You do not have to be a door connoisseur to taste that a glass of Ruby tastes different than a glass of Tawny. Try both types together, you immediately notice a big difference. But what is it about?
Ruby: ruby red, sweet and full
A Ruby port is dark or ruby red, up to purple. He has a sweet, full taste of black currants, chocolate, syrup and cherries. Not too complex, so excellent for a night at home or a birthday and delicious with a chocolate or soft cheese. The Dutch like to drink Ruby, mainly because it is cheaper than Tawny. But beware: a too cheap bottle does not have a nice aftertaste. Also the taste is gone after one second.
Ruby-port makers use a few grape varieties, especially the Touriga Francesa, Tinta Roriz and Touriga Nacional. As soon as you crush them, the fermentation of the sweet juice begins. Then the wine immediately goes to bottle to stop the ripening process. You can leave a bottle of Ruby unopened for a few years. If you open the bottle, it will last for another month thanks to the resealable cork cap.
Tawny: tawny colour, soft and complex
A real Tawny does not get his name just like that. For this, it must be aged at least three years on wooden barrels. The wood not only provides the deep tan, but also gives the port more and more flavor. It is softer and more complex than the Ruby; you can taste caramel, nuts and a touch of chutney. In the distance you might also get figs out.
Tawny port is more difficult to make because it is a ‘blend’. This port consists of a mix of several years. The makers taste every twelve months to keep an eye on the consistency of the taste. No unnecessary luxury, especially when you consider that some Tawny’s mature for ten to forty years. This process stops as soon as the port is in the bottle. A Tawny also keeps you unopened for a few years without loss of taste. Once uncorked, you have two months to enjoy it.
We prefer to drink Tawny port, especially a Graham’s The Tawny. Slightly more expensive than the Ruby, due to the longer ripening time. But you also test that off. This port is well worth the price difference.