In the midst of Winter with the darkness and cold outside, it is nice to enjoy comfort from a glass or two of port wine. I have two port wines to review for you from Taylor Fladgate. Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) Port 2016 and Taylor Fladgate First Estate Reserve Port.
Port is made from indigenous grapes, typically Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesa, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca, and Tinta Cao. It is a fortified wine where the fermentation of the grapes is stopped before all the grapes’ sugars have been converted to alcohol then neutral grape spirits are added to bring the alcohol content to an ABV of 19.5%.
What is Late Bottled Vintage Port? That is best answered by first defining what is Vintage Port. Vintage Port is port that is produced by grapes from a specific year, usually with an excellent growing season that produces top quality grapes. The Vintage Port grapes can come from a single vineyard or even a single plot in a vineyard. It is usually small production. Typically Vintage Port is aged for at least 15-20 years before it is considered ready to drink, but can age for up to 80 years or more, for very special vintages. A Late Bottled Vintage Port wine comes from a single year chosen for its high quality, has a larger volume produced, and is bottled between 4-6 years after the vintage. These ports are fined and filtered before bottling so that no sediment forms in the bottle and you can enjoy them upon purchase.
My Tasting Notes
Taylor Fladgate First Estate Reserve Port (BC $22.99)
The First Estate Reserve Port is new to me. I read that it is meant to be a rich and fruity Port from selected individual wines, that are aged in a combination of oak vats and casks for three to four years. It is ready to drink upon purchase.
Appearance: almost opaque ruby, 95%, but lighter at the rim. Teardrops visible on the glass with swirling.
Nose: Medium minus intensity showing sweet, ripe black fruits, blackberries, light oak and red cherries. No difference with decanting.
Palate: Medium sweetness, with a lighter, thinner mouthfeel, but does get a bit heavier with swirling. Medium acidity and fine, light drying tannins. Juicy blackberries and black fruit flavours, along with plums, red apples, and sweet spices with swirling. Gets peppery from mid palate to finish. With decanting the wine bumps up to a medium plus body and has a touch of floral on the palate.
Finish: A medium length finishing with sweet ripe black fruit, and pepperiness. Overall a light mouthfeel, but with decanting it gets a slightly heavier mouthfeel and you now get medium intensity fine grained drying tannins.
Rating: An almost opaque ruby colour in the glass. A nice ripe black fruit and blackberries on the nose and palate. A medium body and medium sweetness. Balanced acidity with fruit and sweetness. Light tannic structure. Ripe black fruit finish together with some pepperiness.
Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage Port 2016 (BC $25.99)
This LBV port is aged four to six years in wood, and is ready to drink when bottled.
Appearance: Opaque ruby with just a tinge of lightness at the rim. Teardrops visible on the glass with swirling.
Nose: A lighter intensity nose with aromas of red fruit and red cherries, with touches of floral and oak. With decanting I picked up some raspberry aromas and less floral and oak.
Palate: Medium sweetness, with a thicker, round mouthfeel. Medium intensity tannins adds structure and acidity brings freshness to this port. The port does feel lighter on the mid palate. Red fruit, red cherries and red plums plus light oak and sweet spices flavours. Add raspberries to the palate with decanting. The other flavours persist.
Finish: A medium plus length finishing with red fruit and cherries, candied cherries and light oak. Firmer tannins and a bit of hotness. The tannins are a bit firmer on the finish with decanting.
Rating: Opaque ruby colour. Light red fruit and red cherry aromas. Thicker, fuller bodied, with a round mouthfeel. Firmer tannins. Red fruit, red cherries, and light oak on the palate. Fruit flavours carry to the finish, plus you also get some candied cherries, and a firmer tannic finish. A more structured port.
As expected there are no major changes with the aromas and flavours of these two ports, so enjoy them at your leisure over 1-2 weeks when you open these bottles. You can try both of these wines with an aged cheddar, or if you are a fan, of some blue cheeses. The salty and bitterness of blue cheeses should work well with the sweetness of the ports.