How does the fictional Duke of Oxford stay calm when history's worst tyrants and criminal masterminds wreak havoc? A glass of 90-year-old Port is said to do the trick. After multiple delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, director Matthew Vaughn's The King's Man, the third film in his hit spy-action-comedy Kingsman series, is due to be released Feb. 12, 2021. But fans of the British-American films can get an early taste, so to speak, as Vaughn and 20th Century Studios have partnered with Taylor Fladgate to create a limited-edition bottle of rare Port.
The idea for a limited-edition Taylor Fladgate Very Old Tawny Port started in 2018, when Fladgate's managing director Adrian Bridge met Vaughn right before production began on the film. The self-proclaimed history buffs discussed the 20th century era portrayed in the film, including the Great War and the actual historical figures encountered in the film by the Duke of Oxford (played by Ralph Fiennes), including King George V, Kaiser Wilhelm II and Tsar Nicholas II, all of whom are played by Tom Hollander in a not-so-subtle ribbing of the noble class.
"By the time of the Great War, Port had become firmly established in British society as one of the finest of all wines, surrounded by a sense of ritual and a degree of reverence," Bridge told Unfiltered via email. "During the conflict, thousands of cases of Taylor Fladgate Port were supplied to the British Army canteens."
Vaughn, who meticulously researches historical food, drink and fine dining while creating his characters, says that what people drink can tell you a lot about who they are. The director himself says he is a Port man. "I’ve always loved Port and the after-dinner ceremony it brings with it, and Taylor’s was always my first choice," Vaugn told Unfiltered via email. "The idea of a Kingsman Taylor’s Port was perfect, both in name and taste."
Bridge says that this rare Port, aged nearly nine decades in oak casks and presented in a crystal decanter with gold detailing and wood presentation box, is a "peerless wine that's achieved a magical complexity during its long aging in cask, reaching its peak of balance and harmony."
The 100 Kingsman-edition Taylor Fladgate Very Old Tawny Port bottles will be available for purchase at select wine merchants throughout the U.S. beginning in December, priced at a Kingsman-esque $3,800 each.
As to whether the fortified wine makes a cameo in the film, Vaughn said we'll have to wait and see … but he did offer a clue: "Nearly every Old World aristocracy makes an appearance in The King’s Man—Russian, German, Austro-Hungarian, British," he said. "And all of these households were very well-stocked with Port."
Enjoy Unfiltered? The best of Unfiltered's round-up of drinks in pop culture can now be delivered straight to your inbox every other week! Sign up now to receive the Unfiltered e-mail newsletter, featuring the latest scoop on how wine intersects with film, TV, music, sports, politics and more.