If you want to say “thank you” in style – this is the way to do it. Air New Zealand has opened a 152-year-old bottle of port to thank experts working on its new high-end wine program.
The Taylor’s port was made in 1863, the year that Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address during the US Civil War. It was a year in which convicts were still being transported to Australia in chains.
“Surprisingly fresh,” was how one wine expert described the ancient port.
The harvest of 1863 was one of the finest of the 19th century and the last great Port vintage before the Phylloxera aphid scourge spread throughout Portugal’s Douro Valley.
Air New Zealand’s chief operations officer Bruce Parton, the man behind the airline’s wine program, told the New Zealand Herald he managed to secure one of just four bottles of the rare 1863 Taylor’s port in New Zealand after it became available in a worldwide launch late last year.
Bottles are being advertised online at prices all starting above AUD 4000 a bottle.
“The reason I bought it was that it was a way of having an incredibly interesting bottle for the Masters of Wine to try,” Parton said.
There is only one disappointment. The port is not available on Air New Zealand flights – not in any class. Some business class wines on the airline top NZD 100 a bottle, Parton told the paper, but there are limits and 152-year-old ports do not feature on the wine list.
Written by Peter Needham