Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Australian Fortified Liqueur Tawny

By Jessica Yadegaran
Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007 at 11:24 am in Uncategorized.

Fortified Liqueur Tawny

The Sept. 30 page of my Wine Lover’s Calendar, a great gift for any wine enthusiast, was a joyous surprise. It was a good example of wine synchronicity: when you’re thinking about or craving a certain wine (this is often seasonal) and boom — there it is. Being poured by someone in your midst or written about or discussed.

Author Karen McNeil touched on a great alternative to Portuguese Tawny Ports. I spent time under McNeil’s tutelage at the Wine Writers Symposium back in February, and she’s a wealth of information.

Anyway, the luxurious Fortified Liqueur Tawnies, which have been coming out of Australia for over a century, used to be called Port but Australian winemakers have officially changed their name this year to distinguish the wines from their Iberian counterparts.

And they are different. The Australian style is typically made from Grenache or Syrah grapes rather than Portuguese varietals and they’re aged in wood for at least ten, and often 20, years. They’re darker, sweeter and thicker, with a lot of peanut brittle and toffee flavors.

McNeil recommends Penfolds “Grandfather” Fine Old Liqueur Tawny, and so do I. With a sophisticated, slightly dry finish, it’s probably one of the best examples coming out of Australia. I’d recommend sipping it after dinner with a selection of strong cheeses.

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