The aged tawny port has been on shelves since forever, and is very well known to most consumers. Variety is the spice of life; I have long been a fan of tawny port, but vintage tawnies really float my boat too. The port house of Taylor Fladgate has long been one of the best producers of the wine style, and one of my favourites as well.
The name Taylor Fladgate has been synonymous with port for a few centuries, but for people alive and drinking wine today, they’ve been a leader in producing some of the best vintage ports. They also have a number of single quinta ports, and introduced the late harvest vintage port in 1970 (not long ago for a company created in 1692).
More recently, Taylor Fladgate acquired the port stocks of the Krohn, a long established port house sitting on a pretty stockpile of old wines in barrels and bottles. In part, these are wines that are making their way into the new colheita ports from Taylor Fladgate. Colheitas are barrel aged tawny ports that feature a single vintage. The wines have to spend at least seven years in barrel, but for ease, could be thought of as single vintage tawny ports. Generally, the vintage conditions that make for a fine vintage tawny are different than for vintage port, so colheita ports often appear with different vintages from declared ones.
These new ports fill a small hole that was missing for tawny port fans. Only a handful of colheita ports are on the market, and not many are available that are over 40 years old.
The Aged Tawnies
- 10 Year Tawny: An excellent dip into the tawny port style. Ripe berry fruits turn to fig, dried cherry, toffee and a bit of brown sugar. Retailing for about $35 on most shelves. CSPC +121749
- 20 Year Tawny: This used to be my favourite of the range, but I think I’ve moved on to the finely balanced barrel and fruits of the 30. I still love the fig and caramel, and wonderfully spicy tones (maybe even a touch of cocoa powder, too). I wouldn’t turn this down if you offered a glass. About $60 on the shelf. CSPC +149047
- 30 Year Tawny: Hello my lovely, my new bosom buddy in the aged tawny lineup. The wood flavours are just starting to overtake the fruits with molasses, brown sugar, something akin to real maple syrup, and beautiful dried fruits. Balance? Perfect. A bargain at $135 or so. CSPC +700118
- 40 Year Tawny: The “old man” of the bunch, but a feisty one still. Full of cherry wood, sawdust, leather, spice box, and yes, some tight dried fruit tones. It’s feeling a little gooey with sweetness towards the finish, but fans of the style won’t be disappointed. Pushing $180 on the shelf. CSPC +700117
Note: These wines are available in the very reasonable “Century of Port” package with all four bottles in a 375 ml format for about $250)
- 1964 Single Harvest Port: The inaugural release of the very old tawnies, I’m digging a lot of those walnut, dried fig-type aromas. Feels slightly hot or alcoholic on the palate, but there is a lot of tension in the flavour profile with zippy acids tying it all together. Look to pay about…$250 for this. CSPC +408989
- 1965 Single Harvest Port: Oh hello! Yes, it is me you are looking for. Aromatic on the nose with touches of resin, maybe smoke, and a slightly brambly, briar patch woodiness to go with some soft fruit tones that squeak out from behind. Feels noticeably sweet on the palate (even after five ports before), but really quite delicious. About $250. CSPC +768338
- 1966 Single Harvest Port: The newest, not quite released vintage in the series, is a star for sure. Can’t say enough good things about the mild floral scents bringing added depth to the normal range of old tawny profiles covered here. A little heat, some rocking acids, and maybe vanilla bean or raisin pie round out this glass. Fine, fine stuff. About $250. CSPC +795310