How to choose the best pairing with Taylor Port Wine

What kind of wine is Taylor Port Wine?

Taylor’s Port Wine is one of the most respected producers of Port wine from Portugal. Port wines are typically rich, sweet, and often served as dessert wines, although they can also come in dry and semi-dry varieties.

Taylor’s has gained particular recognition for their Tawny Ports and Vintage Ports. The aging process of Tawny Ports occurs in wooden barrels, leading to their gradual oxidation and evaporation. This aging mellows the wine to a golden-brown color over time. The wine has distinct “nutty” flavors due to the oxygen exposure and is often blended to align with the house style.

On the other hand, the best harvests and years produce Taylor’s Vintage Ports. Makers bottle these two years post-vintage, and they continue to age in the bottle for many more years. The powerful fruitiness characterizes these wines, and with time, the aging process develops incredible complexity in them.

History and Heritage

Established in 1692, Taylor’s ranks among the oldest Port wine houses. In contrast to many historical Port houses now owned by larger corporations, the same family has continuously controlled this business for its entire 330 years. This commitment to independence has enabled the company to stay focused on the core principles of Port wine making. Today, the Yeatman family operates it, and they place great importance on the bridge between tradition and modernization, a factor that has enabled the consistent production of high-quality Port wines.

Vineyards

Taylor’s is unique among Port houses in owning significant proportions of vineyards relative to its production. It has around 511 hectares of land in the Douro Valley. The properties include Quinta de Vargellas, Quinta de Terra Feita, and Quinta do Junco. Quinta de Vargellas is widely regarded as one of the top vineyards in the Douro, and has been the backbone of Taylor’s Vintage Port blend for over a century. Each vineyard has its own microclimate, and the variation between these locations allows Taylor’s to produce wines with a breadth of character.

Ageing and Bottling Process

For their Vintage Ports, after harvest, the grapes undergo a rigorous selection process before fermentation. The fermentation process is halted by the addition of grape spirit, which preserves a portion of the grape’s natural sugar, thereby giving Port its characteristic sweetness. The wine is then stored in oak casks for up to 2 years before bottling. Once in the bottle, the wine continues to mature and evolve. Taylor’s Tawny Ports, however, spend much more time in oak casks, up to several decades for aged Tawnies, which gives them their distinctive oxidative character and “tawny” color.

Tasting Notes

Taylor’s Vintage Ports are renowned for their powerful, concentrated black fruit and berry flavors, often with impressions of plum, cassis, and blackberry. They also often have notes of rockrose, a scent that’s characteristic of the Douro region, as well as hints of licorice, black pepper, and herbal notes. With age, they develop more complex characteristics, including flavors of cocoa, mocha, and fig. Taylor’s Tawny Ports are famous for their complexity, showing an array of flavors depending on their age. Expect flavors ranging from red fruits and toffee for younger Tawnies, to dried fruits, fig, honey, and almonds for older, more mature Tawnies.

How to choose the best pairing with Taylor Port Wine

When it comes to food pairing, Port wines are incredibly versatile.

The sweetness and robustness of a Taylor’s Port make it an excellent match for strong, intense flavors. For example, a Vintage Port pairs excellently with strong blue cheeses, where the strong, tangy flavor of the cheese is balanced by the sweetness of the wine. Stilton is a classic choice.

A Tawny Port from Taylor’s, with its nutty, caramel, and dried fruit flavors, pairs wonderfully with desserts that feature nuts, caramel, or dried fruit, such as a tarte tatin or a pecan pie. The nuttiness can also complement the savoriness of dishes like foie gras.

Remember, the balance in food and wine pairing lies in the match of weight and intensity. The rich, sweet, and full-bodied nature of Port wines like those from Taylor’s needs food that has enough flavor to stand up to it.

I have compiled a list of the best pairings for Taylor Port Wine that you should try. If you choose from this list you won’t go wrong:

Vintage Port:

  • Dark Chocolate: The bitter, intense flavors of dark chocolate match well with the robust, sweet flavors of Vintage Port.
  • Roasted Almonds: The nutty flavors complement the rich complexity of the port.
  • Roast Beef: The full-bodied richness and inherent sweetness of Vintage Port can stand up to the strong flavors of roast beef, creating a savory and sweet balance.

Tawny Port:

  • Crème Brûlée: Tawny Port’s caramel and nutty undertones perfectly complement the creamy, burnt sugar flavors of this dessert.
  • Apple Pie: The baked apple flavors of an apple pie work nicely with the dried fruit and nutty flavors found in Tawny Port.
  • Duck Confit: The rich, savory flavor of the duck pairs well with the sweeter, nuttier flavors in the Tawny Port.

