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Difference Between Ruby and Tawny Port

Both Ruby and Tawny are Port wines. However, by their very nature, not solely because of the brands, they are not equal. They have distinguishing factors based on the characteristics of each.

To begin with, the Port is a brand and trademark with a specific place of origin. As for the name Port, it is a short form of Porto or Portugal. Going by that, it is important to note that they came from a historic area known as Douro River valley. The valley is about 100km upstream from the coastal city of Porto in the country Portugal.


What is A Ruby Port Wine?

Ruby Port is one of the freshest and least complex of fortified wines. It has a deep red color and is filled with sweet flavors of red fruits. The wine is made from wine that is produced from a mixture of red grapes and is then fortified and left to age for not more than three years for it to retain its brilliant color and fresh flavor.

The Process of Producing the Ruby Port Wine

Ruby Port goes on record as the least expensive but most extensively produced type of port. After it is fermented, it is put in storage tanks that are made of either stainless steel or concrete to avoid oxidative contact. It is also stored to ensure it preserves the bright red color and its full-bodied fruitiness.


What is A Tawny Port Wine?

The Tawny Port wine is a mixture of vintage wines. It displays a rich amber color and typically, tawnies lie typically on the slightly sweeter side of the spectrum.

The Process of Producing the Tawny Port Wine

Aged Tawny Port is usually made from red grapes that are initially aged in wooden barrels. During the aging process, the grapes are exposed to gradual oxidation and evaporation. This oxidation forces them to mellow in to a golden-brown color gradually. As for the exposure to oxygen, “nutty” flavors are imparted to the wine.

An aged Tawny is usually sweet and medium dry. Typically, it is used as a dessert wine or paired with the main course.


Similarities Between Ruby and Tawny Port

The main similarities are that the two are wines with the same origin. They are also made from the same grapes with the same alcohol content of about 20 percent in the finished products.


Differences Between Ruby and Tawny Ports

Looking at the bottles of Ruby and Tawny in the supermarket may not tell which one is which. Drawing their difference may slightly be hard as a result. However, these characteristics can help in distinguishing between the two.

  1. Color of Ruby and Tawny Ports

A Ruby port is more ‘ruby’ in color than a Tawny. A Tawny is more ‘rusty’ on its side. In simple language, a Ruby is darker and redder while a Tawny is lighter and browner.

  1. Storage of Ruby and Tawny Ports

Ruby Port is usually stored in stainless steel or concrete containers to prevent oxidation while Tawny Port is stored in wooden or oak containers to allow for gradual oxidation and evaporation. This results in the ruby and rusty colors respectively.

  1. Aging Processes for Ruby and Tawny Ports

A Ruby Port continues to age in the storage container and continues improving with time while the Tawny Port stops aging immediately it is bottled. This means it stays in the barrels until it is ready.

  1. Flavors

A Ruby Port is more typical of a rich red wine with flavors of a number of fruits, that is, black currant, plum, fig, and blackberry. It can also have licorice, eucalyptus, tobacco, menthol, or mineral flavors. Tawny Port, on the other hand, offers flavors that are indicative of its age as well as the oxidation. As such, the flavors predominantly include raisins, nuts, cinnamon, clove, vanilla, butterscotch, and caramel. Sometimes it also has exotic herbs or spices flavors.

  1. Accompaniments

A Ruby is best combined with similarly sweet foods like complimentary fruit reserves and chocolate while a Tawny is best when paired with more savory and nutty desserts.

Ruby Port Vs. Tawny Port: Comparison Table


Summary of Ruby and Tawny Ports

Both Ruby and Tawny are rich wines with deep and different flavors. Regardless, they are varied from each other based on their different characteristics. The traits include the aging process, flavors, colors, and the storage containers.


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1 Comment

  1. Either wine can be poured over a hamburger while it’s being grilled on a flat grill, congealing around the meat patty, thus creating a very tasty wineburger.

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References :

[0]"Port - Ruby Or Tawny? | Simone's Kitchen". Simone's Kitchen, 2018, https://insimoneskitchen.com/port-ruby-tawny/. Accessed 27 Nov 2018.

[1]"What Is The Difference Between A Ruby And Tawny Port? - Oregonwines.Com". Oregonwines.Com, 2018, https://www.oregonwines.com/wine-101/chapter-9-trivia-for-wine-nerds/what-is-the-difference-between-a-ruby-and-tawny-port/. Accessed 27 Nov 2018.

[2]"Ruby Port Vs. Tawny Port | Wine Folly". Wine Folly, 2018, https://winefolly.com/episode/wine-wednesday-ruby-port-vs-tawny-port/. Accessed 27 Nov 2018.

[3] "Port: What’S The Diff? Ruby Versus Tawny". Cdub, 2018, https://cdub.ca/2011/01/06/port-whats-the-diff-ruby-versus-tawny/. Accessed 27 Nov 2018.

[4]Image credit: https://pixabay.com/en/drink-wine-alcohol-bottle-glass-3377626/

[5]Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:10_yr_Tawny_port.jpg

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