Ratings: 100 Points / Neal Martin The Wine Advocate January 2011.
In 2008 Taylor’s wine maker David Guimaraens became aware of the existence of a very old and rare cask-aged port dating from before the arrival of Phylloxera in the Douro Valley. The wine belonged to a distinguished Douro family and was stored in the village of Prezegueda in the Corgo Valley. A treasured heirloom, passed down from one generation to the next, it was maintained as a private family reserve, with the exception of one pipe said to have been acquired by Winston Churchill.
In 2009 the sole surviving direct descendent of the family died, leaving no children. Her heirs, not all family members, decide to sell the wine. Taylor’s acquired samples and, amazingly in view of its age (harvest 1855), the wine was found to be faultless condition. Taylor’s successfully negotiated the purchase of the wine which was moved in two casks to the firm’s lodges in Oporto on 13th January, 2010. In view of its extraordinary quality, rarity and remarkable historical interest, it was decided by the firm’s Managing Director Adrian Bridge that the wine should not be blended but should be offered by Taylor’s as a unique collector’s item.
In addition to the wine itself, several other items included in the box are collector’s items in their own right. The wine is presented in a hand-blown limited edition crystal decanter specially produced for SCION. Set into the lid of the box is a booklet telling the story of the wine with original drawings by the illustrator and typographer Sarah Coleman. The Port and Douro Wines Institute has kindly made available some rare guarantee seals from a limited remaining stock.
A clear dark brown colour that looks like a mature Tokaji, with thick tears in the glass. It has a very intense, almost honeyed bouquet with allspice, singed leather, pressed rose petals, molasses, mint and a touch of dried fig. The oxidation is minimal, which is quite remarkable for its age, a sense of ebullience and joie-de-vivre bursting forth.
The palate is full-bodied with intense honeyed fruits, touches of fig, date and liquorice vying for attention, biting acidity that cuts through the intense fruit. This is unbelievably fresh and vibrant with an almost Sauternes-like quality on the honey-glazed, hazelnut-tinged finish. It has unbelievable length. Simply stunning.