Ruby Port:

  • Blue Cheese: The intensity of blue cheese stands up well to the full-bodied sweetness of Ruby Port.
  • Chocolate Desserts: As with Vintage Port, the sweetness of Ruby Port pairs well with the bitterness of chocolate.
  • Berry Tarts: The rich, fruity flavors of a berry tart complement the intense red fruit flavors of Ruby Port.

Late Bottled Vintage Port (LBV):

  • Hard Cheeses: LBV Port, with its rich, rounded flavors, pairs well with hard, aged cheeses like Cheddar or Gouda.
  • Red Fruit Desserts: A red fruit crumble or tart would pair well with the fruity flavors of LBV Port.
  • Spiced Cakes: The complex flavors of an LBV Port can stand up to the rich, spicy flavors of cakes like gingerbread.

These are the best pairings I would recommend with Taylor Port wine. This is not an exhaustive list, and you may find your own pairings that you can add to it. Experiment and find what you like.

Port wine storage

Serving and Storage Suggestions

You should decant Taylor’s Vintage Port before serving because of the sediment that accumulates during the aging process. Aim to serve it at an ideal temperature between 16 to 18 degrees Celsius (60-65 degrees Fahrenheit). Conversely, since Taylor’s Tawny Ports age in casks, they don’t need decanting and you should serve them slightly chilled, between 12 to 16 degrees Celsius (54-61 degrees Fahrenheit).

When it comes to storage, you should store unopened Vintage Port on its side in a cool, dark place with a steady temperature, as it can continue to age and improve over many years or even decades. Ideally, you should consume it within 1-2 days of opening. Tawny Ports, more forgiving in nature, can remain enjoyable for several weeks after opening if you keep them refrigerated.

How much alcohol is in Taylor Port Wine?

Port wine, including those produced by Taylor’s, is a fortified wine. This means it has a higher alcohol content than most standard wines due to the addition of a neutral grape spirit during the fermentation process, which stops the fermentation and boosts the alcohol content while leaving residual sugar in the wine.

As a general guideline, most Port wines, including Taylor’s, typically have an alcohol content ranging from 19% to 20% by volume. This can vary slightly depending on the specific style of Port, the production method, and regulations.

Always remember to check the label of the specific bottle for the most accurate information, and please enjoy responsibly.

How Much is Taylor Port Wine?

The price of Taylor’s Port wine can vary considerably depending on the type of port, its age, rarity, and where you’re purchasing it from. However, here is a rough guide:

  1. Ruby Port: This is often the most affordable type of port. A bottle of Taylor’s Ruby Port might typically cost anywhere from $10 to $20.
  2. Late Bottled Vintage (LBV): LBV ports are a step up from Ruby Port, and a bottle of Taylor’s LBV might typically cost around $20 to $30.
  3. Tawny Port: The price can vary a lot depending on the age. A 10-year-old Tawny might cost between $30 to $40, a 20-year-old around $50 to $70, a 30-year-old can be around $100 to $150, and a 40-year-old might be $150 to $200.
  4. Vintage Port: The price of Vintage Port can vary dramatically based on the quality of the vintage and the age of the wine. Younger vintages (10-20 years old) might cost somewhere in the range of $80 to $150, while older or particularly sought-after vintages can cost several hundred dollars or more.

Please note that these prices are estimates and can vary based on many factors. Always check with a trusted local or online wine retailer for the most accurate and current pricing.

Where to buy Taylor Port Wine?

You can buy Taylor’s Port wine from a variety of locations depending on your geographical location and preference for shopping in person or online. Here are a few options:

  1. Local Wine Shops: Many wine shops carry a selection of Port wines, and it’s likely that they would carry Taylor’s, given its prominence. It’s always a good idea to support local businesses if possible.
  2. Supermarkets: Larger chain supermarkets with a good wine selection may also carry Taylor’s Port wines. In the U.S., for example, you might find them in places like Whole Foods, Safeway, or Wegmans.
  3. Specialty Liquor Stores: Stores like Total Wine, BevMo in the U.S., or the LCBO in Canada often carry a wide variety of wines and are likely to stock Taylor’s Port.
  4. Online Retailers: There are numerous online wine retailers where you can order Taylor’s Port. Websites like Wine.com, Drizly, or Vivino offer a wide selection and deliver to many locations.
  5. Directly From the Winery: Depending on your location and the winery’s shipping policies, you may be able to order directly from Taylor’s in Portugal. Some wineries offer international shipping.

Remember, the availability may depend on your location and the specific type of Taylor’s Port wine you’re looking for. Always ensure that you’re buying from a reputable retailer to guarantee authenticity and proper storage conditions. And, if shopping online, be sure to check the shipping policies, as not all retailers can ship alcohol to all locations due to varying alcohol sales laws.

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