Purple black with narrow magenta border. Classic Taylor nose, with exotic scents of violet and gumcistus against an impenetrable background of intense dark berries. The 2003 Vintage Port shows a stylish and spicy palate, with a tight weave of sinewy tannins and full of concentrated grape aromas that intensify with the seemingly endless finish. Like many other great Taylor vintages, this wine is an archetype of understated power, its elegance and inheritance hiding massive inner strength and endurance.
On the palate: An expressive nose with blueberry liqueur, cherries with chocolate dip, dry fig, cinnamon, baking spices, mocha and earth. Excellent concentration, very polished, finely layered, ripe black fruit, bright acidity, very fine tannins and a long dry fig and cinnamon driven finish.
Storage: Bottles should lie horizontally, in a cool dark place. Matures slowly, develops and refines in the bottle for decades.
Serve: Decant and serve between 16 and 18ºC, in a suitable glass. Walnuts are an excellent complement to Vintage Port, as are various cheeses such as Stilton and Dorset Blue Vinny. So are dried fruits such as apricots or figs. Or just enjoy the unadulterated taste in a good glass with good company.
Anthony Gismondi, Wine Access: Score: 97 We like the way Taylor is put together. Always so firm with powerful, dense fruit, studded with floral (violet) notes. Lock and load this into the basement for the next century.
This is a big wine, very dark in color. Plum and chocolate, maybe some pepper or maybe that’s just the tannin. There is a lot of tannin and the Port is clearly much too young. I expect the flavors to get better and more complex. I won’t open another bottle until 5 and probably have to wait 10 years. Even then, I don’t expect it to be at its peak. Another 10 years could see an assessment of nearly 100 years.
Beautiful ruby-black color, fairly dark but not opaque. On opening, on the nose, aromas of licorice, followed by plum, mint, toffee and cassis brightness. Still timid. In the mouth, WOW! This is where it happens! A tight bomb-like fruity sweet attack of dark berries, licorice, toffee, but also something powerfully spicy and floral. After a few moments, this switches to a plummy-raisiny-toffee look with very good length ending on blueberries. Underneath it all, tannins, though still somewhat hidden by the sweet fruits.
WineSpectator rating: Delicious aromas of currants, blackberries and licorice. Full-bodied, with medium sweetness and layers of ripe, round, velvety tannins. Tasteful aftertaste. More round and refined than from barrel. Best after 2014.
Parker Review: The 2003 Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port improved every time I took it to my nose or mouth. It shows a black color and a salty, graphite laced nose full of sweet black fruits, reminiscent of a stellar vintage from Chateau Latour. With air, notes of molasses, burnt sugar, spice and jammy plums emerge from the glass. Full-bodied, enormously dense, enormously rich and thick, this behemoth is also amazingly balanced and harmonious. Raisins, molasses, licorice, black cherries, plums and a striking note of violets can be found in its complex, seamless character. The endless finish reveals additional notes of chocolate, kirsch, red and black currants, dark cherries and rose blossoms. Armed with exceptional power, depth and purity, this Taylor will proudly stand shoulder to shoulder with the best ever made by the Fladgate Partnership.
Tanzer Review: Bright, saturated ruby. Lively, pure aromas of blackberry, violet and bitter chocolate. Juicy, mineral, precise and penetrating, but quite primary and undeveloped today. Shows strong but integrated acidity and a tight core of fruit. Best today on the slowbuilding, soaring, aristocratic finish. But today, the tannins of the wines are less obvious than the acids. This seems distinctly less mature and tough than the big 2000 Taylors, but it’s still extremely undeveloped. Latour as in its structure and reserve.
Reviews and awards:
98 points in Robert Parker;
97 points in Anthony Gismondi;
97 points in Wine Enthusiast Magazine;
96 points in Wine & Spirits Magazine;
95 points in CellarTracker;
94 points in Wine Spectator Magazine;
93 points in Stephen Tanzer;
18 points in Jancis Robinson.