I do enjoy tawny port.
In fact, every time I talk about port to someone, and they complain about having had thick, sticky, and very very cherry (or raspberry, or some other red fruit) port, paired with chocolate and how they didn’t care for it, I ask them if they’ve tried tawny port as well as ruby port.
Which is a shame, really. Tawny port’s caramel-vanilla-honey characteristics are often much closer to the decadent, ridiculously good Sauternes dessert wines of France than to the much more well-known Ruby Port wines of Portugal.
Rather than trying to pair with tiramisu or chocolate cake, the best thing I can think of to eat alongside a tawny would be creme brulee.
While I prefer Niepoort’s vintage offering to this wine, it’s still very good. The Dow’s is caramel colored in the center of the glass, to a light, almost camel hair tan at the edges.
On the nose is a wonderful wispy light aroma of caramel, a touch of vanilla, and an intriguing note of burnt confectioner’s sugar. The wine is medium-bodied, actually quite a bit lighter in the mouth than I had been expecting. The primary notes I wrote for the palate are “burnt almond cake” and “peanut.”
All in all, Dow’s 20 Year Tawny is a very interesting tawny port, that doesn’t necessarily stick to the standard tawny game plan. Like most ports, it’s not the cheapest bottle in the store, but if you’re a fan of tawnys like I am, you should definitely take a look.