Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
What's the difference between a tawny Port and a Vintage Port?
—Wes P., Tulsa, Okla.
Tawny Ports become tawny-colored from the oxidation they experience during their long maturation in porous wooden casks—generally 10 years or more, up to 40 years in some cases. They have a mellow, nutty, slightly woody, dried fruit character. Vintage Ports remain in oak barrels for only two years before bottling, and so retain their deep red/purple color and sweet, ripe fruit flavors. Made entirely from grapes of a single declared vintage year, they are usually the richest and most powerful of Ports, and age exceptionally well in the bottle.