Only nine shippers declared the 1948 Port vintage, which – with the benefit of 74 years’ hindsight – is surprising, given the quality of the wines that were made. There was no really good Vintage Port again until 1955.
A total of 30,000 pipes – the traditional Douro barrel of 534 litres that was taken as the equivalent of 60-dozen bottles – was made. But the port market was depressed in this post-war period and there was still a lot of Port available from the fecund 1927 vintage (Cockburn’s made 20,000 dozen bottles!). The shippers bought only half of the 1948 crop at vintage time, leaving many farmers with unsold wines.
Arden’s bottle of the renowned 1948 Taylor’s Vintage Port came from the cellar of Tibberton House at Great Malvern in my birth county of Worcestershire.
As far as we can tell, this ’48 was originally retailed – and probably bottled – by Josiah Stallard and Sons of Worcester.
Josiah Stallard was born in 1816 and became Mayor of Worcester in 1857. He was photographed that year by Herbert Watkins; the photo is in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery.
The late great Michael Broadbent said that 1948 was “Probably now the best-ever Vintage of Taylor… one of the finest ports ever made.”