People in Douro argue over the optimal age for a Tawny. As an outsider, it’s easy to know it when you taste it. There’s no mistaking the freshness in this wine, though it lives mysteriously in complete harmony with its aged character, provoking an immediate sense of pleasure (the yum response) followed by an extended moment of meditation. Are you tasting dried cherries? Smelling the scent of mushrooms in the forest? The fresh zest of an orange or the mineral sense of tannins turned to silk? Whatever that fragrant, delicate thing may be, it’s likely to catch your attention and hold it, suspending time while you think about another sip.
The NV Rp 30 Year Old Tawny Port comes in with 144 grams per liter of residual sugar. It was bottled with a bar-top cork in 2014--actually, one year older than the last version that I saw and with a lot more sugar listed. Winemaker Ana Rosas said the 2015 has roughly 120 grams per liter of residual sugar, but the average for the decade has been closer to 140 grams per liter. This is showing beautifully. Harmonious and refined, lively and fresh, its "old Tawny" flavors eventually come crashing onto its finish, but it always seems youthful and pure. If you like old Tawnies, that medley of molasses, caramel and dark chocolate that typically pops up is still there and pretty appealing, even after being open for a few days. This is very graceful, and despite the sugar level, it doesn't seem annoyingly sweet. Whatever else is here counters it rather well. Ramos Pinto makes about 5,500 liters of this annually. (Typically, they do not make a 40, although they have one exception to that.) As always, these last indefinitely, barring cork failures. They are not really meant to be held. (MS)
The wonderful old-gold color of this tawny leads into a generous, rich wine that has retained fruits while also showing a woody character that is typical of wines this old. With spice, dried raisins and intense acidity, it is a beautiful wine that deserves to be drunk just by itself. (RV)
This is alluring, with whiffs of warm date, green tea and walnut backed by juicy fig bread and salted caramel flavors. The racy, focused finish lets a singed juniper note glide through. (JM)
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