The Douro Valley in Portugal and its perfect micro-climate for growing grapes is famed for producing its world-renowned Ports.
During wine fermentation, yeast breaks down all sugar in the ‘must’ (pressed grape juice) and produces a wine of approximately 12%-14% in strength. However, in port wine production, this process is interrupted. Within 3 or 4 days of fermentation, the producers add a grape spirit called brandy to the wine (it’s not actually the brandy most people are familiar with) which is around 75% ABV which kills the yeast and stops the fermentation process. This raises the alcohol content of the Port wine and preserves much of its original sugar content. This process, called fortification, creates a much stronger and sweeter wine which is then filled into casks for maturation.
Tawny ports, unlike their younger counterpart Ruby port, are aged in smaller casks for a longer period which allows for a greater level of oxidation, meaning the port turns from a deep ruby red to an amber orange. This exposure method helps to impart onto the final port hints of dried fruit, caramel and nuts.
The 225L casks available for private ownership were constructed of American white oak before maturing fine Tawny port for a period of 3 years. Upon emptying of these casks, these were sent across to us at Annandale where these casks were filled immediately with peated and unpeated spirit.
Because of this 3-year in cask period, each cask stave will be permeated with rich notes of the Tawny port. Flavour profiles we therefore expect to yield from these casks are hints of dried fruits such as dates and raisins, subtle spices of cinnamon, cardamom and anise and beautiful hints of cream soda, vanilla and caramel. Absolutely stunning in combination with our orchard fruit driven peated and unpeated new make spirits.