Taylor’s 1961 Single Harvest Port *****

With the sleet falling down outside on a January day in the UK’s third lockdown it is good to be reminded of the beneficial things in life. The remarkable 1961 vintage took place nearly sixty years ago – and I should l know as it was my vintage. A landmark year in Bordeaux, it was also a good year in the Douro which produced some fine single quinta Ports, nearly all of which have been drunk. (I finished my last of a dozen Taylor’s 1961 Vargellas on my birthday about five years ago.) Sugar levels were high and the 1961 harvest was early. There has been, in my experience, a tendency for the 1961 Ports to be rich but rather high toned in character.  

This wine was made in a very different world (as was I): Salazar, the hijacking of the Santa Maria by Henrique Galvão, the Indian invasion of Goa (which presaged the collapse of the Portuguese Empire), Yuri Gagarine went into space and the film ‘West Side Story’ won an Oscar.  Here's my note:   

Mahogany brown with a thin golden-green rim; distinctly lifted on the nose, this wine sings straightway from the glass with layered aromas of molasses, dried figs, cedar and all-spice. On the palate it is sublimely rich in texture with the concentration of age evident through its intense quince marmalade sweetness, just about offset on the finish by a fine streak of lemon and lime acidity. A wine to ponder, sip and savour: the richness goes on and on.  19

Scoring

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