Last Updated on November 22, 2022 by Tom
Port is a fortified wine that comes in red, white, and rosé styles. Within these styles, there are different colors of port, such as ruby and tawny. This post will compare and contrast the two types of tawny vs ruby port.
What is port wine?
Port wine is a fortified wine made from grapes grown in the Douro region of Portugal. The two main types of ports are tawny vs ruby.
Tawny ports have aged in wooden barrels for several years, giving them a tawny, nutty flavor and aroma.
Ruby ports, on the other hand, are kept in stainless steel tanks and have a more fruity flavor. Both tawny and ruby ports can be enjoyed as an aperitif, dessert wine, or after dinner drink. They are also used to make other cocktails, such as the classic port and tonic.
Port is an excellent wine for pairing with food, particularly cheese, nuts, and chocolate desserts. It can also be used as a cooking ingredient to add flavor and complexity to sauces, stews, and other dishes. Regardless of how you choose to enjoy it, port is always a welcome addition to any gathering or special occasion.
What is ruby port?
Ruby port is a type of fortified wine made from red grapes. It has a sweet, fruity flavor profile with notes of blackberry, cherry and plum. Unlike tawny ports which are aged in barrels, ruby ports are typically aged in stainless steel tanks. This gives the port its rich ruby color and fruity flavor profile.
Types of Ruby Ports
Ruby Port is a classic type of fortified wine that has been produced in Portugal for centuries. It can be divided into three main categories: Reserve, Late Bottled Reserve (LBR), and Crusted Vintage port.
- Reserve ruby port is made from a blend of several grapes from different harvests to create its characteristic flavor. It is aged for three to four years in oak barrels, which gives it its dark color and mellow flavor. Reserve ruby port is usually consumed young and can be enjoyed as an aperitif or dessert wine.
- Late Bottled Reserve (LBR) ruby port is created from a single vintage and aged for a minimum of four years in oak barrels. This results in a smoother, more well-rounded port with less tannin and higher sweetness levels. LBR ruby ports are well suited for drinking now or cellaring for up to 10 years.
- Crusted Vintage Port is usually made from the best grapes of a single vintage and aged for two to three years in oak barrels. This type of port has a richer, more robust flavor than Reserve and Late Bottled Reserve ports, with intense fruitiness and high tannin levels. Crusted Vintage Port is best enjoyed after cellaring for several years to allow the flavors to fully develop.
What is Tawny Port?
Tawny port is a type of fortified wine made from red grape varieties. It has a nutty flavor profile, with notes of dried fruits such as raisins and prunes, as well as toasted almonds and caramel. Unlike ruby ports which are aged in stainless steel tanks, tawny ports are aged in barrels which give it its distinctive tawny color and nutty flavor.
Types of Tawny Ports
Colheita tawny Ports are aged for a minimum of 7 years in wood barrels. They form part of the tawny port family, and are distinct from the ruby ports which are aged for a shorter period in large vats. Tawny ports have a characteristic brown-tinted color that can range from tawny 10 to tawny 40. The tawny port scale reflects the number of years the tawny has been aged, with tawny 10 being the least-aged and tawny 40 being the most-aged.
- Tawny 10 Port is often blended from several different vintages, and have spent the minimum amount of time in the barrel. Its tawny color is light and its tannins are softer than tawny 20 or tawny 30. It also has a slightly sweet flavor and lighter aroma, making it an easy-to-drink tawny port for casual sipping.
- Tawny 20 Port has a tawny color that is more intense than tawny 10 and its tannins are stronger too. It has a slightly sweet flavor and a richer aroma when compared to tawny 10 but still retains its easy-to-drink nature.
- Tawny 30 Port is darker in color with more intense tannins and a flavor that is more intense than tawny 10 and tawny 20. It has a fuller body, with flavors of dried fruit and spices, plus a nutty finish.
- Tawny 40 Port is the fullest-bodied tawny port, with the darkest tawny color of them all. Its tannins are the most intense and it has a rich flavor with notes of dried fruit, spices, nuts, toffee and caramel. Its finish is smooth and long-lasting.
Overall, tawny ports offer a full range of intensities that can be appreciated by both beginner tasters and connoisseurs alike.
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In what ways do Tawny vs Ruby ports differ?
Tawny and ruby ports are both types of fortified wine made from red grape varieties, but they differ in their aging process and flavor profile.
Tawny ports are aged in barrels and have a nutty, dried fruit flavor with notes of toasted almonds and caramel.
Ruby ports are aged in stainless steel tanks and have a sweet, fruity flavor with notes of blackberry, cherry and plum.
The tawny style of port has a tawny color while ruby port has a deep ruby hue.
Summary, tawny and ruby ports are both types of fortified wine with distinct flavor profiles and color hues. Tawny ports have a nutty, dried fruit flavor profile while ruby ports have a sweet, fruity flavor profile. Both tawny and ruby ports pair well with various sweet and savory dishes, making them versatile wines.
Prices of tawny vs ruby ports vary depending on the type, quality and age of the wine, with tawny ports typically being less expensive than ruby ports. Be sure to experiment with different food pairings to find the perfect combination for your next port tasting!
What foods pair best with port wine?
Both tawny and ruby ports pair well with rich and creamy desserts such as crème brûlée or tarte tatin, as well as nuts and cheese. Tawny port is best served slightly chilled, while ruby port should be served at room temperature.
The tawny style of the port can also be enjoyed with savory dishes such as roasted meats, game dishes and mushrooms. Ruby port is a great accompaniment for chocolate desserts or to sip after a meal. Each type of port has its unique flavor profile, so be sure to experiment with different food pairings to find the perfect combination.
What is the average price of port wine?
Prices of port wine can vary depending on the type, quality and age of the wine. Generally, tawny ports are less expensive than ruby ports, with tawny ports ranging from $7 to $20 per bottle and ruby ports ranging from $15 to over $100 per bottle. Vintage tawnys and rubies will usually be priced on the higher end of this range.
How To Store Ruby and Tawny Ports?
Ruby Port should be stored in a cool, dark place such as a pantry or wine cellar. Once opened, it’s best to keep the remaining bottle tightly sealed to preserve both flavor and aroma. You can also choose to decant your port and store it in an airtight container for up to three days before drinking.
Tawny Port, however, is typically purchased ready to be consumed and does not generally benefit from further aging. It should be stored upright in a cool place, such as a pantry or cellar, and needs to be finished within a few days of opening. If the remainder of the tawny port needs to be saved for a later date, it can be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks. After that, the tawny port is likely to lose much of its flavor and aroma.
In general, tawny and ruby ports should both be treated with care when storing them to ensure they remain as fresh as possible. By keeping them in cool, dark places and tightly sealed when storing for long periods, you can enjoy tawny vs ruby ports for their fullest potential.
While both tawny vs ruby ports are made from red grapes, they differ in taste, color, and origin. Tawny port is aged in oak barrels, which gives it a smooth flavor and amber color. Ruby port is younger and has a fruity flavor with a deep red hue. When choosing between the two, it comes down to personal preference. Do you prefer a smoother or fruitier port?