Wood aged Ports are those which age entirely in cask or vat and are ready to drink when they are bottled.
The mellow, complex style of wood aged Port ages in small oak casks, generally holding about 630 litres. In a cask there is a relatively small volume of wine compared to the surface area of the vessel, so contact with the wood is proportionately greater.
As it matures in cask, a Port gradually loses the deep red 'ruby' colour of youth and takes on the seductive amber hue known as 'tawny'. At the same time the wine becomes progressively smoother and mellower, its aromas gaining in richness and complexity.
As it ages, some of the wine - known as the angel's share - evaporates and this causes the Port to become increasingly concentrated with age. Fonseca's magnificent 10 and 20 Year Old Tawny Ports belong in this category. The long years of cask ageing in the Fonseca lodges have given them a wonderfully opulent nutty, spicy flavour.
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