Port

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Mike Z
Posts: 494
Joined: 7 years ago
Location: Central Tempe

3 years ago

I recently started to get into port, and I have a couple questions . . .

1. I'm trying to find a bottle of Smith Woodhouse 20 year old Tawny, but just hitting dead ends. Tried Tops, Total Wine, looked online. Before I start calling stores all over the valley, any recommendations on what shops most likely to have a bottle still laying around? Or a bar/restaurant that might sell it by the glass?

2. Any port recommendations? Anything maybe drier/less sweet? Anything maybe unique? I know some of youse have to be pretty well versed. I've tried a younger one that was more akin to a slightly thicker wine, and a few tawny.


Thanks!
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BillBuitenhuys
Posts: 397
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Location: Chandler, AZ
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3 years ago

Not sure who might have SW 20yr on their shelf. Maybe call AZ Wine Co or AJs?
I checked the "big book" at Kaz Bar and it isn't listed on there.

Drier/less sweet? I think Graham's 20 is one of the more dry that I've had for a tawny. Taylor 20 as well.
Maybe a madeira? Rare Wine Co puts out a series of excellent madeira that range from pretty dry to very sweet. AJs (the one in Gilbert, at least) has many of them in half bottles at ~$30 each.

For vintage port to really show it's mettle, it really needs age. VPs from the 80s are just coming round.
Single quinta VP (non-classic vintage) will mature more quickly
Late Bottle Vintage tend to be some of the most affordable in the land of port, particularly the unfiltered style from Warre's. Made to drink right away, it will benefit from aging though.
All of these styles tend to spend 18 or so months in barrel (for LBV is can be up to 6 years) and then age in bottle so you get a "fresher" flavor (less oxidized) than tawny.

Tawny and colheita are different beasts. They spend much more time in barrel...in the case of the SW you are looking for, 20 years in barrel. Because of all the barrel time, they become much more oxidized. If you are digging that nuttiness, than I do think madeira might be a good place to experiment. Or maybe find a Graham 20.

Another good experiment is to find a restaurant that is pouring tawny flights. I've seen the "hundred years of tawny" pours around the valley with a taste of 10, 20, 30, and 40yr old from the same producer....like Graham or Sandeman. Helps you find your personal sweetspot
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Mike Z
Posts: 494
Joined: 7 years ago
Location: Central Tempe

3 years ago

Tawny Flights

Ya know, I liked her first album, and I loved her second album, but then I think the fame got up in her head and she was never the same after that. Sure, electonic bagpipes in the bridge were cute the first time . . . once. But every song? Take the rolled up hundy out of your nostril, girl, and have some green tea

;)

No, seriously, thanks for the responce, Bill! I had a feeling you'd be a font of knowledge. Are there really tawny flights? Where? When? I'll be there if I can. Wanna go? :)
Last edited by Mike Z 3 years ago, edited 1 time in total.
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Mike Z
Posts: 494
Joined: 7 years ago
Location: Central Tempe

3 years ago

Am putting the Grahams and Taylor on my hit list. And am excited to try the madiera!
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Mike Z
Posts: 494
Joined: 7 years ago
Location: Central Tempe

3 years ago

I popped into AZ Wine today, and it was all kinds of a tale of two experiences. When I walked in, the two guys there were dismisive at best, but when I walked to the counter with a bottle of Graham's 20yr and name dropped Bill Buttonsomething, things changed. "Bill recomended this place. Do you know him? Bill. AZ Bitters?" . . . "Oh, Bill and Lill!". I was treated like gold after that :D
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The Graham's 20 is nice. I like the Offley better, but have the Taylor's you rec'd in my crosshairs. They were out of the only madeiras they carry. Oh well. Chatting with the kid, the douro the kid recommended is prety nice
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BillBuitenhuys
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Location: Chandler, AZ
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3 years ago

Ha! So in grade school, we had to make up a story of where our last name came from. My story started with clothier that earned the name of Button-eyes and permutations followed. I'm glad you found something at AZ Wine. They definitely can be friendly or not depending on who is working that day. AJs for sure for those madeira. They may have tawny too but I just don't buy dessert wines like I used to (although I'll take a look next time I visit).
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BillBuitenhuys
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Location: Chandler, AZ
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3 years ago

And I've been scouring websites for local port flights but it might take a Facebook request to the masses to find something. Kaz bar has a pretty good list of dessert wines btg (13 different port/madeira, 14 other sticky things)
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Mike Z
Posts: 494
Joined: 7 years ago
Location: Central Tempe

3 years ago

Yeah, we can't all have easy last names, right? Back in the day, the football coaches would put masking tape on the front of your helmet, but they couldn't be bothered with 'Zyskowski', so I'd get 'Z' or 'SKI' or one time 'POLSKI'. Coach Irish was VERY politcally correct ;)
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BillBuitenhuys
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Location: Chandler, AZ
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3 years ago

So here are the responses I got from the hive mind....

BLT Steak used to have a port flight
Bourbon Steak did the 100 years of Tawny flight ($50 for four 1oz pours) but might not any more...worth checking.
Kaz bar might have a port flight still (didn't see one on their menu but they might have it)
Lon's at the Hermosa Inn did a 100 yrs flight and might still have it. They have a good selection of port and madeira btg.
Dave Johnson at Ocotillo will do a port/madeira tasting for us if we want
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