If Late Bottled Vintage Port and Vintage Port are the lions in the Port den Tawny Port is the gazelle elegantly leaping in the tall grasses of the savannah.
Aged Tawnies are blends of Ports from several years which are then kept for long periods of time in the barrel. Think of an aged Tawny as finesse and an LBV and Vintage Ports as pure power. While a Vintage Port can be purple in colour Tawnies can have an orange brickish colour. In terms of alcohol they are just about the same as LBV’s and Vintage Ports. Generally speaking it is fair so say they mellow out with age and they suit chocolate desserts, nuts and egg-based desserts like flan or a Molotov.
This Niepoort is transparent in colour and is orange and garnet in colour. On the nose caramel, Christmas cake, burnt orange, overripe strawberry and Grand Marnier. There is a certain marriage of fruit and brandy. Brandy is added to stop the fermentation of the wine making it sweeter than fully fermented table wine.
On the palate there is a bit of a burn but in no way unpleasant and at 19.5% to be expected. Well integrated notes of marmalade galette, orange spice cake, Portuguese roasted almonds and overall a dominance of orange as fruit. There is a bit of a nutty finish. The finish is very long as with most Ports but wanders a bit and lacks precision
Consider this as an introduction to an aged Tawny. A 40-year-old Tawny will be mellower on the palate and complex too. This 10-year-old is playing with our palate and inviting us to up the age.
(Niepoort 10 Years Old Tawny Port, Niepoort, Villa Nova de Gaia, $48.30, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 699727, 750 ml, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 89/100).