Port wines in two glasses and a bottle in the background
What's The Difference Between Tawny And Ruby Port?
Port is a Portuguese wine that is fortified by adding a distilled spirit, usually grape brandy. This addition halts fermentation, resulting in a higher sugar content and ABV.
All ports are sweet and pair well with cheeses and desserts, but there actually two different kinds: ruby and tawny. Their differences come down to age, color, and flavor.
True to its name, ruby port has a deep red hue. It keeps a vivid color and natural taste of grapes because it's aged for just a few years in oak barrels or stainless steel vats.
Ruby port often has raspberry, cherry, and plum notes and an intense, fruity aroma. It pairs well with chocolate, soft-ripened cheese like gorgonzola, and desserts with berries.
Meanwhile, the darker tawny ports are aged for extended periods in small oak barrels, and the increased contact with the oak and oxygen results in color and taste changes.
Some tawny ports are aged for as long as 40 years. As the wine ages, its mahogany color becomes more brown, and its chocolatey, nutty flavor deepens and becomes more complex.
Tawny ports pair well with rich desserts such as pecan pie and cheesecake. The more complicated and intense the dessert is, the better it will pair with a well-aged tawny.