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This is an excerpt from Restaurant Wine, issue 110, Nov/Dec 2005.

Premium Tawny Ports Are On The Rise
In USA Restaurants

In The Past Decade, On-Premise Sales Have More Than Tripled—Are You Offering Premium Tawnies To Your Guests?

Premium Tawnies should be priced like other wines, not spirits! Ridiculous
markups (more than 4 times costs) are the surest means of killing

What are Tawny Ports?

Strictly speaking, a type of fortified wine produced only in Portugal’s Port region. (Although similarly styled wines are produced in other regions of the world, notably Australia, South Africa, and the USA, we refer in this article only to those from the Port wine region.)

Tawnies are Ports that are matured in wood to the point of mellowness,then bottled. They are usually somewhat “tawny” in color, thus their name. Unlike Ruby Ports, which are generally robust and fruity in flavor, Tawnies are gentler, smoother, and slightly drier wines.

There are two types of Tawny Port, standard (or basic) Tawny Port, and premium Tawny Port. Approximately half of all the Port produced is Tawny Port, and of that, standard Tawny accounts for about 90% of production, premium Tawny about 10% (meaning that premium Tawny is approximately 5% of total Port production).

Why are premium Tawnies increasingly popular in USA restaurants?

— They are extremely versatile, and may be enjoyed as aperitifs, with various soups (broths), melon with proscuitto, with cheese courses (specifically, semi-hard, mildly flavored cheeses), with desserts (especially nut-based tortes or melon), with coffee, or as digestifs.

— Among the classic wines of the world, they represent excellent value for money, and can be offered in restaurants for $6 and up per glass, which is quite reasonable for the quality of wine.

This is an excerpt from Restaurant Wine, issue 110, Nov/Dec 2005.
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