Friday, October 30, 2009

**** $ Hardy's Whiskers Blake Classic Tawny Port, NV, Southeastern Australia - Wine Review and Rating

By way of background: Hardy's Whiskers Blake Classic Tawny Port is a non-vintage port from the southeastern portion of Australia, aged 8 years and finished at 18% alcohol. The name "Whiskers" comes from the name of an individual allegedly charged with scaring birds away from the grape vines with his ready shotgun in the early 20th Century. Well, scary or not, let's see what Whiskers' namesake port shows for us in the glass.

In the glass: The Whiskers Blake port shows as light to medium brick brown-red.

On the nose: Classic, clean and sweet. Whiskers shows light carmel blended with a lifted hint of red fruit.

On the palate: The first hint is a sweet, acidic "yum". It hits in the front of your mouth, near the tip of your tongue. Then, the carmel cloak begins to trail down the sides of your cheeks, bringing sweetness up as it moves a pleasant acid tickle down below your tongue.

And the finish: The finish is modest in length, brings a touch of earth with even a smaller touch of cloying sweetness. Just a bit of an alcoholic bite, which is to be expected with the port-levels of 18% alcohol. Leaves you ready for the next sip, for sure.

In summary: Powerful, balanced and complete experience. For a sweet sip, I'd like stick with it for an evening, generating a full four stars. Awesome value at Whiskers' awesomely modest price.

Josh Raynolds of Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar tended to agree with my enthusiasms, awarding 89 points, and saying, "Pinkish amber. Spicy redcurrant and toffee aromas are complicated by orange peel, molasses and fresh rose. A delicate and nicely focused tawny with toffeed apple and pear flavors and an exotic blood orange quality emerging on the back. This rather understated port shows good finishing lift and a lingering salted caramel character."

Wine Spectator was even more enthusiastic, awarding 94 points, and writing, "Succulent and smooth, this tremendously complex tawny is layered with caramel, walnut, coffee, almond and orange peel flavors, long, elegant and spicy in the mouth. All this and wow, what a price this wine could double as a Best Buy."

So, all in all, this would be a definite "go to" port if you're looking for pleasure, complexity and a modest price. Because of the eight-year aging, and non-vintage status, Hardy's Whiskers Blake Classic Tawny should resemble itself anywhere, anytime you buy it.

Find Whiskers Blake at WineZap.

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