Nelson @TaylorsPortWine: Continuing our Port #Wine adventures the next day, we decided to climb the hill to get to one of the most famous brands (to me at least), Taylor Fladgate. That hill was exhausting to climb, but as it turns out, well worth it.
The waiting area for the tour (5€) is welcoming and not as tent-like as you would imagine from the picture. There are magnificent views on the outside (better be after such a vertical hike) and would be a great venue for special events. There is even a garden with peacocks! You get three samples on the tour and you get the first while you wait for the tour to begin.
|Appropriately it is an aperitif. This is Taylor's Chip Dry Port, a white port. As advertised, it was dry, yet still sweet. I would say it tasted more like a sweet white wine than a dry port wine. You can see this hallway of large barrels used to age Rubies and I think some white ports as well. Usually Rubies and white ports are only aged for a few years before being bottled and consumed. They retain more of the fruity flavour and don't interact with the barrel's wood as much since they are held in such large vats.|
The smaller barrels are for long term aging where the wine is usually blended to form a Tawny. Because they are aged in the wooden barrels, they slowly oxidize and evaporate. This process also causes the port to become lighter and lighter in colour going from an opaque red to a golden brown translucent colour. Tawny ports are blended together to get the appropriate house taste and they are labelled by the number of years that is approximately the average of all the ports that are combined. Special tasters ensure that the taste is consistent every year. Awesome job, right?
We also learned on the tour that Taylor's stick to the traditional methods which include pressing the grapes by feet. I was kinda grossed out by that, but good for them for sticking to the traditional methods.
At the conclusion of the tour is the tasting of a 10 year old Tawny Port and a Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) 2009. I've explained the Tawny already above, but haven't discussed the LBV. As the name implies, these wines are from a single vintage year, but left in the barrel to age for an extended period of four to six years. As a result it typically doesn't mature in the bottle and is ready to drink upon bottling AND opening. It can be considered a convenient everyday drinking vintage as it keeps for several weeks after being opened. This specific one I thought was really good, like a sweet red with fruity flavours. I thought it was very easy to drink and definitely enjoyable so it was one my favourites on the whole trip.
The 10 Year Old Tawny had a very strong aroma, like a creme brule or a caramel. The taste was very clean without any alcoholic aftertaste. Such joy to drink!
Not picture, Leo decided to get a glass of a very old single harvest port from 1964 (21€). Yes that is the price for just one glass. Slightly different from a vintage, so I'll explain that first. A vintage wine is from a single year and has to be an exceptional year in grape quality for it to be declared a vintage. They are only aged for two to three years before being bottled. After that it continues to age in the bottle and can do so for decades. Upon opening these have to be consumed very quickly.
|Probably somewhat unique to Taylor, the single harvest variant is made from grapes from a single year, but aged to full maturity in the cask. Taylor ages them for 50 years before releasing them. That is what we tasted today and it was spectacular. Unfortunately I don't have a picture of it, since I didn't think I would get to taste it, but the colour was a very light brown unlike any others we had tried. The smell was incredible without any hint of alcohol. And the taste? It was sweet and didn't taste like there was any alcohol whatsoever. Therefore it was smooth and allowed other flavours to come to the forefront. For me I tasted a lot of vanilla and chocolate. It was incredible. I didn't realize before embarking on the trip, but drinking this port wine was a definite highlight of the entire trip.|
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