2017 Taylor Fladgate Vintage Porto 375 ml

Year: 2017
Appellation: Oporto
Country: Portugal
Wine Spectator: 97
Wine Advocate: 98-100
Vinous Media: 98
James Suckling: 99
Wine Enthusiast: 97
Wine and Spirits: 96
Fortified Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 20.0%
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"This offers up a dense rumble of dark currant, fig and blackberry paste flavors, laced with hints of buckwheat, baker’s chocolate and warm tar. The muscular finish is thickly layered, with threads of alder and espresso cream adding definition along the way. Should be among the more long-lived wines of the vintage. Best from 2035 through 2060. -J.M." (WS)

"The 2017 Vintage Port, not quite bottled when seen but the final blend, is a field blend aged for approximately 20 months in wood. It comes in with 100 grams of residual sugar. A step up (or two) on the 2016, this shows fine depth, more focus, vivid fruit and serious power. It's not particularly thick, austere or astringent, but this is built for the long haul. It is potentially a great Taylor's, effortlessly combining brilliant fruit and structure. It tastes great now (today, it is far more vivid than its Vinha Velha sibling), but the power makes this hard to drink today. So, have some patience. It will need some time, probably a lot more than indicated, and will likely last longer than indicated as well. As noted in the accompanying article, I don't see much point to impossibly long drinking windows. At some point, reevaluation is required.

At the moment, it seems to be a step up on the Vinha Velha, although that is far more closed. I'd pick this today, but in time, both undoubtedly will have more tales to tell. Great young Ports go through many phases, and both are great young Ports. When ten-year anniversary tastings are done, this will have to be on the shortlist of greats to reconsider to determine how the best in the vintage are meeting expectations.

This issue contains a vertical of the Vargellas Vinha Velha, the "old vines" designation referencing centenarian vines on average. Everything was double decanted and then in the glass at least an hour when tasted. It's a very elegant style, with admirable mid-palate finesse but plenty of power. They are always precise and focused, never jammy.

Taylor's Vargellas Quinta is the "backbone" of Taylor's Port, says the winery. This particular bottling is "from the produce of the oldest vines on the estate...a very limited selection of the production of these old vines and seldom...more than about 2% of the total production of the property. The Vargellas Vinha Velha is selected from five individual plots of old vineyards: Polverínho, Renova do Depósito, Renova do Armazém, Gricha and Vinha Grande. The age of the old vines on these plots varies from around 80 to 120 years."

As for the 2017s, the hot new vintage, Taylor's Ports hit home runs, simply put." (WA)

"The 2017 Taylor's Vintage Port comes from their three quintas: Vargellas, de Terra Feita and do Junco, picking commencing at Vargellas on September 1, the earliest since 1945. Now this boasts a bold and more flamboyant bouquet vis-à-vis the Croft with layers of blackcurrant, blueberries, violet and allspice. Wonderful definition here and as it ratchets up through the gears with aeration manages to maintain impressive delineation. The palate is medium, rather full-bodied. The first impression is one of freshness, completely disguising that summer’s dryness and warmth, a disarming finesse built around the frame of tannins that would have been impossible years ago. It is a silky-smooth Taylor’s, one of the most polished 2017 Vintage Ports with energy and tension flooding through the finish. Aristocratic as ever, totally Taylor’s, yet still translating the growing season with aplomb. Total production is 11,500 cases." (VM)

"Complex aromas of tar, wet earth, dark berry and flowers follow through to a full body, medium sweet and amazing compacted concentration. Vertical and so deep. It goes on for minutes. Truly excellent. Better after 2027." (JS)

"The structure is currently very dominant in this wine. Its dark tannins are concentrated, waiting for the masked black fruits to come through. Everything is there, it just needs an immense amount of time. Drink from 2030. -Roger Voss" (WE)

"This 2017 has all the markers of a legendary Taylor Port-scents of green fig, the complex tannic impact of schist, the consternating sense of elegance in the face of massive structural power." (Wine and Spirits)