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Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage 2007 Port Wine

Review: Taylor’s (Fladgate) Port Late Bottled Vintage 2007    82.5/100
a review by Arctic Wolf
Published May 31, 2013

The Fladgate Partnership owns three important Port houses, Taylor’s Port (Taylor Fladgate), Fonsecu, 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 2007 Port blend are drawn from a reserve of full-bodied red ports which were produced from the 2007 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 2012.

(Note: I was provided a sample bottle of Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage 2007 Port by Pacific Wine & Spirits Inc, who are responsible for its importation here in Alberta.)

SAM_0751 Taylor Fladgate 2007 LBV

In the Bottle 4/5

To the right is a snapshot I took of my sample bottle of Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage 2007 Porto. If you look closely at the photo you will see that the bottle has what looks like a depression on the left side, above the white label. That depression on the left hand side of the bottle is where the Taylor Fladgate 1692 crest is supposed to be placed within. It turns out that all of the labels were placed upon the bottle exactly 1/4 turn out-of-place.

It’s a little thing; but I have witnessed the operation of bottling lines where every bottle is individually inspected for slight irregularities. If a label is placed even a tiny bit incorrectly, it is pulled from the line to be relabeled by hand. This ensures every customer receives a product where even the label reflects the craftsmanship of the liquid inside the bottle.

I was originally tempted to give the producers of this Port wine extra credit for the detailed descriptions of their LBV Port on the back label and the attractive crest on the front; these positive features were counterbalanced by the out of sync label which hints at inattention to detail.

In the Glass 20/25

When I poured my first glass of the Taylor Fladgate 2007, I noticed that it displays deep rich purple hues in the glass which are typical of the category and which typically make Port Wine so attractive visually. The initial scents in the breezes reflect a restrained nose. I sense more tannin within this LBV Port than others I have sampled recently. Smells of raisins, figs and dry black fruit are prevalent. Some dark fudgey scents crawl out of the glass, as well as impressions akin to black Chinese tea.

Spicy raisins and dark dry fruit seem to lay claim to the foundation of the wine. What is missing (or rather buried so deep it seems to be an afterthought) are the scents and smells of ripe berries, fresh dark plums and plump red cherries. Allowing the glass to breathe brings only a small amount of this freshness forward. (Closing my eyes, I can almost imagine that I am nosing a tawny rather than a ruby LBV.)

In the Mouth 42/50

The flavour is well represented by the nose and the wine features an initial dryness of grape skins which pucker the mouth followed by spicy raisins, dark dry fruit and a moderate acidity. There are impressions of cocoa and black tea running through the dry fruit; but we have to wait for quite a spell before the Port wine reveals sweeter flavours of red and black berries.

I did revisit the wine over the next few days hoping that the Port would become more vibrant and fresh. Although I noticed the wine sweetened over time, a full burst of fresh fruit was never realized. The 2007 Fladgate remained steadfast upon a path of earthy dry fruit and avoided the trails of ripe fruit and jam-like sweetness.

In the Throat 12.5/15

My throat feels a pleasant dryness, and I notice that same theme of spicy raisin and dark dry fruit in the exit. There are some hints of fresh ripe blackberry and raspberry; but it is safe to say that it is the tannic flavours of grape skins which provide a lingering dryness that dominates the finish.

Final Impressions 4/5

As you can tell by reading the review, I was not doing cart wheels as I sampled the Taylor Fladgate 2007 LBV. Although the wine is pleasant, it never seemed to open up for me. Dry fruit flavours and tannins seemed to dominate and I yearned for the vibrancy of fresh fruit. Sweetness is revealed if you are patient; but this wine seems to be of a more earthy style than what I personally prefer.

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 which scores almost all wines at 85 points or more.)

My system which is described below and you may (loosely) 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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