Atlantean Scion

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There were a lot of tastings in London last week, with some pretty interesting stuff available.

Among much else, I tasted Louis Roederer Cristal 2004 (very good), Domaine Faiveley Mazis-Chambertin 1986 (à point, though very acidulous), Meerlust Rubicon 1986 (holding on) and a mini-vertical of Château Branaire-Ducru 2009-1998 (2005 was probably the best).

But one wine stood out for its exceptional rarity, quality and – admittedly – its price.

Taylor’s Scion is a Tawny Port that was released onto the market in October 2010. Two pipes (barrels) of a a Tawny that was apparently made in 1855 were discovered by Taylor’s winemaker David Guimaraens. A third barrel is alleged to have been bought by Winston Churchill.

About 1,400 bottles have been produced. They sell in the UK at £2,500 each, making this the most expensive Port ever offered.

Its colour has been distained by age. As one might expect, it was a tawny-brown colour but had a tinge of green at the rim, which is something that I have seen before only with old Madeiras. It was as bright as a smile, though.

I have had 150-year old Sherries and Madeiras and they tend to smell “old”, hinting at decay and fading elegance. But the Scion was remarkably fresh and lively. It smelled “old” of course but there was no hint at all of disintegration or senescence.

What really distinguished this wine for me was its perfect pitch acidity, which rippled across the palate like a naughty teenager rather than a 155-year old. The overall intensity was like – well, like life itself. The finish glowed like the streetlamps by the Thames at Somerset House, where this tasting was held.

Taylor’s MD Adrian Bridge said that this was “the best old Port I’ve ever had”. I tried to get another glass of this precious stuff from him but he wouldn’t have it. I might never try this wonderful wine again…

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