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Patience is a Virtue, Dazzling Vintage Port
Unctuous, rich and heady, Port is a hedonist’s delight. Vintage Ports, the top echelon of quality, are some of the most long-lived, cellar-worthy expressions of fortified wines, with the staying power to last for decades. These particular vintage ports have been graciously shared by Rhea Condra in honor and memory of her late husband Dennis, a man known for loving life and enjoying a great glass of port.
The 1985 vintage was a brilliant year for Port. While it’s drinking incredibly now, many bottlings have seemingly unending drinkability in their future (both producers in this lot are included in that list). To see what the 1985 vintage could be, one might look at the 1955 vintage (hey, we’ve got that too!). The complexity of the vintage, specifically from Taylor Fladgate, demonstrates why patience is truly a virtue when it comes to great Port.
These bottles from Graham’s and Taylor are the essence of why Port lovers love Port. They dazzle. If you’re a fan of excellent Port, raise your paddle with one hand and with the other, raise a glass to our dear friend Dennis.
W & J Graham’s Vintage Port 1985 (1.5L)
W & J Graham’s Vintage Port 1985 (4 bottles)
Graham is the undisputed star and kingpin of the 1985 vintage ports. Yes, it is made in a sweeter style than the other ports, but it is a fabulous wine because of a dazzling level of black-cherry fruit, an enormous structure, and staggering depth, dimension, and length. (96 RP)
Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port 1985
Beautiful aromas of flowers and fresh plum, with hints of stems. Full-bodied and medium-sweet, with gorgeous silky tannins and a long, long finish. This is just starting to come around and offers wonderful flavors. Long life ahead, but ready to try. (93 JS)
Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port 1955
Having the 1955 and 1963 Taylors side by side, as we did at this tasting, is a perfect way to build up the patience necessary to keep the ’63 in the cellar, as the absolute apogee of the 1955 serves to amply demonstrate just how much more complexity the 1963 will gain with more bottle age. Aromatically, the 1955 Taylor has fully moved from its black fruity signature of youth into the more transparent, exotic and spice-driven profile of a mature Taylor, but yet retains all of the intensity and vigor on the palate of a strapping vintage port in its prime. The nose on the ’55 is flat out brilliant, as it soars from the glass in a spicy and exotic potpourri of blood orange, caramelized banana, brown sugar, tobacco, herb tones, exotic spices and cedar. On the palate the wine is full-bodied and utterly seamless, with haunting focus and balance, laser-like focus, excellent depth, and great length and grip on the fully mature, refined and aristocratic finish. A magnificent Taylor at its zenith. (96 JG)
Donated from the Cellar of Rhea & Dennis Condra