This bottle was one of a lot of several like offerings auctioned earlier this year by Sotheby’s; like the rest, it was identified only as a 1948 Justerini & Brooks, with the producer unknown. However, an obscure clue found in Mr. Wiseman’s life’s work suggested that the wine might well prove to be the magnificent 1948 Taylor’s. And so the lot was purchased and so the wine proved to be - the cork was appropriately embossed and the wine unmistakable on the palate as a Taylor’s; and all this, at a most-agreeable tariff.
Consumed outdoors near Peso da Regua in forty-degree heat after a four-hour decant (indoors) on 10 August 2020, the appearance of the wine was redolent of mature burgundy. The nose was most agreeable, with figs, dates, marzipan and pear together reaching the olfactory nerve. On the mouth, the port was absolutely spectacular - undoubtedly the best vintage port that I have ever tasted - with the aforementioned figs being complemented by velvety layers of prune and cherry on the fore-palate, giving way to spice mixed with a sprinkling of brown sugar midway through. The fruit reappeared at the back along with dark chocolate, these sensations being followed by the gentlest and longest of finishes. This was Taylor’s at its best; and, whilst no tannins were discernible, I was left with a sense that this wine remains well away from any downward slope. Whilst fifteen years younger than me, my guess is that the 1948 Taylor’s shall celebrate its ninetieth in far better shape than my person in 2038.
At the risk of stating the obvious, this is not a port to be consumed outdoors at the height of summer in the Douro valley - after sending a number of rounds downrange and consuming two H. Upmann coronas major. It pains me to think what I might have made of this wine had I approached it with a touch more respect. Or rather, sobriety. Indeed, my memory of this port is tinged with considerable mortification at the thought that I took something less from the experience than ought to have been the case. Alas, the other 1948 Taylor’s continue to repose comfortably in my cellar, awaiting more deserving palates.
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