Following our extensive and educational tour and extended port wine tasting at Taylor’s lodges and offices in Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal (across the Douro River from Porto), we walked up the hill a short distance to The Yeatman Hotel, also owned by Taylor Fladgate & Yeatman.
Located in the heart of Porto, Portugal, one of Europe’s most important wine capitals, The Yeatman Hotel is a haven for wine lovers and the prime destination for those wishing to explore the pleasures of Port, the great classic wine for which the city of Porto is famous. A member of the Relais & Chateaux group, the Hotel has cellars of with one of the most comprehensive collections of Portuguese wines. The Yeatman has established partnerships with many of Portugal’s finest producers who actively participate in The Yeatman’s program of tastings, seminars and wine dinners.
Taylor’s Managing Director, Adrian Bridge — son-in-law of Alistair Robertson, the late-20th century chief executive of Taylor’s — conceived of the idea of a leading hotel in the Porto area (on the hillsides of Vila Nova de Gaia on property adjacent to the Taylor’s lodges and corporate offices). “Named The Yeatman, in celebration of the family’s historic link with the city, it draws on its owners’ expertise in both fine wine production and luxury hotel management to become one of the world’s leading wine hotels. Opened since August 2010, it became Oporto’s address of choice, the hotel which defines the city.” – www.the-yeatman-hotel.com
We began the evening with canapes and sparkling wine on the terrace (see photograph, below), overlooking Ponte Dom Luis I (Dom Luis I Bridge) which spans the Douro River, connecting Porto (the top side of the photograph) with Vila Nova de Gaia, the location of all the port houses’ (companies’) lodges (warehouses) for aging port wine. Our superb dinner was upstairs at the Michelin one-star and Relais and Chateaux Yeatman Restaurant, under executive chef Ricardo Costa. Our wonderful hosts for the evening were Alistair and Gilyanne Robertson, “proprietors” of Taylor Fladgate & Yeatman, members of the family who have owned Taylor’s for over 300 years.
“The extraordinary panorama of the River Douro and the historic center of Porto guarantee the most spectacular scenery, combined with a Michelin star award in the 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 Guides. Aiming to deliver Porto’s most inspiring dining experience, The Yeatman’s Restaurant led by Chef Ricardo Costa, offers imaginative cuisine in which the traditional flavours of Portugal are interpreted and presented with contemporary flair. It showcases Portugal’s huge range of fish and other fresh produce as well as its diversity of regional specialties.” – www.the-yeatman-hotel.com
The wine accompanying the appetizer course was Quinta do Soalheiro Alvarinho Primeiras Vinhas 2014, Minho, a light white wine made from Albarino grapes grown in Portugal.
The wine accompanying the fish course was Quinta do Monte D’Oiro Madrigal 2012, Lisboa, an excellent white wine that paired well with the seafood.
The wine accompanying the main course course was Quinta do Passadouro Touriga Franca 2013, a hearty red made from one of Portugal’s primary red grape varietals (Touriga Franca).
Before the desert course, our host, Alistair Robertson, brought out several bottles of 1974 Taylor’s Vintage Port. This is an exceptional wine, rated 100 out of 100 points by both Robert Parker in The Wine Advocate and by the Wine Spectator magazine.
In order that the cork be removed intact, rather than a traditional wine bottle opener, Taylor’s has developed a special technique to remove the cork AND the top several inches of the glass of the bottle. Somewhat akin to “sabering” a Champagne bottle to remove the top of the bottle, this technique removes the glass by heating a ring that goes around the neck to heat the glass intensely, followed by the pouring of ice water around the heated area to “crack” the glass. With a towel, it can then be carefully removed. When done correctly, about ¼” of the cork is still IN the bottle below the “cut line” and then the entire cork is removed still inside the top piece of the glass bottle. The following pictures illustrate the technique.
Noted for their elegance and poise as well as for their restrained power and longevity, Taylor’s Vintage Ports are blended from the finest wines of the firm’s three own quintas or estates. The Taylor’s 1994 Vintage Port was truly remarkable, and clearly still very young. It was a superb ending to a wonderful afternoon and evening at the Taylor’s estate. And we conclude with a toast to the Robertsons to thank them for their warm hospitality.