2017 Taylors Vintage Port
Super saturated pitch black in colour with an inky black dark red hue. Tightly packed, the nose is playing its cards close to its chest with liquorice, blackberry and morello cherry scents trailed by marzipan, subtle raisin, vanillin confectionary and spicy spirit notes. Rich, energetic and tense, decadent black cherry, liquorice and blackberry fruits are underscored by beautifully integrated warm spirit and a firm tannin structure that provides plenty of muscle and grip yet remains perfectly balanced. Notions of marzipan, black plum and spicy raisins make an appearance on the back half. Magnificent intensity and power with an exceptionally long and luscious yet fresh finish that carries a sturdy underbelly.
Cellar 10-20 years plus.
Complex aromas of tar, wet earth, dark berry and flowers follow through to a full body, medium sweet and amazing compacted concentration. Vertical and so deep. It goes on for minutes. Truly excellent. Better after 2027.
The 2017 Taylor's Vintage Port comes from their three quintas: Vargellas, de Terra Feita and do Junco, picking commencing at Vargellas on September 1, the earliest since 1945. Now this boasts a bold and more flamboyant bouquet vis-à-vis the Croft with layers of blackcurrant, blueberries, violet and allspice. Wonderful definition here and as it ratchets up through the gears with aeration manages to maintain impressive delineation. The palate is medium, rather full-bodied. The first impression is one of freshness, completely disguising that summer’s dryness and warmth, a disarming finesse built around the frame of tannins that would have been impossible years ago. It is a silky-smooth Taylor’s, one of the most polished 2017 Vintage Ports with energy and tension flooding through the finish. Aristocratic as ever, totally Taylor’s, yet still translating the growing season with aplomb. Total production is 11,500 cases. Drink 2030-2080.
Neal Martin – Vinous
The 2017 Vintage Port, not quite bottled when seen but the final blend, is a field blend aged for approximately 20 months in wood. It comes in with 100 grams of residual sugar. A step up (or two) on the 2016, this shows fine depth, more focus, vivid fruit and serious power. It's not particularly thick, austere or astringent, but this is built for the long haul. It is potentially a great Taylor's, effortlessly combining brilliant fruit and structure. It tastes great now (today, it is far more vivid than its Vinha Velha sibling), but the power makes this hard to drink today. So, have some patience. It will need some time, probably a lot more than indicated, and will likely last longer than indicated as well. As noted in the accompanying article, I don't see much point to impossibly long drinking windows. At some point, reevaluation is required.
At the moment, it seems to be a step up on the Vinha Velha, although that is far more closed. I'd pick this today, but in time, both undoubtedly will have more tales to tell. Great young Ports go through many phases, and both are great young Ports. When ten-year anniversary tastings are done, this will have to be on the shortlist of greats to reconsider to determine how the best in the vintage are meeting expectations. Drink 2030-2077.
Mark Squires – Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate
This offers up a dense rumble of dark currant, fig and blackberry paste flavors, laced with hints of buckwheat, baker's chocolate and warm tar. The muscular finish is thickly layered, with threads of alder and espresso cream adding definition along the way. Should be among the more long-lived wines of the vintage. Best from 2035 through 2060.