By Desi (Flickr: Bottles of tawny Port wine in Lisbon) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
We are very fortunate indeed to have the IWFS Vancouver Branch under the capable joint leadership of Milena and Jim Robertson. They were also instrumental (along with Dave Felton and others) in organizing our successful IWFS Festival held in Vancouver from September 11-16, 2012. For their stellar efforts they deservedly were recently awarded respectively the BGA Silver & Gold Medals.
They are also port aficionados. On December 9, 2011 they organized a memorable Taylor lunch showing off 15 ports – 10 vintage ports ranging from 1985 back to 1955 including the outstanding 1963 and 5 tawny of 10, 20, 30, 40 years and the incomparable Scion (over 150 years in wood). February 14, 2014 was another of their interesting port profile lunches showing this time 9 tawny ports from Graham’s.
We enjoyed “The Tawny” (7-9 years in seasoned oak”) recommended use as an aperitif or served with almond tart or crème brulee, 10 Year (for apple pie & cinnamon), 20 Year classic style showing the best fruit (for nuts, dried fruits, fruitcake, vanilla ice cream), 30 Year (for dark chocolate), 40 Year (dark chocolate or dessert in its own right), and four Single Harvest (“Colheita”) all showing more green olive tones:
1982: Bottled 2013 # 3898 Lovely flowery herbal notes
1969: Bottled 2012 #072 Special bottling of 6 exceptional casks (each cask produces 712 bottles) of the 21 in the cellars shows more caramel/toffee
1961: No bottling date shown on bottle #607 from Cask 3 but outstanding Bordeaux vintage & special birth year of Barack Obama shows complex coffee notes
1952: Bottled 2012 # 0847 to honour the Queen on her 60th anniversary Diamond Jubilee Year surprisingly deeper brown colour with drier elegance showing molasses, cloves & dried fruits
The lunch appropriately had some brilliant food pairings Portugal style from sardines in olive oil, dried salted cod (bacalhau), pork & clams (perfect magnum of 1999 Quinta da Leda Casa Ferreirinha from the Douro) and dessert of Portuguese creamy egg custard tarts. That last item was divine with any of the 9 Graham’s tawny ports!
More background detail on “The Tenets of Tawny Port” can be found at www.fortheloveofport.com/2010/03/01/the-tenets-of-tawny-port/
Do you enjoy tawny port? Are you able to share a successful food pairing with them?
I do a lot with vintage ports, but have tried my fair amount of tawnies, including a number of colheitas going back to 1908. They can be quite interesting and nuanced. Of those labeled 10-year, 20-year, etc., I’m partial to the 20-year as I think it’s a good balance between complexity and price.
I’ve had the Taylor Scion Sid mentions. It’s unlike any other port I’ve had of any age because it’s acidity is very much like that of a Madeira. Since Taylor doesn’t have complete records beyond the family’s purchase of the barrels in 1855, I’m of the opinion that if it’s actually port, it’s probably from the uncomparable 1847 vintage. But I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that it’s actually a Malvasia Madeira.