TAYLOR

2018

EN PRIMEUR

Although this was declared in the usual way, the family decided to hold back the Taylor 2018 release until January 2021. This marks an unprecedented 'third year on the trot' for a Taylor declaration - and they are the only house to do so we were delighted to taste it over zoom with them yesterday.
As Adrian Bridge said: “Although a Classic declaration normally only happens about three times a decade, the exceptional run of years has meant that Taylor’s is able to make a third in a row. This is very unusual but our principle is that we only declare a Classic Vintage when the quality is there and this is dictated by the year, not by any other consideration."
The wine certainly warrants a full declaration. Brimming with the classic Taylor finesse and perfect poise. There is a cool line to open up then a delicate feel of beautifully ripe fruit just there - just lurking in this well-honed wine. Power and depth are here but it is so genteelly delivered this is a real treat. Already this has appeal but in 15 years it will really begin to motor and then onwards for 30 years or more. Fabulous for the cellar, and certainly a historic release.
The wine certainly warrants a full declaration. Brimming with the classic Taylor finesse and perfect poise. There is a cool line to open up then a delicate feel of beautifully ripe fruit just there - just lurking in this well-honed wine. Power and depth are here but it is so genteelly delivered this is a real treat. Already this has appeal but in 15 years it will really begin to motor and then onwards for 30 years or more. Fabulous for the cellar, and certainly a historic release. "> Drinking range: 2032 - 2060L&S (Jun 2020)

In Bond

75cl bottles (wood case of 6)

* This is a pre-shipment/primeur offer. All orders are accepted under the TERMS of this offer which differ from the terms of the rest of the site.

It has a classy, aristocratic bouquet, a signature note apropos Taylor’s Vintage: dense black fruit with touches of melted tar, cloves and white pepper. This just builds and builds in the glass. The palate is very harmonious with fine tannins, perfect acidity and very pure with a gentle, almost caressing second half. White pepper interlaces the black fruit with a very precise finish. Pure class. Drinking range: 2032 - 2075 Rating: 97 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (Jan 2021)

Remarkably harmonious already, with a beautiful display of unadulterated blueberry, blackberry and plum sauce flavors that fan out, while anise, ganache and cassis accents fill in. So lush and seductive through the finish, it’s nearly drinkable. But just wait. Drinking range: 2030 - 2050 Rating: 96 James Molesworth, The Wine Spectator (Dec 2020)

Blackish crimson. Neat-looking. Pepper and herbs on the nose – almost makes you want to sneeze. And again the voluptuous fruit almost kids you that you could drink this now but instead there is a massive charge of fine tannin underneath. This is definitely not for sipping now but is a monument for the future. Rather dry and refined as opposed to opulent. (Go to Fonseca Guimaraens for opulence.) Very long, dry and savoury overall within the vintage port canon. Drinking range: 2035 - 2060 Rating: 17.5++ Jancis Robinson OBE MW - www.JancisRobinson.com (Jan 2021)

A ‘classic’ declaration from Taylor’s: a blend from Quinta de Vargellas in the Douro Superior (‘the backbone’) and Quintas Terra Feita and Junco in the Pinhão Valley. Deep, scented (violets and esteva or gum cistus), minty too, restrained but already quite expressive; lovely pure mint and berry fruit backed by fine grained tannins which rise in the mouth to a long, level, linear finish. Not especially big but beautifully poised and very elegant. This has all the qualities of a long term keeper. It is already magnificent and will be even more so in 15 to 20 years. Rating: 19.5 Richard Mayson, www.richardmayson.com  (Jan 2021)

Aromatic and expressive, this adds a big bang for a finish that reminds you that it is, indeed, Taylor’s. After opening it on the first day tasted, it tightened fast and showed the structure I like to see in serious Ports. It has that classic flavor profile as well and shows fine concentration. Even 48 hours later it had no problem showing off a little muscle, even though it drank decently at that point. The fruit is expressive, as noted, but it is still a bit closed just now. Drinking range: 2028 - 2065 Rating: 95 Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, www.RobertParker.com (Sep 2020)

Taylor, Fladgate and Yeatman is one of the oldest and largest port houses, and owns the renowned brands Fonseca, Fonseca-Guimaraens, Croft and Taylor. Based in Oporto and the Douro Valley, it is an independent company which is still family-owned and managed. Widely renowned for its vintage ports, which are blended from the finest wines from its three iconic 'quintas', Taylors is also credited with being the originator of the Late Bottled Vintage style of port.

