White, ruby, tawny, young, aged, vintage—when it comes to port, many styles crowd the shelves. Where to start? Reach for a bottle of aged tawny for an irresistible introduction to the pleasures of this seductive libation. Look for ports labeled "tawny."
It's all in a name.
Aged tawny ports get their name from their amber-gold color. These wines begin their lives as deep, ruby-red wines; as they age in oak casks, they take on this tawny color, which hints at the nutty, caramel, and vanilla flavors to come.
Now and Later
Port enjoys renown as one of the world's most cherished dessert wines—and tawny ports rank right up there as fine after-dinner sippers. Yet aged tawny ports have an apéritif side, too. Serve them slightly chilled—which brings out their fruitiness and helps mute the alcohol taste—as a appetite-rousing sip to kick off dinner.
Goes with . . . ?
Nibble on creamy cheeses and walnuts when serving aged tawny ports before dinner. When it comes to desserts, think color. Tawny ports mesh beautifully with caramel, dried-fruit and custard-based desserts.