Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - l from Eric Jerardi, Heidelberg Importers and Wholesalers, Cleveland, OH, 20.5 % abv.
2 mm edge, edge-dusky basically opaque prune color, with an almost grainy optical texture; very full sheeting and thick legs. Comes across very shy at first but with a little work begins to yield itself up. First notes are clearly thyme, just-ripe plum, gentle graphite, and mint, earthy baked biscotti scents. Rich bacon fat, leather, and violet scents appear over a most unusual and lovely earth-laden minerality and the scent of an old unused brick fireplace, if that makes sense. There's something about this wine that reminds me of an old wooden schoolhouse building, too. Predominance of sesquiterpenes qujite prominent.
This is one of those wines whose fruit is so intense that it coats the tannin and hides it. Very, very grapy in the best sense, and having a gentle sweet-plum note, with an impression of sea salt; a huge but highly discliplined wine. It has that cotton-candy Taylor sweetness, even though it's not very sweet, that's so reliable in most fine Taylor Vintage Ports. Most of the fruit force is borne between ripe plum and sweet plum juice. Much of the subtlety on the nose is translated into the palate impression, and its remarkable sensory integration really cries out 'very old vines'. Like to know if a Velha Vinha was made this year, truly (it was--author's note). This facet can be found in recent great Taylors (like the 2000, to pick a for instance), but it seems to have reached an apotheosis here. Let me point out that this wine shows fine storage efforts, still noticeable for ithaving da Only after quite a few swallows does the guts, energy, and punchy tannin begin to show itself, and a sweet and lovely sailing anise note sings out as a top-note.
By October 4, it's more structured and the ripe tannins are pleasantly visible. The fruit in the nose and on the palate is gently olive-like, showing a Peleponnesian Kalamata-like complex, aided and abetted by tobacco smoke, vivid stoniness, and thyme honey. It's quite a bit drier than it was last month.
This wine will undoubtedly outlive those who began their careers or saw the birth of a new baby in 2009. It is a compete Taylor and meets with a well-deserved 99 points, my highest score. I agree that it's on a different pole from the 2000, but both are very long-lived, potentially. 99/100. May be drunk very young but it's a shame not to give it another 12 years at minimum. Drink now-2020 and onward.