Saturday 5 November 2005, chez mon père, Sussex. Present were JDAW, RAW, RJM, RJET, MJM, and some friends of my father. We tasted Taylor 1851, a bottle claiming to be Taylor 1900 but the authenticity of which is doubtful, Taylor 1945, Taylor 1955, Taylor 1963, Taylor 1970, Taylor 1985 single and magnum, Warre 1970, Warre 1985 single and magnum (placemats).
The Taylor 1945, 1900 and 1851 were decanted at the last moment, in that order, having been tonged.
Taylor 1851: the Great Exhibition Vintage. Perfume. And terrible. “Mothballs”, said RAW; “bathsalts” said RJET; “medicinal” MJM. Eucalyptus. Over the hill and down the other side and into the grave.
Taylor 1900: excellent but suspiciously young. As dark as the 1945. Slightly floral. “Plummy”, said RAW, and still good in the glass two hours later.
Taylor 1945: light (“A good breakfast Port” — RJET), with a little residual spice, and a long aftertaste. Old tawny colour.
Taylor 1955: I failed to take a note about the ’55, though RJM thought it fuller than the ’45 (agreed) and the ’63 (strongly disagree — ’63 much fruitier).
Taylor 1963: “Huge”, I wrote and underlined “relative to the others”. As spicy and longer than the ’45. Still great.
Taylor 1970: dark. Too rough. Improved in the glass. Warre 1970 better.
Warre 1970: softer, fruitier, and more likeable than the Taylor 1970.
Taylor 1985: single and magnum very similar. Rich, lighter than the Warre 1985. Magnum cloudier, and slightly sharper. Lots of good fruit; needs more time.
Warre 1985: magnum much more plum fruit than the single. RJM wrote “woody” of the magnum, describing the single as “older”.
Conclusion: T63 the favourite. A great vintage. T00 the most impressive, still good in the glass after 105 years and 2 hours (if genuine).
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