoyed over the past five years. In 2010 the category was worth £56m and has grown to an impressive £67m today. The UK is the fifth largest export market for port, and the largest for premium port.
Tawny styles in particular has been captivating taste buds – these ports are aged in wood for a minimum of five years and in that time change colour, taking on an amber-brown, or tawny hue. The evolved nutty and spicy flavours make it delicious and very versatile – to be served with anything from duck to dessert, neat or in a cocktail.
On the rocks?
The way we drink port is starting to change. No longer just an after dinner event, styles such as Tawny and Aged Tawny are growing in popularity. Food pairings are also evolving, so along with the tried and tested dessert or cheese pairing, why not try tawny port with crispy Chinese duck, chilled as an aperitif, or in a Manhattan with bourbon, cherry syrup and bitters.
Producer profile: Quinta do Vallado
Established in 1716, Quinta do Vallado celebrates 300 years of winemaking this year and is one of the oldest and most respected port houses in the Douro. Their beautiful winery is set amid 70 hectares of vineyards in the breathtaking surroundings of the Corgo River, a tributary of the Douro River.
Today Joao Ferreira Alvares Ribeiro is the sixth generation of the family to run the winery, producing premium, handcrafted port and table wines. Using the extensive list of traditional, indigenous grapes (11 varieties in total), their methods are bang up to date and the results are nothing short of excellent.
The 10 Year Old Tawny Port has been selling phenomenally well – this rich, nutty wine is packed with luscious sweet raisin, mocha chocolate, spice and date flavours. Delicious as an aperitif or at the end of a meal.
We also have two additional Tawny Ports from Quinta do Vallado – the 20 Year Old and 30 Year Old. The 20 Year Old is very rich, with dried fruit and cigar flavours – it was rated 93 points by Robert Parker. The 30 Year Old is even more intense, with honey, orange jam and dried fruit flavours.