"you are paying to drink history, knowing that it will never be released again" (NM)
The 1896 Single Harvest Tawny Port is a piece of bottled history. Bottled two years ago after a full 125 years of glacial ageing in cask, it is a masterpiece. We thought we would never see it again after selling our allocation last year and so are thrilled to have six more bottles to offer directly from the UK importer at £2,900 per bottle in bond.
Everything about this Port is incredible. 1896 was one of the great vintages of the 19th century, and this cask was kept back in Taylor’s reserves, no doubt in the knowledge that the liquid contained inside would be remarkable. Only recently has it been selected to be bottled; the result is a spectacular drinking experience.
Neal Martin has been lucky enough to have sampled it, and he awarded it a massive 98 points praising the “cornucopia of aromas” on the nose and musing that, while not cheap, “you are paying to drink history, knowing that it will never be released again”. Our own Matthew Hemming MW has also tasted it and found it “silky and seamless” with “fathomless complexity.”
For those yet to acquire a bottle this new allocation is a tremendous opportunity to sample something made in the year that Queen Victoria became Britain’s longest-serving monarch. A Port that has taken a century and a quarter to get to where it is now, in a perfect place to be enjoyed by a handful of connoisseurs around the world.
Taylor’s, 1896 Single Harvest Tawny Port
£2,900 per bottle in bond – 6 bottles available
98 points Neal Martin
So, what does it taste like? It has a greenish, tawny rim, quite deep at its mahogany core than you would expect for a Port of this age. The nose is quite arresting, does not hang about, delivering a cornucopia of aromas: grilled walnuts, espresso, smoke, antique bureau and dried fig, all extremely well defined. Monitoring this over three or four hours, it gains intensity, hints of liquorice and menthol joining the chorus line, just the right amount of volatility. The palate is medium-bodied, slightly viscous on the entry, very spicy with sweet honey and brown sugar notes, completely offset by the combination of natural and volatile acids. Despite its age, this is a fiery Port with extraordinary lingering notes of Japanese shiso leaf, fig jam, damson and stem ginger, clean and poised with that volatility kicking towards the finish. This has wonderful sweetness, with 218g/L residual sugar that counters any oxidation. At around £4,000 per bottle, it is not inexpensive. But you are paying to drink history, knowing that it will never be released again. Of course, this 1896 is ready to be drunk now, but such is its concentration and vigour, that it could be cellared if you insist on your fortified wine being at least 125 years old
. (2021) www.vinous.com
98 Points Matthew Hemming MW
Amber mahogany colour. An uncompromising wine of intensity, without concentration, and fathomless complexity. The texture is silky and seamless, with phenomenally high definition and laser-like acidity. It seems pointless trying to describe a flavour spectrum that ranges from scorched toffee, to mushrooms, to grilled nuts, to bitter chocolate, to liquorice. This is sweet, savoury, umami and many points in between. It takes no prisoners and makes no apologies. Wow.
Offered subject to final confirmation and remaining unsold. Available in 2-4 weeks.
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