Smith Woodhouse 20 Year Old Tawny Port
Smith Woodhouse 20 Years Old Tawny Port pairs extremely well with vanilla ice cream or crème brûlée. Serve slightly chilled to appreciate the full complexity and sensuous pleasure of this wine.Port is best served in classic Port wine glassware or white wine glasses. Avoid cordial or liqueur glasses as they are too small to fully appreciate the wine’s aromas.
The grapes are harvested in fall and are fermented for a short period of time before the addition of 100% grape spirit alcohol. This step stops the fermentation, preserves the wine’s natural grape sugars, and gives it it’s unique richness. The wine is then moved into oak casks for aging, where it spends at least 20 years. “20 Years” indicates an average age: it is a blend of older lots, which offer complexity and depth, and younger wine, which lend fresh fruit flavors and vibrancy.
Best known for intense, impressive and age-worthy fortified wines, Portugal relies almost exclusively on its many indigenous grape varieties. Bordering Spain to its north and east, and the Atlantic Ocean on its west and south coasts, this is a land where tradition reigns supreme, due to its relative geographical and, for much of the 20th century, political isolation. A long and narrow but small country, Portugal claims considerable diversity in climate and wine styles, with milder weather in the north and significantly more rainfall near the coast.
While Port (named after its city of Oporto on the Atlantic Coast at the end of the Douro Valley), made Portugal famous, Portugal is also an excellent source of dry red and white wines of various styles.
The Douro Valley produces full-bodied and concentrated dry red wines made from the same set of grape varieties used for Port, which include Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz (Spain’s Tempranillo), Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca and Tinto Cão, among a long list of others in minor proportions.
Other dry wines include the tart, slightly effervescent Vinho Verde white wine, made in the north, and the bright, elegant reds and whites of the Dão as well as the bold, and fruit-driven reds and whites of the southern, Alentejo.
The nation’s other important fortified wine, Madeira, is produced on the eponymous island off the North African coast.
Port is a sweet, fortified wine with numerous styles: Ruby, Tawny, Vintage, Late Bottled Vintage (LBV), White, Colheita, and a few unusual others. It is blended from from the most important red grapes of the Douro Valley, based primarily on Touriga Nacional with over 80 other varieties approved for use. Most Ports are best served slightly chilled at around 55-65°F.