Taylor’s release a 125-year-old port
Taylor’s has dug deep into their valuable reserves of very old port to offer Taylor’s Single Harvest 1896 to a limited number of lucky, and presumably wealthy, port lovers.
They describe it as priceless, which is not strictly accurate because the 500ml hand-blown crystal decanter carries a reassuringly expensive price tag of NZD $9,499.99. Local distributor, Hancocks, has been allocated just two decanters. Each decanter is packed in an attractive cherrywood case.Anyone lucky enough to taste this wine is also tasting history.
Over the years their reserves have allowed the company to release several very rare, limited edition Ports of great age. These include the SCION from 1855 and the Taylor’s 1863 Single Harvest Port, one of the last pre-phylloxera wines to be offered for sale. The Single Harvest 1896 Port is the latest of these exceedingly rare 19th-century releases.
Sadly, I have not yet tasted the wine, which Taylor’s describes as:
“Mahogany core with olive green highlights on the rim. The magical quality of this wine is unique, hard to compare even with the few other wines of similar age that have survived to the present day. Its depth and density are astonishing, even taking into account the wine’s concentration over a century and a quarter of ageing in wood.
“At first, a rich and seductive redolence of black coffee and liquorice takes centre stage but a host of other scents and nuances soon emerge from the wings, creating an intricate display of complex aroma. Notes of sawn cedarwood blend with hints of dried rose petal, fennel and eucalyptus. Notes of black pepper and vanilla add a warm spicy dimension.
“On the palate, the wine is dense, round and velvety with impressive volume and concentration, the sweetness balanced by a fresh acidity. Mellow flavours of coffee and butterscotch combine with vibrant notes of orange peel and citrus. The finish is endless, the dense mellow flavours remaining on the palate long after the wine has been tasted.”
Anyone lucky enough to taste this wine is also tasting history. In 1896 Queen Victoria became the longest-reigning monarch in British history, Marconi invented the telephone, Wilhelm Rontgen discovered X-rays and the Tootsie Roll was introduced by Leo Hirshfield.