With Christmas fast approaching it's time to start thinking about festive fortifieds. See expert Richard Mayson's top 10 tawny Ports...

These wines first appeared in Decanter magazine’s December issue. Subscribe to Decanter here.

Richard Mayson’s top 10 tawny Ports

Graham's, The Tawny, Port

Graham’s, The Tawny, Port

The colour of a Victoria plum. Rich, heady aromas of fresh figs and raisins with soft yet spicy glacé...

Points 90
Dalva, Colheita, Port 1995

Dalva, Colheita, Tawny Port 1995

A touch of torrefaction lends a full, savoury character to the nose and palate. It’s still very fresh and rich…

Points 90
Cálem, 20 Year Old, Tawny Port

Cálem, 20 Year Old, Tawny Port

Fragrant and fresh with a touch of spice and vanilla on the nose. Soft, creamy, textured palate combining the depth…

Points 96
Sandeman, 10 Year Old, Tawny Port

Sandeman, 10 Year Old, Tawny Port

Brick-red at the centre with a distinct amber-tawny rim. Gentle and fresh aromas with a soft, sweet, suave fruit palate...

Points 94

A new trend for tawny Port

There has long been a stark division between tawny and vintage Port, with the so-called ‘British houses’ majoring on vintage while the ‘Portuguese houses’ made a speciality of wood Port, meaning the tawnies and colheitas that are aged for extended periods in wood before bottling.

‘We always had strong sales in markets such as Brazil, Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland and Portugal, where aged tawnies have long been considered to be among the finest styles of Port,’ said Jim Reader, Port consultant at Dalva.

With the growing appreciation of tawny Port in English-speaking markets, that division is breaking down. All the main shippers have been building their stocks of wood Port.

Graham’s and Taylor’s have even begun to launch their own colheitas – single-year, aged tawny Ports – entering into an area that was once the near-exclusive preserve of the Portuguese-owned shippers. And this year the once rather obscure colheita style has gone mainstream in the UK, with a listing for Kopke 1996 in Marks & Spencer