2018 was a complicated vintage in the Douro, described by the Symington family as ‘a rollercoaster’ climatically, yet the resulting wines are looking remarkably good. Largely this will be a year for the Single Quintas – and not a ‘general Declaration’ by all. Had they all gone for it - this would have been the third year on the trot for a full Declaration and this has never happened before. You could even sense some unease at the release of 2016 & 2017 back to back (both wonderful and worthy vintages) this double-whammy had not happened since 1872-73! So perhaps for 2018 it was never going to be - whatever the quality of the year – who knows, only time will tell.


So far we have only tasted the fantastic 2018 release from Quinta do Romaneira – and it really is brilliant, showing the vintage clearly had what was needed to make great Port. If you survived the long winter drought, the serious hail in April and the damp Spring – the long, hot summer was excellent for maturing the fruit. Undeniably, it was a hot year – but this is becoming common in the Douro and producers know just how to handle it. Clever vine canopy management, plot by plot harvesting at just the right moment for each parcel and gentle handling in the cellar, are all tools helping winemakers tame the sizzling heat.


A ‘not so general Declaration' can be a great opportunity for buyers and drinkers. Great Houses releasing ports from their Single Quintas in a great vintage often spells value and 2018 is looking very promising.


So promising in fact that some big names have not been able to resist declaring their 'Classic Wines'. Sandeman have released a 2018 – but they did not declare in 2017 – so for them this is not ‘three on the bounce’ – and Taylor are releasing a 2018, but they will hold on until next year.


Adrian Bridge who heads up Taylor and Fonseca told us:

“Although a Classic declaration normally only happens about three times a decade, the exceptional run of years has meant that Taylor’s is able to make a third in a row. This is very unusual but our principle is that we only declare a Classic Vintage when the quality is there and this is dictated by the year, not by any other consideration. Indeed, in view of the economic situation in which we find ourselves, we will bottle in July as usual but will not offer the wines until early 2021”


We are delighted to offer (for now) the following small selection of excellent Vintage Ports. Not only will these prove fantastic drinking in the coming decades – but Vintage Ports are also one of the best mementos of a special year. With the life in them to mature gracefully for at least 20 years, a case of one of these could be the most wonderful present for any children or god-children born in 2018.


Some of these are in very limited supply – so please let us know what you would like and we will do our very best to secure it for you.




Finally, because they never stop being true, some words of wisdom from Patrick Sandeman:

"The next question is whether one needs to buy and lay down vintage port at all in this day and age… Well, if, like me, you think that a dinner party is only a dinner party if you climax with a decanter of vintage port or two (otherwise it is only really a supper party), or if, like me, you decant a bottle of vintage port every Friday night during the months of November and December to drink over the week-end, then you will need at least two dozen bottles a year, and assuming that there is only one great vintage every four years, you should be buying at least eight dozen bottles. Equally, if you are of the camp that ‘no longer drinks port because it gives me a hangover’, then you too should be laying down some port for when you learn to drink less before and during dinner, and appreciate something exceptional at the end of the evening. Finally, of course, there are the (2018) babes whose God-parents, aunts and uncles, and parents should be buying at least two cases of six bottles (one to sell to help pay for the gap year in eighteen years time, the other to drink)." Patrick Sandeman

Best wishes,
The Lea & Sandeman Team

Recommendations

We are always delighted to offer advice should you need it. Please contact our private client team via email.

Pricing & Availability

All prices are quoted in bond by the case size stated. Some wines are highly sought after so we may give priority to previous buyers and those who buy across the offer. We expect these ports to arrive in the UK early in 2020.

Other Vintages

If you are interested in mature vintages of port, you can browse our duty paid selection here.