Best Of The Best 2006: Taylor Fladgate 2003 Vintage Port

  • Photograph by John Heseltine/Corbis.
    The 2003 harvest at Taylor Fladgate’s Quinta de Vargellas vineyard in Portugal yielded a dark, powerful port. Photograph by John Heseltine/Corbis.
<< Back to Robb Report, June 2006

Early on, the folks at Taylor Fladgate expected that the 2003 harvest would yield a spectacular port. Winemaker David Guimaraens said that the year presented “textbook ripening conditions,” and chairman Alistair Robertson declared it “a perfect year in the vineyard: . . . a wet winter to build up water reserves, excellent flowering conditions, and plenty of heat and sunshine in the summer. All the ingredients for a great vintage port were there.” Nonetheless, the 314-year-old house held to its custom of waiting until April 23, 2005, St. George’s Day, to announce the harvest’s fate.

In the restrained tradition of Portugal’s Douro River valley, Taylor Fladgate declares a vintage only three times per decade, on average. When it does so, wines from its two top-ranking (and disparate) estates—Quinta de Vargellas and Quinta de Terra Feita—are blended together, producing a port of extraordinary complexity and interest. Taylor Fladgate describes Quinta de Vargellas, which yields much of the house’s vintage port, as the jewel in its crown. Taylor Fladgate acquired the property in the mid-1890s, and today more than half of its 225,000 vines are at least three-quarters of a century old. Its grapes provide the backbone of the 2003 release. Quinta de Terra Feita, located on the western slopes of the Upper Douro’s Pinhão River valley, contains 151 acres planted with 224,000 vines that produce more than 34,000 gallons of wine. Its fruit imparted depth and intensity to the 2003. Quinta do Junco, another Pinhão River valley property that Taylor Fladgate purchased in 1998, also contributed grapes to the blend.

The 2003 is deep, dark, and elegant, with lovely structure and a robe of pure berry fruit. Long and powerful, it promises a life span of many decades, making this bottle something to enjoy now or to cellar away.

Taylor Fladgate
($92)
www.taylor.pt

 

From Around the Web...
The Encore at Wynn Las Vegas will be the site of a four-day exploration of rare distillations…
From cookie-filled gift baskets to stunning jewelry, here are 10 gifts for the lady in your life…
Photo by Andrew Fawcett
These select bars offer the chance to sample some of the world’s rarest and oldest liquors…
Photo by Francesco Tonelli
Vintage bottles of Pimm’s and Campari from 1960 and 1970 are a few of the coveted spirits…
For $125, the Durand corkscrew is meant to extract fragile corks from aged bottles…
Photo by Cordero Studios/corderostudios.com
The author of <i>Napa Valley Then & Now</i> recommends her favorite wines that are...
The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, offers Gurkha Cigars’ His Majesty’s Reserve for about $55 a puff…
Made from Champagne’s only sanctioned white varietal, this will one-up other New Year’s Champagnes…
Photo by Ralph Dinkel
Davidoff’s newest humidor is a sculptural dome lined with African okoumé wood…
Charles Camille Heidsieck recognized that the best way to sell wine was to sell a lifestyle…