Taylor Fladgate Ten Year Aged Tawny Port
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Taylor Fladgate Ten Year Aged Tawny Port Wine
If vintage port represents a rare gift of nature guided by the least possible intervention of man, tawny ports of age represent one of the highest expressions of the blender's art. Though these wines essentially begin life in much the same way, the rest of their evolution could not be more different. While a vintage port matures entirely in bottle and protected from the air, an aged tawny evolves entirely in cask in contact with some degree of oxygen, a process far more difficult to predict and to guide.
Each January following the prior autumn's vintage, Taylor, Fladgate makes a selection from among their very concentrated, full-bodied vintage quality red Ports which are judged according to their aging potential, wines which in vintage years approach the quality of the great wines destined to be declared vintage ports. Year after year, they originate from the same quintas to maintain consistency of source, and thus, to a degree, of style. These are placed in cask and set aside to be cellared for the long term. Since wines from different vintages show variation in character, concentration and rate of maturation, tawny Ports of age are blended across several vintages to maintain their freshness, balance and continuity of style, and thus show an "apparent", or average, age on the label rather than a vintage date. In the very old tawny Ports of age, the actual ages of the various Ports in the blend may spread across ten years or so, but in the younger tawnies the spread is usually more on the order of four years or less.
During this aging process, tawny ports lose their dark purple hue and grow lighter in color, hence the name "tawny," as they throw their deposit in the cask rather than in the bottle. The process of racking contributes to the oxidation process whereby the wine's fruit qualities gradually diminish and its nutty characteristics are acquired. The aging is further influenced by conditions of heat and humidity where the wine is stored. Taylor, Fladgate cellars its aged tawnies in Vila Nova de Gaia rather than in the Douro; the considerable difference in heat and humidity between these two areas produces a lush, silky richness reminiscent of caramel with an elegant, slightly austere quality which is quite distinctive. Russet in color with a lovely balance of fruit and nut flavors and a crisp, persistent finish, Taylor, Fladgate Ten Year Old Tawny is superb with foie gras, cheeses, nuts and desserts based on nuts, caramel, coffee and chocolate.