Our Fine Tawny, 10 Year Tawny and 20 Year Tawny are our most successfully-sold products, and also of our highest production since not every year do we produce Vintage and Late Bottled Vintage Port. Tawny Port takes its name from the English word describing its color. Obtained from blending different Port harvests that have aged in neutral 550/600L oak barrels, these wines age more quickly than Ruby Port, and as the wine slowly oxidizes the color acquires slightly orange tawny hues. Be it our Fine Tawny (8 Year), 10 Year Tawny or 20 Year Tawny these Ports are named after the average time aged, yet remember that each Tawny category reflects our “house style”, rigorously approved by the *Istituto do Vinho do Porto, and consistently recreated every year for our customers’ enjoyment from all over the world.
The “heart” of each Tawny comes from 1 colheita or harvest. To ensure our consistent and balanced “house style”, winemaker Jorge blends in Ports from other harvests from our barrel “library”. Note: by law a Tawny needs 6 years of aging, and Quinta do Tedo’s Fine Tawny is aged an extra 2 years or 8 years total. Also, as all aspects of production take place at our warmer Quinta estate and not in cooler Vila Nova de Gaia as for most Porto houses, there is a faster level of oxidation from 1.5 % to 3% annually, so our Tawnies age faster and are more mature at an earlier date.
Jorge Alves, with us at Quinta do Tedo since 20 years +, is a master at Tawny blending. To see the multitude of small Tawny barrel sample bottles lined up in our large tasting room is a sight to behold during blending time. With upmost focus and a highly evolved nose and palate, Jorge knows exactly what he is looking for in the perfect blend. Interestingly, blending is not only used for Port but also for champagne crafting – there are some vintage-dated champagnes and champagnes without millesimes or dates on them.
Below Jorge Alves’ tasting notes reflect each Tawny’s uniqueness from years of aging and oxidation. From the youthful Fine Tawny’s brownish-amber tones, to the 10 year Tawny’s brick brown with orange and amber tones and finally to the 20 Year Tawny’s mahogany color – beautiful! As the aroma and mouth descriptors are more complex, please read on.
Fine Tawny Port
Color: Brownish with amber tones
Aroma: Dried fruit, dried figs, hazelnuts, walnuts, orange marmalade, notes of tangerine and spices (cinnamon, curry).
Mouth: Soft, generous and voluminous; taste of hazelnut; some structure to maintain an intense half mouth; sweet, long and persistent finish.
10 Year Tawny Port
Color: Brick brown with amber and orange tones
Aroma: Dry fruits (nuts and dried figs), curry, caramel, iodine; very rich.
Mouth: Soft, generous and voluminous; taste of hazelnut; very good structure; maintains an intense half mouth; sweet, yet long and persistent finish.
20 Year Tawny Port
Aroma: Hazelnuts, iodine, walnut and caramel; complex; great schist minerality combined with light vanilla and marzipan notes.
Mouth: Sweet, racy structure; deep concentration and a great complexity; well balanced; silken; long length and very intense finish.
Ready for a glass of each?
*For your information the Istituto do Vinho do Porto is the iron fist in Port regulation, from having the monopoly to sell the brandy used in fortification to all producers to being the only legal body to approve the producer’s samples for each Port category.. As I am from the US, at first this strict regulatory body went against my entrepreneurial spirit, but now I understand the importance in rules that producers have to follow in order to receive approval: a way to maintain sanity in the sea of Porto categories!
Happy 2019 to all - Kay