Just about the only way to celebrate an anniversary in 2018: Taylor’s 1968 ‘Harvest’ Tawny.

For anyone nearing a fiftieth birthday, I have the sad news that 1968 was no great shakes as a vintage. According to Michael Broadbent, Bordeaux was ‘atrocious’, Burgundy and the Rhone were ‘poor’ (the Hospices de Beaune auction was cancelled) and Champagne doesn’t even get a mention. Port, Madeira (or perhaps California) are just about the only places where 1968 was not a write-off. In the Douro conditions were far from ideal.  A late spring flowering was followed by a hot, dry summer then heavy rain fell just before harvest led to some rot. Some attractive but but early-maturing wines second-string wines were made (notably   Fonseca Guimaraens, Taylor's Quinta de Vargellas and Graham's Malvedos) but these are now for drinking up.  However Taylor’s have since acquired a fabulous stock of old cask-aged wine including colheitas or ‘harvest’ wines (effectively dated tawnies), some dating back to the nineteenth century. Crucially, these wines have been well cared for in the interim and are being bottled in limited quantities to celebrate important anniversaries.  For around £175 a bottle you can celebrate being fifty in 2018.

Taylor’s 1968 ‘Harvest’ Tawny *****

Mid-deep mahogany-tinged tawny with an olive green rim; lifted and mellifluous on the nose with a glorious aroma of butterscotch which comes singing from the glass; wonderfully soft, silky creamy texture, rich and intense with a hint of toffee and butterscotch mid-palate, a touch savoury then a long fresh finish redolent of tangerine and dried apricots. Seamless from start to finish. What a wonderful way to celebrate in 2018.   19   


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