I got an invitation from Vinunic to taste the 1863 Single Harvest from Taylor´s alongside some other bottles, and I of course gladly accepted.
Jorge Ramos from Taylor´s made a captivating and interesting presentation of the wines we tasted and of the house of Taylor´s.
2009 Late Bottled Vintage
A young, cool, seedy nose with notes of raisins, tires, asphalt and dried blueberries. Somewhat dusty on the nose.
The taste is warm and good with notes of dark fudge, figs, asphalt and sugared coffee. Medium long and fine. Better on the palate than on the nose.
85p (tasted 2014/11)
10 Year Old Tawny
A medium big, open nose with notes of cooked red apples, milk chocolate, white raisins and saw dust. Sweet and good.
The taste is big and a bit fiery with notes of white raisins, nut chocolate, dates and wood. A medium long, sweet finish with a hint of alcohol in the end. Very good.
87p (tasted 2014/11)
20 Year Old Tawny
A soft, deep nose with notes of milk chocolate covered cherries, dried strawberries and a hint of aged balsamic vinegar. Complex and very, very good. A big step up from the 10 year old.
The taste is big and intense with lots of cherry compote, dark raisins, dark chocolate and some burnt rubber. Very long and very nice. This I want for Christmas! :-)
92p (tasted 2014/11)
1997 Vintage Port
A tight, focused, seedy nose with notes of dark chocolate, lots of walnuts, figs and a hint of detergent. Ripe and complex, but still very young.
The taste is big and mouth coating with notes of sugared blueberries, damsons, dark chocolate and some blood & iron in the long, long finish. Lots of structure. This will need another 10 years in the cellar. Good stuff!
93p (tasted 2014/11)
2000 Vintage Port
The only really approachable bottle of the Vintage ports. The nose is stunning with its dark, brooding notes of Christmas spices & Christmas cake alongside scents of figs, fried nuts and Valrhona chocolate. Gorgeous!
The taste is big and steady and somewhat mature. It has both power and balance and lovely notes of dark cherries, chocolate cream, warm spices and walnuts. Very long and very yummy! Will go on for years and years.
95p (tasted 2014/11)
2003 Vintage Port
A still very adolescent nose with notes of crude rubber, ink, black cherries, raisins and asphalt. A bit closed. Very, very young, but promising.
The taste is big, tight and fiery with all the elements for something great in 20+ years time. Lots of tough tannins, concentrated black fruit and a minute long finish. Wait, wait and then wait some more.
93p (tasted 2014/11)
2007 Quinta de Vargellas Vinha Velha
A very young, potent, dark nose with notes of ripe blueberries, asphalt, bakelite, figs and dark coffee. This will need time but the components for a future great wine are there.
The taste is very tight, seedy and intense with notes of graphite, asphalt, hard cherry candy, spices and concentrated blueberry juice. Lots of broad shouldered tannins. Long, long and long. Wait at least 15 years.
The best memory of Quinta de Vargellas I have is drinking the 1964 from Duralex glasses in a London hotel room after we bought it for a song in a wine shop after the cork dropped in to the bottle just when we were in the process of buying it. :-)
94p (tasted 2014/11)
2011 Vintage Port
Boy, oh boy. I will not buy this, because I will be six feet under when this will be mature. But I envy those who will be around then, for this is a perfect wine in the making.
The nose is hauntingly deep and profoundly sweet and intense with a light, flowery note while the aromas of ripe blueberries, graphite, violets, green raisins and blood & iron take hold of your olfactory organs. This is the real thing.
The taste is the proverbial Muhammad Ali of wines - "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee" - immensely intense, yet light and elegant, and then waves of sweet dark fruit rolls over the tongue, leaving a distinct mark. The tannin are ripe, sweet and polished. A masterpiece in the making. Just wait 30 or 40 years...
98p (tasted 2014/11)
1965 Single Harvest
On the other side of things - this you don´t have to wait for. Just gulp it down, for this is good. The nose is open wide with yummy notes of autumn apples, chocolate truffles, bay leaves, caramel and a touch of iodine. Very, very good.
The taste is velvety and mature with notes of ripe apples, dry fudge, earth and white raisins. A medium long finish with a very nice warmth. Fully mature and drinking great.
90p (tasted 2014/11)
1863 Single Harvest
What can one say when tasting a 151 year old wine? Impressed? Yes, but this won´t make the most memorable wines of the year. Don´t get me wrong, it is good, but it is more fascinating than great.
The nose is deep, intense and a bit volatile with notes of old wrinkled red apples, a touch of liquorice and some earthy aromas. Even ethereal. There is something extra with that long time in wood.
The taste is smooth and intense with notes of white raisins, banana peel, moist earth and old wood. A long, soft finish with a high acidity. Again, more impressive than great.
88p (tasted 2014/11)