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Taylor Fladgate 2003 LBV port

A late bottled vintage port by Taylor Fladgate.

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Taylor Fladgate 2003 LBv port

  • Mar 10, 2010
There have historically been four big names in port houses, and while I've debated the exact list with several other port drinkers (I can't find a solid list any more, though I know I have in the past) there are three which are generally accepted to belong: Fonseca, Taylor Fladgate (formerly & Yeatman) and Ramos-Pinto. Anyone who's talked port with me knows of my fondness for Fonseca, and while I've yet to try Ramos-Pinto I have a bottle of 2003 unfiltered sitting and waiting to be drunk. This leaves us with Fladgate, which was my very first LBV port and which I've probably consumed more of than any other (for those interested, the debate is generally between Graham's and Dow's. I'm fairly certain Dow's is the other biggy, but that may not be reflective of the historical character of the list, so I can't say one way or the other)
While Fladgate is certainly the most commonly seen port where I live, this is by no means indicative of a lack in quality. I highly recommend the release to Canadians interested in trying a good, relatively cheap lbv which is readily available. Why do I say 'Canadians' you ask? Because this is the only LBV for which I have tried the US release as well, and before you assume that they're the same let me disabuse you of this notion. I don't know if this is true of other port importers in the US as well, but the Fladgate which was released for '03 in the States was bottled a year sooner than the Canadian release. While you might think the extra year of bottle aging means that it'd be better, sadly I must say it had the opposite effect. I found the US release rather more watery than the Canadian, and I think this must be the result of less time spent oak maturing. After all, the whole point of LBV port is that has been oxidized to enough of an extent to make it drinkable without the long-term bottle aging necessary for proper vintage port, and I don't personally think there was enough for this release. That said, it's still perfectly drinkable, and I suspect would improve with a few years in the bottle, but that's just a hunch.
Now that we've gotten past that, on to the release with which I'm more familiar. That extra year really added to the Fladgate, and the flavour is full on deck with this release. As is typical of LBVs from the great vintage years of 2000 and 2003, there's a noticeable amount of brown sugar in the flavour profile of this wine, but where in others I get hints of blackberry and maybe a little vanilla, in this release there is a less subtle but more in your face ripe fruit character. Essentially, the Fladgate is the middle of the road for the '00 and '03 releases. It is neither overly sweet nor overly dry (think '03 Quinta do Noval) but achieves a nice balance of both. It is not particularly complex, but that's not particularly an issue to my mind; after all, sometimes all one really wants is a nice glass of port after dinner, and if you aren't going to take time to stop and really think about what you're tasting but just enjoy it as a good wine the Fladgate is perfect. While not my typical go-to for LBV (that's the Dow's '03) it still enters regularly enough for me to recommend, especially for beginners.
US rating: 6.5/10 (American release pictured)
Canadian rating: 7.5/10

Taylor Fladgate 2003 LBV port, 20% abv, avg retail price $24
Taylor Fladgate 2003 LBv port

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March 10, 2010
Great Job Paul! Perhaps that fourth Port house You are thinking of is Graham's. (Its my favoutite) Keep up the good Work!
March 11, 2010
Kameron and I had many debates about just that. So far as I'm conerned, the best names are Fonseca, Sandeman, Dow's, and Cockburn's. But Graham's is some damn fine wine nonetheless
More Taylor Fladgate 2003 LBV Port reviews
Quick Tip by . September 04, 2010
Port is one of my very favorite after dinner drinks! I love it with an accompaniment of a small plate of Stilton cheese wedges, it cuts down on the "sweetness" of the Port.. I find that a bottle of Port is a great way to spend an evening with friends!!! I drink it mostly in the fall and winter months.      I bought 2 bottles of a 1987 vintage Port when my grandson was born in 2003.  I am saving them for his 21st birthday, should be some great bonding time!!!
About the reviewer
Paul Gifford ()
Ranked #5
I'm a history major specialising in the British empire, with a general focus towards South Africa but embracing studies of the whole of the empire. I've been drinking single malt scotch whisky for nearly … more
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winemaker's notes:

Powerful dark cherry and black fruit aromas. The floral and herbal notes that come through on the nose add lovely nuances to the bouquet .The palate shows great intense fruit flavours and fantastic depth and complexity. The wine is harmonious, well crafted, authoratative.

Taylor’s LBV is the perfect finish to any meal. It does not need to be decanted and should be served in a generously proportioned wine glass so that its rich fruity nose can be enjoyed to the full. Excellent with fully flavoured cheeses, especially blue cheeses such as Stilton or Roquefort. It is also delicious with desserts made with chocolate or berry fruits.

Source: Wine.com

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Winemaker: Taylor Fladgate
Varietal: Port
Year: 2003

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