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Dec 24, 2009 06:21 AM

Cooking with Port: Ruby vs. Tawny

I'm making a Port Roast Stuff with Winter Dried Fruit. It has a port wine sauce (precious little port actually - maybe a few tbs). Question is this. The recipe calls for Ruby Port and I only have Tawny. I know the difference between the two and that Ruby is younger perhaps more fruit. Is it really worth going out and springing for a bottle or Ruby? Please advise.

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  1. tawnies also tend to be pricier than rubies. your call on the flavor profile you desire in the end result. the tawny will be nuttier vs. the grapiness of a ruby. you could use red wine and reduce it for something closer to the recipe.

    1. In general I think that the flavor profile of Ruby is better for cooking, as the oakiness and oxidation of the tawny could go weird especially if rediced (on the same account, people typically don't cook with oaked Chardonnay or red wines). But a few tablespoons of tawney is unlikely to be a problem, and I would use it rather than buy a whole bottle of otherwise-undesired Ruby Port.

      IMO, reducing a red wine would not be succesfull, because none of Port's sweetness would emerge from the process, or?

      2 Replies
      1. re: Bada Bing

        it depends on the wine used. (btw, it would be very rare to find a red wine not aged in barrel, stainless tanks are used only for whites.) a softer fruitier wine like a zin or syrah certainly would work.

        it sounds like the dried fruits are basically a compote for the meat. you could use brandy, a sweet white or even sweet sherry for this. i wouldn't buy the ruby if i thought i'd not use it again til next year.

        1. re: hotoynoodle

          Yeah you're totally right about the red wine and barrels. My phrasing was poor--I meant that the oaking of whites was not great for much cooking (like most CA reserve Chardonnays, as they were 10 years ago, anyway, when I stopped buying them at all). As for reds, I meant the more heavily oaked forms, like Spanish reserva wines, which spend a lot longer time in wood.

      2. I agree with Bada Bing. While Ruby would generally be preferred in many, if not most, cooking application I doubt in a recipe calling for such a small amount that the difference will be tragic. I would use the tawny over a red wine personally and would also use it rather than buy a whole bottle of ruby for only a few tablespoons.

        Well, unless this is something you make often, in which case I *would* go out for a ruby - it keeps quite a while once opened.

        1. just use what you've got.