Those of us in the specialty wine business often spend much of our time and effort searching out interesting, off-the-beaten-path wines from small, artisan producers. Due to this sometimes wine geeks, myself included, forget that sometimes the big guys make some pretty darn fine juice as well.
I was reminded of this recently while leading a presentation at the Wine Garden in the Calgary Stampede. One of the wines I poured during the presentation was a fortified “tawny port” style of wine from the large Australian winery Hardys. This delicious dessert style wine is produced from a blend of grapes including Shiraz, Grenache and Muscat. This wine spends a total of 8 years in used oak barrels, which allows it to achieve its classic tawny colour and unique flavour profile.
Much like a classic tawny port from Portugal, this delightful offering is bursting with flavours of toasted nuts, caramel, baking spices, burnt sugar, raisins and figs. Although some may find this too rich and sweet on its own, this wine really shines with food. Try this with a firm blue cheese, pecan pie, dark chocolate, creme brulee or a fine cigar.
The “Whiskers Blake” is readily available and at just over $20.00 a bottle, this will give many 10 year old Tawny ports a run for their money at a reasonable price.