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Taylor’s 325th anniversary Port sails into London

Taylor’s Port house toasted its 325th anniversary with the unveiling of a limited-edition Reserve Tawny, which had travelled from the Douro to London by yacht. Tina Gellie reports on its arrival and puts the wine through its paces.

In a re-enactment of Taylor’s first shipment of Port to the UK in the 17th century, the cask was loaded onboard at Taylor’s lodges at Vila Nova de Gaia on 2 May and arrived on the banks of the Thames at the Tower of London on 11 May, ahead of a gala dinner there that evening.

‘It’s time to take Port off the pedestal and bring it down to the table.’

Winemaker David Guimararens told Decanter.com the Taylor’s 325 Limited Edition Anniversary Tawny, aged for 18 months, was a ‘cherry-picking’ of the best wines earmarked for the house’s 10-, 20-, 30- and 40-year-old tawny Ports.

taylor's 325th anniversary port

The Taylor’s 325th anniversary Port.

‘I’ve selected wines with age for complexity, and wines with youth for vibrancy,’ said Guimaraens. ‘I wanted this wine to be accessible, unpretentious. Not a Port that only a few people can afford, but one that everyone can enjoy.

‘It’s time to take Port off the pedestal and bring it down to the table.’

The squat ‘onion’ bottle is based on a 17th-century design that is the oldest example of a bottle with the Taylor’s company mark.

It also bears the Royal coat of arms, denoting Taylor’s as a Port supplier by Royal Warrant of Appointment to HM Queen Elizabeth II.

Solo yachtsman Ricardo Diniz is helmsman of the restored 1991-built boat #Taylor325. Following safe delivery of the Port cask to London, he will compete in the OSTAR 2017 (Original Single-handed Trans-Atlantic Race) sailing on 29 May from Plymouth to Newport, Rhode Island. The crossing is expected to take 21 days, and he is the only Portuguese sailor in the race’s 57-year history.

Adrian Bridge, managing director of Taylor’s, told the 100 guests at the black-tie dinner at the Tower of London’s New Armouries that the partnership between Taylor’s and Diniz was a natural one, ‘uniting land and sea’.

In a wry comment on Brexit, he also reminded guests that the 1386 Treaty of Windsor was the longest trading agreement between any two nations, and why Britain has remained the leading market for Port ever since.

Taylor’s was founded in 1692 by English merchant Job Beardsley, who travelled to Portugal to start a wine business.

How it tastes

Taylor’s, 325 Limited Edition Anniversary Tawny – 94 points

Lifted but dense dried and candied fruit nose along with chocolate-covered coffee beans and Christmas baking spices. Multilayered, plush palate with a concentrated, juicy, bright mulberry core of acidity surrounded by rich sticky toffee pudding and warm gingerbread notes. Complex but approachable – a delicious tawny.

Alcohol: 20%

Drink: 2017-2040

Where to buy it

£27 Hangingditch, Hard to Find Wines, Mumbles Fine Wines, Saxty’s, The Whisky Exchange, Vintage Wine & Port

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