recently discovered port
To me, the Taylor 20 year is what it is all about. I've usually got a bottle, or two of the 30 & 40, but choose the 20 as my fave.
Now, I love most major houses' 20, from the lighter, more spirity Cockburn's 20, to the wonderfully full Porto Barros 20. I love them all. Do a side-by-side of the Cockburn's, the Taylor, the Fonseca (same corp.) and the Porto Barros. You'll likely love them all, though they are different.
I fell in love too the very first time I had a tawny port. It was a 20-year, and it opened a new world to me that I hadn't known existed. Tawny really needs 20 years for it to develop those wonderful dried fruit, toasted nuts and caramel flavors that make it so appealing. Lots of food pairings work also -- any dessert with dried fruit (like bread pudding), any dessert with caramel or coffee including tiramisu, peanut butter cookies, good chocolate or choolates (with an "s"). Wonderful at Thanksgiving with pumpkin desserts and pecan pie. Glad you found something you love.
This thread has some good suggestions for tawnys:
I tried a number of them and was quite pleased. My preference is for the 20 year tawnys, I like the nutty flavor that most 20 year old tawnys exhibit. The Taylor Fladgate is still one of my favorites, but I enjoyed the Fonseca, Neiport, Ferreira, and Grahams (a tad sweeter than the others.) As we do not drink enough port to open several bottles at the same time (unless entertaining guests), I make it a point to try different ports when at restruarants with a decent list. We generally stock up around the holidays when we will have lots of guests and can open several bottles that will all be consumed in a relatively short period of time.
There are many kinds of true (i.e.: Portuguese) Porto. Tawny is but one type, albeit my favorite. Well, that and Vintage Porto . . .
One version of an outline (hard to do when you can't use tabs) of Porto would look something like this. Keep in mind, by the way, that there are many different ways to do this outline; also, this applies only to real (i.e.: Portuguese) Porto.
1. Ruby Porto (defined as red Porto wines bottled with less than seven years of wood aging).
1a. No indication of age.
1a1. True Ruby Porto, bottled very young.
1a2. Vintage Character Porto (a fuller, "beefier" style of Ruby Porto).
1a3. Crusted Porto (a non-vintage blend of between four-and-six years of age).
1b. Ruby Ports with a Vintage date.
1b1. Late Bottled Vintage Porto (by law, bottled between 4-6 years of vintage -- note, numbers here are rounded off).
1b1a. Traditional, unfined, unfiltered (this will improve with further bottle aging).
1b1b. "Regular" (fined and/or filtered; generally doesn't improve with bottle age).
1b2. Vintage Porto.
1b2a. True Vintage Porto (a producer's "main," showcase product -- by law, bottled two years after vintage [again, rounded] and capable of great improvement with added bottle age).
1b2b. Single-quinta Vintage Porto (either from a small, estate, or from a large producer, but made from a single estate; again, bottled two years after vintage [again, rounded] and capable of great improvement with added bottle age).
* * * * *
2. Tawny Porto -- red Porto wines bottled with 7+ years of wood aging.
2a. No indication of age.
2a1. Young Tawny (often a mix of Ruby and Tawny).
2a2. True Tawny Porto.
2a3. Tawny Reserva, a usually branded bottling of Tawny Porto that is "older" than the "true" Tawny Porto.
2b. With a general indication of age.
2b1. 10-Year Tawny Porto.
2b2. 20-Year Tawny Porto.
2b3. 30-Year Tawny Porto.
2b4. 40-Year Tawny Porto.
2c. With a specific indication of age.
2c1. Colheita Porto.
2c2. Garrafeira Porto.
* * * * *
3. White Porto.
3a. Bottled young.
3b. Bottled after 7+ years of wood aging.
* * * * *
True Tawny Porto comes in three categories:
a) with no age statement at all, and relatively inexpensive (some are actually blends of Ruby and White; but a true Tawny Porto must spend at least seven years in wood prior to bottling);
b) those with a rough indication of age (10-Year, 20-Year, 30-Year, and 40-Year);
c) Tawny Porto from a single harvest, i.e.: Colheita Porto.
To MY taste, I tend to enjoy 10's and 20's (older than that and, to my taste, they are often too woody and lose too much fruit), but Colheitas are sublime. But they can be quite expensive. I would first explore other 10- and 20-Year Tawnies and discover the other flavors and characters found in the offerings from other producers. I'd look for producers like A.A. Ferreira 20-Year Tawny Port "Duque de Bragança" (my all-time favorite 20-Year Old Tawny Porto), followed by the Barros 20-Year Old. Niepoort and Noval both produce excellent 20-Year Old Tawnies, but I generally prefer their 10-Year Old bottlings. The same is true for Delaforce -- their "Curious and Ancient" 20-Year Old is quite good, but I tend to prefer their 10-Year Old "His Eminence’s Choice" Tawny Porto.
I believe all of these are better than Taylor's (aka Taylor, Fladgate) -- but that is MY taste. YMMV.
If you get into Tawnies, you might want to try a Colheita Porto. Colheitas are from a single year's harvest, but are NOT Vintage Porto -- even though no wine from another year was blended into it. These age for at least 7 years in wood, and will carry *both* the calendar year of harvest and the calendar year of bottling on the bottle. Thus you could have (for example) a 1981 Colheita bottled in 1988 -- but you could also have a 1981 Colheita bottled in 1994 or in 2007 . . . .
Niepoort, Barros, Kopke, and Krohn (also known as Weise & Krohn) are the stars here, though I've also had some fine Colheitas from Noval. Recently the Symington properties have gotten into producing Cohleitas -- something they've avoided for centuries! Go figure . . .