Tawny vs Ruby Port: Which One is For You?

Tawny vs ruby port

Ah, port. There’s nothing quite like a glass of port to make everything feel just that bit more luxurious. But what is the difference between tawny and ruby port? Let’s explore this delicious topic further!

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Tawny port is aged for a longer period than ruby port. During this aging process, it develops an amber color and has a nutty flavor with hints of caramel. The tannins in tawny port are less intense than other varieties of red wine, making it smoother to drink.

It’s typically served with desserts such as crème brulée or chocolate mousse but can also be enjoyed on its own as an after-dinner drink. 

On the other hand, Ruby port is not aged for nearly if tawny port (usually two years or less). As such, its flavor tends to be much fruitier and fresher than tawny port, with notes of blackberries and cherries on the palate. 

And it also has higher levels of acidity, making it ideal for pairing with cheeses such as blue cheese or brie.

Tawny vs Ruby Port - What's the Difference?

Tawny port ruby port wine

The difference between Tawny and Ruby ports is as easy to spot as a grape in a glass- it’s right there in the name:

  • Tawny is BROWN and Ruby is RED. Tawny ports possess all the warm brown tones you would expect, while Rubies sparkle with a beautiful ruby red hue
  • When it comes to taste, both bring sweetness to the table although Tawnies have more of a nutty, caramel flavor while Rubies have more of a fruity, berry twang
  • PRICES – Typically Tawny Port will be more expensive than Ruby Port

How Wine Is Made?

port wine made

Tawny and Ruby ports may be very different in the aroma, texture, and flavor they offer, but one thing these two styles of port wine have in common is that their production process starts off the same way. 

Grapes are harvested and briefly processed to bring out all the potential of flavors and colors before a spirit (typically brandy) is added to halt the fermentation. 

It’s at that point where the characterizing traits of Tawny or Ruby develop — Tawny ports age in barrels for longer periods of time adding complexity, while Ruby ports are generally best consumed earlier as they contain more fruity notes with less intensity with age. 

So even though Tawny and Ruby don’t finish looking, tasting, or smelling quite the same, they start out on a similar note!

Why Are Tawny Ports Brown and Ruby Ports Red?

Ruby ports, aged in large oak casks, provide the youthful ruby color and fresh fruity flavor since it usually has little exposure to oxygen. 

Tawny ports, on the other hand, are used in small oak barrels called pipas, resulting in a change in color and flavor due to the close contact with the wood and more surface exposure to oxygen. 

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