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In a nutshell: A gorgeous vintage port from a great year which has been carefully matured in Taylor’s own warehouses in Portugal.
Vintage port really is ridiculously underpriced. Here we have a mature port from one of the great names in the port business and from a great year for under £100 a bottle. The equivalent from Bordeaux or Burgundy would be five times as much, and even then you’d be buying at auction with no guarantee of quality.
This comes straight from Taylor’s cellars to a wine merchant near you. And what a beautiful wine it is too. This will need careful decanting.
While the quality of many other great names in port like Noval and Sandeman declined in the 70s and 80s (and both houses will admit as much), Taylors has always been solid. This might be because Taylors has never been passed around like other port houses. It can be traced back to a Bearsley family of Southwark innkeepers in the 17th century.
Partners have been and gone since then, notably Joseph Taylor, John Fladgate and Morgan Yeatman. The firm, officially called Taylor, Fladgate and Yeatman has been run by relatives of the Yeatman family ever since.
As well as investing heavily in the port business, the firm has been instrumental in turning Porto into the modern tourist destination with the opening of the luxury Yeatman Hotel at Vila Nova de Gaia in 2010 with its Michelin-starred restaurant.
Considering all the empire building, the company has not neglected the wines. The standard range is excellent and the company has moved into rare Colheitas (aged in wood but from a single year) with a range from the 1960s and a remarkable 1863, which I’ve been fortunate enough to try on a number of occasions.
With the 34-year-old 1985 vintage, the tannins, though still present, have yielded somewhat and there’s still lots of youthful fruit which is just beginning to give way to spices, leather and meaty savoury notes.
Stilton or hard mature cheeses are the classic choice, but this would also work well with something simple made with dark chocolate.
This review was last updated in November 2019. If you have any questions or suggestions for future reviews, or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on alcohol guidelines, read our guide to drinking responsibly.