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Taylor's, Vintage Port 1994

A legend because…

Other than the rare Nacional bottling from Quinta do Noval, Taylor’s vintage is the most sought-after and expensive of all vintage Ports. Noted for their elegance, restrained power and longevity, Taylor’s Vintage Ports are regularly awarded high scores by wine critics.

Looking back

Taylor’s can trace its history back to the end of the 17th century, although it subsequently had numerous owners, of whom the best known were the Bearsley family. By the 1830s John Fladgate and Morgan Yeatman were among the major shareholders, and the business remained in their hands until 1921, when Frank Yeatman became the sole proprietor. It was not until the end of World War II that the company began its expansion by buying Fonseca. In the 1920s Taylor’s was a far more modest concern, though always with an emphasis on quality.

The vintage

According to the winery, the winter of 1993-1994 was extremely wet throughout the region. As a result, most vineyards experienced a very low yield, with production down as much as 75% in relation to the average in some areas of the Douro. In spite of the poor start, the growing season was satisfactory, with dry warm weather broken only by a few short periods of rain.


The terroir

Quinta de Vargellas has long been the company’s flagship estate, and its wines, then as now, form the core of the vintage blend. It was bought in 1893 although the estate’s reputation as a source of the finest Ports dates back to the 1820s. Wines from Vargellas are known for their floral aromas, often described as violets, and for concentration allied to great elegance. Vargellas's top wines would almost certainly have been blended with wines purchased from other quintas, such as Terra Feita. This vineyard had been supplying Taylor’s since the 1890s, and would subsequently be bought by the firm in 1974.

The reaction

DWWA Regional Chair for Port, Richard Mayson, tasted the wine in 2014, and found it ‘still sullen on the nose, the underlying ripeness has more to give. The palate is fine, with linear fruit – not as rich or voluptuous as some, with good definition leading to a firm finish. Not big, but powerful with lovely purity on the finish. Needs time to show at its best’.

Robert Parker gave the 1994 vinetage a high score of 97 points in 1996. Six months later, James Suckling, then of the Wine Spectator, gave the wine 100 points and said ‘I had never given a Taylor 100 points until I tasted the 1994’.

This wine also received 99 points from Wine Enthusiast in 2007.