Suddenly growing in popularity, tawnies are the port drinker's port. Unlike those ever-popular fresh young rubies, the intensely grapey fruit bombs that have a sweet and chocolatey charm all their own, tawnies get to spend some serious time on oak. And after the better part of a decade, the transformation is stunning.
The inky purple of the young wine has faded to a rosy amber. The taste of dried currants supplants the plushness of fresh fruit. And suddenly caramel, nuts and citrus begin to weave their way through the brew, with a lingering spice that keeps it from cloying on the palate, and allows it to stand up to the stinkiest cheese. The older the tawny, the more intense it becomes. But this 10-year-old Dow's offers an excellent value to start, and is a perfect bottle to share for the holidays. As a fortfied wine, of course, it has an exceptionally long shelf life. But it's so delicious, I doubt it will last long once it's opened.