The Port house of Taylor is now 330 years old and holds one of the most extensive reserves of very old aged cask Ports of any producer. Over the past decade they have made a number of limited edition releases that have drawn on these impressive reserves, all of which have been very special indeed.
To mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, Taylor have blended, bottled and released a “Very Very Old Tawny Port”, an unprecedented creation that required a new classification in its own right.
The component parts of the blend are drawn from a selection of wines that have been ageing in seasoned casks for an average of 70 years. Selected and blended by Taylor’s own winemakers, the resulting wine is nothing short of extraordinary. A delight to taste and a step back in history to another era.
The wine is obviously very limited in terms of availability, and each bottle is presented in its own individual wooden case. Best served slightly chilled, a bottle will drink well for up to two months after opening. We have tasted the wine here in the office and struggle to think of a better Tawny port that we have encountered.
A deep mahogany hue with slight green tinge to the rim. Viscous in texture. A wonderfully intense and powerful bouquet bursts from the glass. A remarkable, multi-layered cornucopia of complex aromas on the nose incorporating: molasses, sultanas, toasted nuts, toffee, caramel, Arabica coffee, Cuban tobacco, incense, cloves & black pepper. Full in viscosity and texture on the palate with figgy Christmas cake flavours, honey, oranges and exotic spices. Such concentration yet possessing a steely cut of racy acidity lending freshness, tension, focus and superb balance. What length too ! Tawny port does not get any better than this.
This is a treat, never to be repeated. David Guimaraens who blended the wine said to me it is ‘a blend of the finest I have’ and hopes that Her Majesty gets to drink a glass of it (however I heard recently that HM is no longer drinking!). David was understandably coy about what went into the blend (and there is no indication of age but it is ‘very, very old’). Having tasted the wine I fully believe him when he says it is our ‘finest’ (and there is considerable loyalty to the monarchy at the British end of the Port trade): deep mature amber-tawny hue; lovely, lifted, delicate spicy aromas with a touch of torrefaction (coffee) and honey; wonderfully fresh and precise on the palate, intensely sweet, spicy honeyed fruit, long and mellifluous, undeniably rich but stops short of cloying, the richness offset by a streak of acidity, glorious finish that goes on and on and on.
This special Tawny Port has been a knockout since its release, and it is now better than ever. Copperish in colour, it fills the room with powerful aromas immediately on opening. A stunning array of dried figs, pipe tobacco, dried black cherry, leather, frangipane and preserved citrus all come through in waves. The palate is, if anything, even more impressive. Intense in flavour, blending sweet and savoury, the unerring power of the fruit core is matched by Madeira-like acidity. The result is a beautifully balanced yet explosive wine. Dried blood orange, clove, cinnamon and more fresh tobacco come through on this expansive and moreish wine. Though oily and rich, there is no overriding sweetness, the sheer weight of fruit and cutting acids keep everything in perfect harmony. Minutes long on the finish, this is undoubtedly one of the finest Ports of any style created at Taylor's. Drink it slightly chilled to enjoy at its very best.