Martin Isark says If you’ve never tasted tawny port, you’re missing a real treat.

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By Martin Isark
If you have never tasted tawny port, you are missing a real treat. Try a bottle and indulge yourself in the fragrant aromas and rich mouth-filling flavours of red fruits, nuts and spice that are somewhat similar in smell and taste to Amontillado and Oloroso sherry.

Sherry, however, is produced from white grapes and port from black – hence the added flavours of red fruits and the colour range from deep ruby red in its youth to a tawny reddish brown after 10 years of ageing.

Moreover, unlike sherry, fermentation in port is arrested early with the addition of a fortifying grape spirit to help with its stability and to retain a high level of natural residual grape sweetness in the finished wine. Don’t be put off if you dislike sweet wines. The sweetness in an aged tawny is not at all dominant, especially in the 20-year-old and beyond.

A tawny is aged in an almost identical way to vintage port; the difference is that the vintage moves from barrel to bottle after two years, but an aged tawny stays in the barrel. As with whisky, there are 10-, 20-, 30- and 40-year-olds, but the number on a tawny port label does not give the minimum age in the bottle, as with whisky, but the average age in the bottle. A 20-year-old, for example, could contain a mixture of 10- and 30-year-old ports. Before it is labelled and sold it must go in front of the Port Wine Institute’s panel. If it is not considered to conform to the character of a 20-year-old it will not be labelled as such.

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The Can I Eat It? Team are continually updating and adding more products  to the App’s database,  If you have the Can I Eat It? App, you can put the Tawny Ports tasted on your iPhone by scanning or entering any of the barcodes below. You don’t have it yet? Download the app now.

Barcode: 00144414
Marks & Spencer 20 Year Old Tawny Port
This 20 year old port is almost three times the price of Marks & Spencer’s excellent 10 year old, but it delivers ten times the quality. Want an intellectual and heady taste experience?  Put a bottle of this in the trolley. Tasted by Martin Isark 

Not forgetting barcode: 5013626112694
Taylors 10 Year Old Tawny Port
Tawny Port? Unlike vintage port there is no need to decant. Enjoy the sweet nutty flavours of amontillado sherry? Then 10 year old tawny port is a must-try! Tasted by Martin Isark 

Not forgetting barcode: 5000119810137
Tesco Finest 10 Year Old Tawny Port
This 10 year old tawny is as good as the leading brands. If sweet red fruits and nutty amontillado sherry-like notes fit – put a bottle in the trolley. Tasted by Martin Isark 

Not forgetting barcode: 5010867101982
Warre’s Otima 10 Year Old Tawny Port
Tawny Port? Unlike vintage port there is no need to decant. This 10 year old tawny port delivers a harmonious blend of sweet red fruits and nutty amontillado sherry-like notes. Tasted by Martin Isark 

Not forgetting barcode: 5000128773713
The Co-operative 10 Year Old Tawny Port
Aged for a minimum of 10 years in barrels. This light ruby coloured Tawny Port presents palate flavours of red fruits, nuts and spice that come backed with a salted lick. Put a bottle in the trolley. Tasted by Martin Isark 

Not forgetting barcode: 5010867101982
Warre’s Otima 10 Year Old Tawny Port
Tawny Port? Unlike vintage port there is no need to decant. This 10 year old tawny port delivers a harmonious blend of sweet red fruits and nutty amontillado sherry-like notes. Tasted by Martin Isark

 Not forgetting barcode: 00087322
Sainsbury’s Tawny Port
Does not have the depth of flavour of a 10 year old tawny, but it still delivers sweet red fruits, nuts, spice that come threaded with fine acidity and finished with a lick of salt.  Labelled suitable for Vegetarians and Vegans. Tasted by Martin Isark
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