Very old tawny Ports are currently á moda to use the Portuguese expression. In fact, having long been the preserve of the so called ‘Portuguese shippers’, they have now migrated to the British shippers. In this case the migration is literal. As far as I am aware, Taylor’s 1863 Single Harvest was once a wine belonging to Wiese & Krohn, once a Portuguese family-owned shipper which was bought, lock stock and barrel, by the Fladgate Partnership.
Taylor’s set the fashion rolling with the launch of a pre-phylloxera tawny called Scion four years ago and, finding there was a healthy market out their for these wines, they have followed it up with a dated tawny which, under Portuguese management, would be termed a colheita. With a reputation for some of the finest vintages, Taylor’s have a lot to live up to and this wine more than fits the bill - it is a stunningly beautiful wine!
The 1863 harvest was the last great year before phylloxera. As Taylor’s remind us, it was also the year of the first underground railway (the Metropolitan Line in London), the Battle of Gettysburg and the birth of both Henry Ford and Sir Fredrick Henry Royce. It is a wine that encapsulates history and is all the more remarkable for having been carefully looked after in Portugal through the latter years of the monarchy and three rather turbulent republics.
Naturally a wine like this doesn’t come cheap, added to which it is expensively and beautifully packaged. It will retail for around £3,000 a bottle at the following UK merchants: Woodwinters, Corney & Barrow, Harrods, Upton Wines, Fraziers, SH Jones, Berry Bros & Rudd, Bordeaux Index, Farr Vintners
Taylor’s 1863 Single Harvest Port *****
Deep amber-mahogany centre with an umber /olive green rim; an immediate aria from the glass: lifted and aromatic with wonderful figgy concentration; rich treacle fruit both on the nose and palate, spicy, candied peel with touch of nutmeg, warming, incredibly sweet and mellifluous, almost to the point of cloying yet perfectly offset by incredibly fresh grapefruit-like acidity. This is a wine that goes on and on and on…. 19.5
19 - 20 An outstanding wine (*****)
17 – 18 An excellent wine in its class, highly recommended (****)
15 - 16 A good wine, with much to recommend it (***)
13 - 14 An enjoyable but simple, straightforward wine (**)
10 – 12 A very ordinary wine without faults but with no great merit (*)
8 - 10 Disagreeable (no stars)
Below 8 Faulty