Like a divine blend of Cognac and red wine. 20 year old Tawny is the most exciting of the Tawnys to drink in my opinion. Elegant, fragrant but with a lot of depth of flavour and complexity. They are almost more reward to smell than drink, but there is a nice mellow kick to them too. This is mostly Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo), Touriga Francesa and Tinta Barroca from estate fruit that is hand picked and foot stomped.
One of the most celebrated producers in Oporto. Their top wines are great, expensive and hard to come by. Thankfully, their entry level stuff is pretty smart too. They are famous for pioneering the ‘late bottled’ style Ports which are so famous in the current climate. Noval are also able to brag that all of their products are single ‘Quinta’ or vineyard which they have strict control over. To this day the grapes are hand picked and foot crushed. Aside from their outstanding Ports, Noval also make wonderful table wines from the native grapes of the region.
Port – Port is a style of wine but also the name of the region that sits on the terraced hills that over look the River Douro. They are most famous for the barrel aged red grape based fortified wines that can be aged for 50 years depending on style. The grapes used are the native Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Cão and Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo). White Port is also seen around but not lauded like the Red styles and don’t age. The Douro is capable of making some stylish and modern reds and whites too.
Tawny Port – In which the fortified red wine is aged in barrel and allowed to slowly oxidise. This is how it gains the tawny colour and nutty or rancio flavours. They are almost always blends of vintages and tend to be ready to drink on release. The wine must be at least two years old before release but can be labelled 10, 20, 30 or over 40 years old.
Port Varieties – Touriga Nacional is the most desirable for quality Port but proves difficult to grow and offers small yields. That means Touriga Franca is the greatest plantings and can be seen as the Cabernet Franc compared to Nacionals Cabernet Sauvignon. Tinta Barroca can withstand the cool conditions on the North facing slopes, Tinta Cão offers finesse and complexity and Tinta Roriz aka Tempranillo offers its own perfume and charm.