1965 Taylor Fladgate "Very Old Single Harvest" Tawny Port
Wine & Spirits
It’s tempting to look for house style in Tawny Port, especially among the British firms who make a point of defining a style for their Vintage selections. Taylor’s Vintage, blended from several estate vineyards, is defined by the old vines at Quinta do Vargellas, a Douro Superior site that produces tense, muscular and firmly mineral wines. Though this Tawny is from a lot purchased by Taylor from the Port shippers Wiese & Krohn in 2013, as Taylor’s managing director Adrian Bridge explained, the company decided to present it as part of their Limited Edition series, as it closely parallels the style of Tawny Dick Yeatman would have socked away. Bridge said that Yeatman, who managed the firm from 1923 until his death in 1966, 'loved making Port, but he wasn’t interested in selling it; we have all this old Tawny stock because he had an attachment to it.' Whether augmented by new purchases, or selected from the firm’s own stocks, Taylor plans to release a Limited Edition Tawny from a 50-year-old single harvest each year. There’s a buzz of freshness surrounding the flavors in this 1965, incorporating the kind of tension you might find in an equally mature vintage of Taylor Vargellas, parallel in its mineral structure and schist-inflected tannins. Here, the edges have been polished smooth by cask aging, but there are still edges, and there is still fruit—plummy fruit layered with floral notes of honey and bee pollen. Brisk and graceful, this carries the terroir of the Douro directly.
The age of this very fine old tawny is obvious from the old gold color. At 50 years, though, it still has amazingly impressive fruit and great depth of flavor. Acidity and spice are allied to dried apricot, raisins and a terrific concentration. This attractive, masterful wine is totally ready to drink. (RV)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 1965 Very Old Single Harvest Port, that is, a Coheita, single vintage tawny, is part of Taylor's continuing series of releases of old Colheitas. A field blend of typical grapes, it comes in at 157 grams per liter of residual sugar. In the overall context of amazing old Colheitas, it may not take 1st prize, but it will strike anyone who loves them as pretty fine. Get ready for those aromatics that are powerful from several feet away. Irresistible on opening, it has an up-front rush of sugar, concentrated aromatics and remarkable concentration of flavor on the finish. Laced with classic old tawny nuances, including a bit of molasses and treacle, it ends with a dark, burnished feel. The mid-palate depth is just average. There are some whiffs of brandy that are sometimes rather too obvious here and there, but not often. Overall, it is bright and lively, with its good acidity cutting through the sugar and concentrated flavors. The two balance each other well. Some tawnies are caressing and sensual; some are rich and lush; some lean more to bite and focus. This is in the latter category, but the price of admission here is that concentration of mature, old tawny Port flavors. The acidity and the sugar lace those flavors into the palate. It emphasizes treacle more as time goes on. It's pretty fine. Note: this was tasted from a 375ml with a bar-top cork. (MS)
Vibrant and zesty, with an engaging minerality and flavors of dried apricot, butterscotch, almond and spice. Still fresh despite the age, this features a finish that zings with notes of dried citrus peel and juniper berry. Drink now. (KM)
Beautiful transparent color of amber and gold. Aromas of honey, toffee, caramel and dried fruits remain subtle yet decadent. Full-bodied and very sweet with so much honey, almond, salted-peanut and white-pepper flavor. Lasts for minutes on the palate. A wonderful old dated tawny.
The 1965, a degree lower in alcohol, is a tad darker (amber-mahogany) but less lucid in color, offering scents of marzipan, cinnamon, fig, and caramel, with a surprisingly fresh note of cherry emerging with aeration. The wine is more youthful and primary in the mouth than the ‘64, more powerful today for all its silkiness. It’s technically much higher in residual sugar AND in acidity than the 1964 and a bit more aggressively youthful. Today it’s a less mellow, slightly more peppery drink and yet there’s already a wonderfully silky texture and a slowly mounting whiplash of a finish. These wines are meant to be ready to drink upon release, but I certainly wouldn’t be in a rush to uncork the 1965. (ST: Taylor’s 1964 and 1965 Very Old Single Harvest Port)