samedi, mai 8

Taylor's Port or Porto story

I had the oportunity last week end to visit the city of Porto. I enjoyed it perfect view from Dom-Louis bridge, its crazy nights and of course its wines. More exactly, it’s in Vila Nova de Gaia, in front of Porto, on the other side of Douro river that the most prestigious Porto brands are based. Croft, Taylor’s, Sandeman, Cruz or Feirera : this small town, which benefit of perfect condition for aging, houses the most known Portuguese firms. Visits and tastings are generally free.
I would recommend the visit of Taylor’s Port, so much it history represents Porto wine one.

Porto, a british influence : 

Mentioned by our guide with a touch of bitterness, The Portuguese did not create this famous beverage,  that’s well and truly the British. At the end of the XVIIth century, after no endings conflicts between France and England, English started to avoid French wine to turn to Portuguese wines.
In 1703, Mesethuen treaty is signed to reduce taxes and encourage trades between England and Portugal. Wine trades increased so much that England became the first export market for Douro wines. In those conditions, Job Bearsley, originally a british suiting seller, started a wine trade business. That’s the beginning of Taylor’s Port story. Since 1962, the logo has been remaining unchanged. The name “Taylor” appeared later, with a wedding between the Taylors and the Bearsleys.

To add alcohol for a better preservation:

Wine traders realized that their wine badly traveled until England. So they decided to add “eau de vie” at mid-fermentation. Porto wine was born. Besides it capacity of preservation, this method improved wine, particularly when it was aged in Villa Nova de Gaia.
Then the British involved themselves more and more, driven by the Bearsley’s sons. Peter was the first to visit “Quintas” to look for the best grapes. His brother, Bartholomé, was also the first to acquire one Quinta in Douro valley. Since, the firm remained family estate contrary to their competitors.

Today the firm is driven by the Yeatman and Fladgate’s descendants, associated to Taylor’s Port from 1830. Taylor’s Port own 3 Quintas in Douro valley : Quinta da Vargelas, Quinta da Terra Feita and Quinta do Junco.

I will go back later on Porto wine classification which deserves an only post.

But till then,  Saúde !* 


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