Dark brown with some gold hue and a bright orange rim to the color. It shows intense aromas of brown sugar, toffee and lime peel. Some meat and walnuts too. Full-bodied, very sweet and thick. It's like syrup yet fresh, bright and tangy. Amazing power and richness shows the ripeness and heat of the vintage. Stunning old port aged more than a century and a half in old oak barrels. Bottled this year. An extraordinary experience tasting this. 1863 was one of the greatest vintages ever and before phylloxera destroyed the European tasting.
Taylor’s 1863 Port Colheita is one of the wines Taylor’s purchased in cask when it acquired Wiese & Krohn in 2013. A fitting conclusion to this unforgettable dinner, the 1863 is simply huge on the palate, with magnificent extract, concentration and depth, yet it somehow remains miraculously light on its feet. The flavors are dark, burnished and spiced throughout. Even with all the great Haut-Brions on the table, the 1863 Port Colheita is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the evening. It is every bit that profound. Readers who can find it should not hesitate, as it is utterly thrilling. What a treat it is to taste and drink the 1863, a wine that dates back to what is widely considered Port's last great pre-phylloxera vintage. (AG)
The 1863 has not been topped up to our knowledge and the records from W&K also do not record any. It was kept in two casks in a locked cage at their warehouse in Serpa Pinto here in Gaia. This wine was the great pride and joy of the Falcao Carneiro family and they only decided to release it having seen the success of Scion. Jose Falcao Carneiro is a very serious person and I believe that the special point about this wine was that it came from 1863 whereas the Weise & Krohn was founded in 1865. So the wine may well have been among the first that was purchased by the company’s founders. Certainly the lodge where it was kept has been rented by W&K since 1880. The wine is very dense with the very developed rim of olive color, which is always the indication of a very old tawny. It is also viscous with residual sugar at 224-grams per liter. The Baume is 10.3 and the pH is 3.53. Lead levels are high at 330 parts per billion but this would be expected from old Ports due to movement through brass fitting in the old days.” So we must doff our caps and bow before a fortified wine that never fully relinquished its flush of youth. If the Scion was Katherine Hepburn, this is Jane Russell. The 1863 Tawny is a Port from another time and another world, but whose pleasure is with us today. (NM)
Over the past two decades, Taylor has added to its fame as a producer of long-lived Vintage Port by assembling formidable stocks of old tawnies. In the process, David Guimaraens has come across some ancient wines in farmers’ cellars, like the one presented as Scion several years ago. Taylor has followed that rarity with a bottling from the 1863 harvest—a year legendary for Vintage Port. It produced a barrel-aged wine that might catch you off guard with the freshness of its fruit. It’s not freshness in a just-picked sense; rather, it’s like the scent of an apple barn long abandoned, or the fruitiness of porcini, of apple butter and tree sap. It’s a freshness that feels completely appropriate to a 150-year-old wine, completely integrated into the notes of treacle and spice, time captured in a beautiful, seamless whole.
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