License: Creative Commons - Attribution Author: Ray in Manila
Taylor’s Port wine cellars in the heart of the historic area of Vila Nova de Gaia, across the river from the old city centre of Oporto, house most of the company’s extensive reserves of wood aged Port as well its Vintage Port cellars. The cellars are long cool, dark warehouses, their thick granite walls and high ceilings helping to keep out the heat and maintain an even temperature throughout the year.This ensures that the wines age slowly, gradually acquiring the sublime complex flavours and aromas of maturity.
Wines in the cellars age either in cask or in vat. Casks are seasoned oak barrels usually holding around 630 litres of wine. They are used mainly to age Tawny Ports, in particular the smooth and mellow 10, 20, 30 and 40 Year Old Tawnies of which Taylor is the leading producer. Cask ageing encourages contact between the wine and the wood and intensifies the ageing process. The rich and complex aromas of maturity, such as notes of butterscotch, walnut and fine oak wood, therefore develop more quickly in a cask.
Oak vats normally hold at least 20,000 litres of wine. In these impressive vessels, there is less contact between the Port and the wood. This method of ageing is therefore used mainly for the fruitier styles of Port where the wood ageing is intended to give the wine smoothness and a degree of complexity but allow it to retain its youthful structure and freshness. Wines such as Taylor’s First Estate Reserve or LBV are both aged in vat.