Tawny (Port) and Other Fortified Wines

Australian Fortified Wines Part Two: Tawny (Port) and Other Fortified Wines

3rd August 2016

In Portugal, there are dozens of grape varieties permitted in the production of Port.

  • Tinta Barroca,
  • Tinta Cão,
  • Tinta Roriz
  • Touriga Francesa,
  • Touriga Nacional)

A full list can be found here.

The Australian equivalent does not have the same restrictions, meaning that grapes like Shiraz and Grenache can make up the backbone of a blend.

As a result of labelling laws, the use of the term Port is no longer allowed for wines made outside of Portugal. This has not caused a problem for the non-vintage wines, as they have been able to retain the word Tawny. For Vintage Port, this has been more problematic. Many wineries have reverted to using Vintage Fortified, and may also include the grape variety.

Like the Muscats and Tokays reviewed previously, these wines will last for days or even weeks once opened, allowing a glass to be had whenever you like!


Angove – Tawny – Grand – 10 years (17.5pts – $25). Light tawny colour. Fresh, with fruit cake and Christmas pudding notes. Excellent length and follow-through add to the enjoyment. Not overly dense, but a good drink with a touch of nuttiness on the close. 500mls

Morris – Tawny – Classic (17.6pts – $21.25). Red-brown colour. Fresh red fruits, with raisins, cinnamon, spice and orange peel. Good length and a harmonious finish balanced by the acidity. Easy drinking and satisfying. 500mls.

De Bortoli – Tawny – Fine Tawny – 8 years old (17.5pts – $25). Starts with a spirituous lift, over rum & raisin, fruit cake and spice, on a nose that is quite pretty. The palate is fresh and lively, with an uncomplicated structure. Another good drink, requiring no accompaniment. 750mlsOld Boys

De Bortoli – Tawny – Old Boys – 21 Year Old – Barrel Aged (18.6ts – $45). Darker hue – tawny tending to amber. Whilst this is intense and powerful, there is a degree of subtlety and excellent balance. The acidity and judicious use of younger material has added life to what is a complex, aged wine. Relatively light, this would be great with sharp cheddar at the start or end of an evening. The label indicates the bottling date, which is a great service to consumers. (Bottled 2015). 500mls.Patritti-Fortified-Wine-Rare-TawnyPatritti – Tawny – Rare – Old Fortified Wine (18 – 18.5pts – $30). Initially quite spirituous, with a resin-like streak. Clearly aged material, this reminds me of a Bual Madera, with its drying palate, moderate sweetness, obvious Rancio characters and sea spray freshness. This is an unusual style, but is an excellent wine. You could even serve this slightly chilled as an aperitif. Great value in a 750ml bottle.

Talijancich – Tawny – Rare – Blend No 2 (18.7pts – $80). Aged 30 years. Massive, intense wine with Rancio and spirit notes. The palate is powerful, dense and rich, showing more viscosity than most here. Clearly very old material, with higher levels of sweetness and balancing acidity. Rich, textured and seamless, a traditional Swan Valley Tawny style. An impressive wine that would delight with a chocolate pudding. 350mls.

Angove – Tawny – Rare – 15 years (18.2pts – $45). Again, an old base is used here. Herbal notes with a spirituous lift and zesty notes. Excellent poise and balance in an intense, impressive wine. Only moderately sweet and very long! Serve with (and on) quality vanilla ice-cream. Whilst an average age of 15 years would not classify as rare for other producers, this is still an excellent wine. 750mls