February 2017

British Port Association Appoints First Woman Treasurer

Natasha Bridge becomes the first woman Treasurer of the British Association, Oporto.

Natasha Bridge

The association of British Port shippers has elected Natasha Bridge as its first woman Treasurer. The British Association, as it is known, is made up of seven historic British Port companies including three firms belonging to the Fladgate Partnership, Taylor’s, Fonseca and Croft, of which Natasha is a Director.

The Association’s imposing headquarters is the Factory House, an elegant neo-Palladian building commissioned by the British Port houses and completed in 1790.  Located in the old riverside commercial quarter of Oporto, the Factory House and its valuable contents embody the heritage and traditions of the British shippers and their prominent role in the Port trade since the late 17th century.

For over two centuries, management of the Factory House remained – by tradition rather than regulation – the preserve of senior male members of the British Port firms.  In 2010, Natasha became the first woman to be elected to membership of the Association and to become eligible to serve as Treasurer.  The Treasurer is appointed for one year and, as well as presiding over the Association, is responsible for the upkeep of the Factory House and for a busy programme of activities of which a high point is the Treasurer’s Dinner held in November.

Natasha’s Treasurership coincides with two important anniversaries: the 50th year of the distinguished Port trade career of her father, Alistair Robertson, chairman of The Fladgate Partnership; and the 325th Anniversary of Taylor’s which has remained an independent family run business since its foundation in 1692.”

February 2017

Mentzendorff Portfolio Tasting 2017

The Mentzendorff Portfolio Tasting on Tuesday 7th of March at One Great George Street is our most important event of the year, bringing together winemakers from around the world to share their vinous bounty with you.

Our entire range of Champagnes, wines, fortified wines and spirits will be on show. Taste new releases such as the rare Taylor’s 1967 Single Harvest Port, or the first release of Michel Chapoutier’s fantastically named sparkling Saint-Peray; La Muse de Richard Wagner. This year will also herald something a little different. Wine may be our thing, but everyone deserves a lip-smacking cocktail or a vivifying long drink on occasion! Which is why we introduce, for one day only, Ludwig’s Liquid Exuberance, named after our founder Ludwig Mentzendorff who first brought Mentzendorff Kummel to England in 1851, where we will be serving cocktails and long drinks using ingredients from our own portfolio. Ludwig Mentzendorff

Serving suggestion; try everything!

January 2017

Strictly sensational; Taylor’s 1967 Single Harvest Port

From the year which saw the launch of the QE2, the release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and the birth of former MP turned Strictly Come Dancing star Ed Balls, the 1967 Single Harvest Port is the latest in the series of Taylor’s limited release tawny Ports.

Taylor's 1967

Taylor’s extensive and enviable library of very old Ports includes a number of casks of single harvest Ports which undergo very slow and gentle contact with seasoned wood and oxygen during their lengthy period of ageing deep in the Taylor’s lodges in the heart of Vila Nova de Gaia. This extended time in oak allows the creation of extreme aromatic complexity and delightfully mellow structure. The resulting wine is already winning plaudits  from the world’s foremost palates; James Molesworth of Wine Spectator says the 1967 “exhibits remarkable length, with ample viscosity matched by steely tension, putting this in a rarefied air”. Certainly a bottle to get your hands on should you be celebrating a half century not out this year! But be quick, we predict these bottles will be dancing off the shelves sharpish…

November 2016

Literary Libations!

This winter we have been celebrating our literary associations, first with a rather magnificent party at the very tail end of October to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the revival of Everyman’s Library. Originally founded by renowned Victorian autodidact Joseph Dent in 1906 with the publication of an initial fifty titles, we have been awarding the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for comic fiction with Everyman, in honour of the late, great P.G. Wodehouse, since 2000. When the time came to celebrate their (admittedly second time around) quarter century, appropriate Bollinger libations were to be provided to the loquacious crowd of luminaries.

Empire of Booze

Spencer House, conceived in 1756 as a pioneer example of neo-classical architecture, and the Palladian residence of the Earls Spencer until 1926, was the setting for the celebrations. We were honoured to be joined on the evening, at the invitation of Everyman’s Library Publisher David Campbell, by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, who made time to discuss the finer bubbles of life with Champagne Bollinger Commercial Director , who had travelled to London especially. Assembled eminences included joint winner of the 2016 Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse prize Hannah Rothschild, broadcaster James Naughtie, author and comedienne Helen Lederer, authors Edward St Aubyn and Sebastian Faulks, literary agent Ed Victor, heading a guest list as long as a very long, illustrious arm. We congratulate Everyman’s Library and look forward to their half (twenty first) century!

Guy de Rivoire and Prince Charles

Further diving between pages – albeit through the bottom of a glass – was required in November when ‘writer & professional drinker’ Henry Jeffreys, launched his first book; Empire of Booze. As Britain played a determined role in the creation of many of the world’s favourite tipples, it seemed only fit that a company like Mentzendorff, which likely played a not insignificant role in the provision of these beverages, support this endeavour. Champagne (Ayala), sherry (La Gitana) and Port (Taylor’s), all drinks which are inextricably linked to Great Britain, were served to toast the occasion of the launch of Henry’s fascinating and oft humorous tome. One factoid may explain the British association with Sherry; Sir Francis Drake stole more than a million litres of the stuff in a raid on Cadiz. Only one way to remove the evidence, start slurping…!