Along with Croft and Fonseca, Taylors is the third Port Wine brand belonging to the juggernaut of the Port world – The Fladgate Partnership. Upon my recent visit to The Yeatman Hotel and its Gastronomic Restaurant, I was also given the opportunity to have a private tour to the Taylors Port Wine cellars, located just across the street from The Yeatman Hotel. From the hotel, one can only be amazed at the extent of prime real estate occupied by the Port Wine Cellars belonging to the Fladgate Partnership. Even though they are warehouses, all of them have the same iconic view over Porto. The same view that some guests of The Yeatman pay almost 2000 euros per night to have.

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Taylors Port Wine Cellars

Because they are up on the hill and amidst the medieval configuration of the left bank of the Douro, the tour buses are unable to drive to its door. The cellars are pretty much the same as when they are built in the 1700´s, meaning the Taylors Port Wine Cellars are unable to accommodate large groups. But it is not just because of the facilities, Taylors as a brand and the Fladgate Partnership idea is to make each guest experience unique in its own way. When they opened its cellars to the public, the never wanted to receive buses load of people and have hundreds of already poured port wine to be given to the tourists like cattle.Compared to the others they only receive 60.000 visitors per year, this means little over 150 per month. Others can receive close 1000 visitors per day in high season.

This company is different and I can vouch for their demand for privacy after having the pleasure of visiting 3 of their locations, Quinta do Panascal in the Douro, the Yeatman Hotel, and now the Taylors Port Wine Cellars in Gaia. In all of them the want to make your experience private, special, meaning full is a Taylor’s trademark. I honestly believe that it takes a lot of courage and determination to stick to making just port wine, where all the other Port Wine brands in the Douro have succumbed to the lure of the Douro DOC table wines. The proof is here. It’s not just the wine they produce it the companies way of functioning and I can see it from what I see from Friends that work for Fladgate like Diana Carvalho, Ana Margarida Morgado, and Filipe Carvalho and just open heartedly they speak about and share their work with the company.

Here is a great example of how Taylor’s looks at Wine Tourism in a different way. Every second month, on a Sunday morning, Clara Haddad from the Um Porto de Contos Project, comes to tells stories to children on the gardens of the Taylors Port Wine Cellars. It is a way to attract the people from Porto to come to the cellars. The very same persons  who never go because it is normally seen a tourist thing.

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This is why all the Taylors Port Wine Cellars tours are private and in a most of 10 persons with no set time of departure. They want the couples, the families to take their time and enjoy the experience. All tours are bespoke, so you get something tailored just for you.During the tour, the visitor will be given the opportunity to learn about the fascinating history of Port wine, as well as that of the House of Taylor’s – now in its fourth century – making it one of the oldest Port companies. There is no fixed schedule. Tours will leave every 30-40 minutes (about). No reservation is required.

I asked for a private tour with Ana Margarida Morgado, as I already knew her from my visit to Quinta do Panascal. She is an outstanding professional, with an avid knowledge about everything related to Taylors Port Wine. I won’t write about everything she mentioned to me, but I can assure it goes far beyond facts, volumes, and dates. What stuck the most with me was that all grapes are tread by foot. This is done purely for quality purposes of the final product. Machine treat wines and especially port wines, get a bitter taste as the robot crushes the grape seeds releasing their bitter oils. As she mentioned, “you get much more complex and much more long lasting wines when it’s one the old way”.

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Taylors Port Wine tasting

As a part of my private tour experience, instead of having my post cellar visit Port Wine Tasting in the visitors center, we went into the Taylors Port Wine Cellars annexed house. It was here that the Cellars manager lived in the 18th century and where the Taylors clients were received for business meetings. Let me tell you that entering this atmosphere and having a private port wine tasting is a distinct privilege. It is not just the aquamarine blue walls or the vintage furniture or even the plastered details in the ceiling that make it unique. It is that it is in pretty much the same condition as when it was built in the 18th century and that is it is in current use for private tastings and the occasional company meeting.

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Ana Margarida Morgado prepared 5 Port Wines for me. A sort of mid-morning Port Wine tasting menu, which included Chip Dry White Port, 2010 Taylors LBV, 20 years Tawny, a commemorative 50 year Tawny from 1965, and the 2012 Vargelas Vintage Single Quinta.

A journey through the best that the Taylors Port Wines have to offer to its customers. We started with the Chip Dry White Port. It is meant to be sampled with salted almonds from Torre de Moncorvo, a village  located far in the Douro Superior sub-region and known for its high-quality almonds. After we tasted the 2010 Taylors LBV a close cousin to the 2009 Taylors LBV which was has been recently ranked #16 in the Wine Spectator 2015 Best Wine List, also earning it the highest place of a Portuguese wine in this list. To go with this wine, Taylors suggests a dark chocolate truffle with Portuguese fleur de sel. Bellow you can find more details about this wine.

Nelson_Carvalheiro_Portuguese_Taylors_Port_Wine-3For the 20-year-old Tawny, another truffle is suggested,  this time made from milk chocolate with orange zest. She chooses this particular wine for the tasting as it is he most balanced Port Wine within the of the Taylors Port Wine Range. The 1965 Very Old Single Harvest Port is a limited edition which is released every year, for everyone who wishes to celebrate the 50th anniversary of something in their lives. Finally the 2012 Taylor Fladgate Quinta de Vargellas Vintage Port, a superb Vintage Port.

Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Port 2009

Wine Spectator Top 100 Wines of 2015 – placed at number 16 with 93 points. Characterized as “Dense and rich, with amply spiced flavors of ripe dark plum and cherry compote. Mineral notes emerge mid-palate, leading to a lush, chocolate-filled finish. A fresh and engaging style.”

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Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Port  was developed as a high quality but more affordable and ready to drink alternative to Vintage port. It was originally created in 1970 by Taylor’s current Chairman, Alistair Robertson.  Mr. Robertson wanted to create a wine that had all the good things about a Vintage and a Ruby – the year denomination and the full body, and the readiness to drink when bottled.  Its success is noticeable as all the other port wine producers make LBV wines. Never the less, Taylor’s LBV – the original Late Bottled Vintage – remains the benchmark in the category.

Disclaimer:

My tour of the Taylors Port Wine Cellar was a part of my stay as a guest of The Yeatman Hotel. All opinions are my own.

Opening hours: Monday to Friday: 10 am to 6 pm, Saturday-Sunday: 10 am to 5 pm.

Saturday, November 7th, 2015: 10h to 15h

Taylor’s Port
Rua do Choupelo nº 250

4400-088 Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal

Tel. +351 223 772 956 / +351 223 742 800