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Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage Port (2009)

Review: Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage Port (2009)    86/100
a review by Arctic Wolf
Published June 24, 2018

The Fladgate Partnership owns three important Port houses, Taylor’s Port (Taylor Fladgate), Fonseca, and Croft’s. Of the three, Taylor’s is the oldest and most influential, founded in 1692 in Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal by Job Bearsley. Although ownership of the company has moved through a variety of families, Taylor’s is (and has been since inception) independently owned and managed.

Late Bottled Vintage Port wine is as the name implies bottled later than Vintage Port wine remaining in neutral wood between four and six years, rather than the 2 years which would be typical for a vintage Port. Since Port wine matures more quickly in oak vats than it would in the bottle, it is ready to be served when it is bottled. As the wine is filtered before bottling it will not age any further in the bottle, and hence, it does not need to be decanted, or to have the sediment removed prior to serving.

The wines used in the Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage 2009 Port blend are drawn from a reserve of full-bodied red ports which were produced from the 2009 harvest, from grapes grown on Taylor’s own vineyards and on other top properties in the Cima Corgo and Douro Superior areas. This wine remained in wood about five years and was bottled in 2014.

In the Bottle 4/5

To the left is a snapshot I took of my sample bottle of Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage 20010 Porto.

I have (since I began to review Port Wine) always been disappointed with manner in which the major Port House present their LBV Port Wine. There is no pizzazz and frankly the white label on the front of the bottle could not even be called attractive. It is boring! This speaks to an arrogance on the part of the major Port houses as they do not even seem to try to woo new customers.

I was originally tempted to give the producers of the Taylor Fladgate Port wine extra credit for the detailed descriptions of their LBV Port on the back label and the attractive crest on the front; however, these positive features are counterbalanced by the lack of effort on the front label. I have always believed an attractive label and bottle help to promote the quality of the spirit or wine within, Taylor Fladgate obviously disagrees.

In the Glass 21.5/25

When I poured my first glass of the Taylor Fladgate 2009, I noticed that it displays deep rich purple hues in the glass which are typical of the category. The initial scents in the breezes reflect a bit of restraint on the nose. Given a little time though scents of raisins, dark cherries, black raspberries and dry currants rise into the air. Bits of tobacco, cocoa and black tea round out the aroma.

This 2009 LBV seems to me to bring more fresh fruit and berries into the air than its 2007 predecessor which I reviewed a few years ago. There are hints of spiciness as well as indications that dry fruit may play a more dominant role upon the palate. Having said that, I do find myself wishing the breezes were bringing me more indications of complexity. I’ll see how this plays out when I take my first sip.

In the Mouth 44/50

The 2010 does indeed appears to carry firmer flavours of fresh fruit across the palate than the 2007 LBV. I taste ripe plums, black raspberries, and spicy raisins as well as a mild impression of cinnamon. I also taste lightly bitter grape skins (tannins) which pucker my mouth slightly lending an impression of light acidity. I like the 2010 LBV Port quite a lot; although I will admit I was hoping for an even larger burst of fresh fruit and a touch more complexity.

I decided to allow my glass to breathe longer testing the flavour every few minutes or so. There was a light build up of fruitiness with BC cherries and red raspberry-like flavours evolving, but the overall flavour still seemed to me to lack the punch I was hoping for. I don’t mean to say the Port is not delicious, it is, but I really enjoy the vibrant flavours of fresh fruit and berries which LBV Port can offer. The Taylor Fladgate style seems to be a more muted style.

In the Throat 12.5/15

In the finish the fresh fruit seems diminished at the expense of spicy raisin and dry fruit, and grape skins. There are hints of fresh raspberry; but it is safe to say that it is dry tannins which dominate the exit.

Final Impressions 4/5

As you can tell by reading the review, I do not seem to favour the Taylor Fladgate style as much as I enjoy the house style of Fonseca or Dow’s.  For those reading the review, you should perhaps pay more attention to my taste descriptors than to my scores. If you like your Port Wine a little on the drier side and with a firm tannic structure, then the Taylor Fladgate will appeal to you; if you like the tart freshness of fresh fruit and berries then you, like myself may find this expression a little disappointing.

My Final score is 86/100 which reflects a Port Wine I would certainly enjoy serving to my friends and family, but not one I would reserve or horde away for a special occasion.

If you are interested in some comparative reviews, here is a link to all of my Port Wine Reviews!

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Note: My Wine Scores are computed in the same manner as my scores for distilled spirits. This means that my total score out of 100 is generally lower than what you would see in popular wine rating magazines. Those magazines appear to have a system in which scores almost always score 85 points or more.

My system is described below and you may interpret my scores as follows:

0-25     A wine with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74    A mediocre wine which will excite no one.
75-79    You may begin to serve this to friends, still rather unexciting.
80-84    Enjoyment begins here.
85-89    Very good to excellent!
90-94    You may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+       I haven’t met this one yet…but I want to.

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Note: I wish to make it clear that I am not a sommelier. I have taken no classes in wine tasting, nor have I ever studied the subject to any degree. This review reflects an untrained opinion, and my scores are based solely upon my enjoyment of the wine, and not upon some quantitative measurement of quality. However, I believe that there is an intrinsic link between quality and enjoyment.

 

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