Probably the best known of all Port houses, the firm known today as Taylor’s was founded by Job Bearsley who was a general trader. The famous Taylor’s 4XX logo is in actual fact a wool mark! It was Job’s son Peter who moved the company to Oporto in 1709 and they were the first English family to purchase property in the Douro in 1744.
In 1816 Joseph Taylor joined the firm and it was soon trading under his name, 1836 saw the arrival of John Fladgate and Morgan Yeatman. Descendants of these three families have run the firm ever since, and it remains independent. David Guimaraens is the wine-maker here, producing ‘first growth’ Vintage Port. Taylor’s were the first to plant single variety vineyards at Quinta de Vargellas.
The earliest harvest on record in 2017 followed a growing season of drought and high temperatures, the resultant wines being very concentrated with good structure. 2016 has been a tricky vintage for the growers but ultimately they have been rewarded with super wines with elegance and freshness, good enough to make some growers think twice about a general declaration in 2015 whose wines look very good in their own right. In 2013 the single quintas are fresh with lively fruit character. 2012 is a great single quinta vintage which produced elegant wines with balance and poise. 2011 has produced fabulous wines with freshness and a fruit style which will make them great drinking throughout their evolution. 2009, by contrast, is about power, density and longevity. The 2007 vintage was more elegant with great concentration, length and purity. The very hot summer of 2003 delivered super ripe, intense wines. The Millennium vintage of 2000 was wonderfully rich and ripe, approachable in style but worth keeping. 1997 was widely declared and rightly praised but still a little backward. Wines from the 1994 vintage remain backward due to their intensity. 1992 is also for the long-term, currently quite closed. The concentrated wines of 1991 are still for keeping, though Ports from the lighter houses are just beginning to emerge. The wines of the bountiful 1985 vintage have a great balance of power with sweetness and are drinking now. The appealing style of the 1983s makes them perfect for current drinking. The wines of the 1980 vintage too are much under-rated and very pure. The 1977s, undoubtedly one of the great vintages, have matured well and are firmly in their drinking window, whilst the initially structured wines of 1970 have proved themselves worth the wait and are now at their peak. Lucky indeed are those still fortunate enough to have some 1966s, 1963s, 1960s and 1955s!
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