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TAWNY PORT 101 + And Our Tawny Port Spiked Pumpkin Pie!

TAWNY PORT 101 + And Our Tawny Port Spiked Pumpkin Pie!

Today's guest blog post comes from our very own Odile vBouchard of Quinta do Tedo, one of Farah's partners in the Douro. Odile not only grew up helping her family make the Quinta's wine and Port, she also helped open the Quinta's Bistro Terrace restaurant, authoring many of its recipes and wine/ Port pairings ... Odile, take it away! 

Quinta do Tedo Tour

Odile on a tour of the barrel room at Quinta do Tedo

Tawny Port 101

Before we dive into this sure-to-induce-salivation run-down of why Tawny Port is such a perfect accompaniment to your Thanksgiving smorgasbord, let’s refresh our understanding of how it’s made and what it tastes like.

Aging

Tawnies age for a long time (typically at least 3 years) in small wooden casks (usually 550L pipas or barrels made of neutral (aka used) oak so as to not impart wood flavors in the Port).

This type of aging exposes the Port to minimal oxidation through the wood’s small pores, which fades its deep ruby color over time into a golden-tawny hues, matures its bold, black and red fruit flavors into more complex and concentrated dried fruit and nut, sweet spice and caramel flavors and softens its grippy tannins. 

Quinta do Tedo Barrel Aging

 

Blending &  Styles

It takes an experienced winemaker to skillfully blend many barrels of Tawnies from many years (on average 3-5 different harvests) to build a balanced Tawny that represents a Quinta’s consistent, yet unique “house style” that customers can rely on year-after-year. Styles go as follows:

  • A regular Tawny is made up of a blend of younger Tawnies (on average 3-6 years).
  • A reserve or Fine Tawny is a blend of older Tawnies (on average 5-8 years)
  • A 10, 20, 30 or 40+ Year Tawny is a blend of Tawnies whose average age is that which is indicated on the label. 

A tasting a Quinta do Tedo starting with the house style  

 Colheita's

While most Tawnies are a multi-year blended masterpiece representative of the winemaker’s skill and a Quinta’s “house style”, a Colheita is a non-blended Tawny-style Port. This means they are aged longer in smaller barrels) from a single, exceptional harvest that need not be blended to attain delicious, balanced perfection.

 

Pairing Tawnies

We love Tawnies because they have so many layers of complexity that develop during their aging process that make them fun to pair with many different sweet, salty and exotic foods (check out our Thanksgiving wine pairing guide for more!)

Pairing Tawny Port

Cheese is my go to Tawny Port pairing 

Aged, hard cheeses like comté or parmesan, dried fruits and nuts, caramel, and orchard fruit or nut desserts are classic Tawny Port pairings.

Cumin-, coriander- and cinnamon-infused tagines, curries and Asian dishes make for more “out-of-the-box” experiences that tease out interesting complementary and contrasting flavour when paired with Tawny Port. 

 

How to Serve 

Tawnies (especially the older editions) are complex and complete enough to serve straight up, slightly chilled, as an aperitif or dessert. You can also get creative and have fun mixing up a Tawny Sour or other Port cocktails (check out our Port cocktail recipe guide here!)

 

Quinta do Tedo Tawny Port 

A Tawny's Incredible Lifespan

During their aging process, Tawnies experience so much contact with oxygen that they do not go through intense oxygen-shock once opened - that means you can pop and enjoy a bottle of Tawny Port over a month or more by simply storing it corked in your fridge! That’s how Kay Bouchard, Quinta do Tedo owner and proud promotor of her own saying;“a glass of Tawny a day keeps the doctor away!” does it, and so do we.

Pro tip: Remember to serve Tawny Port slightly chilled for a more elegant sipping experience by which you can appreciate its more nuanced aromas before its 20% alcohol content which can blow them out if too warm.

 

How to Double Spike Your Pumpkin Pie 

Tawny Port Spiked Pumpkin Pie

Now, let’s take your Tawny Port understanding full circle by not only pairing, but infusing America’s favorite Thanksgiving dessert with this golden nectar!

Stir 3 tablespoons of Tawny Port (aka extra “oomph”) into your pumpkin pie filling - during baking. The liquid and alcohol evaporate, leaving behind a concentrated touch of Tawny Port flavor that will complement the spices and enhance the overall flavor in your pie - just be ready to fish out the recipe to demanding guests!

 Add a bit of the Port to your whipped cream for an extra touch of Tawny!

Bom proveito and happy holidays from the Farah Trading Co team!

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