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Graham's Late Bottled Vintage 1998
Tradition, experience and knowledge spanning two centuries have given Graham’s the values that are at the heart of the company’s philosophy. The Graham family motto Ne Oublie (forget not or never forget) perfectly encapsulates the company’s commitment to the Douro Region, born of a deep respect for the past.
Founded in 1820, Graham’s produced some of the greatest Ports of the 20th century, amongst which the 1927, 1935, 1945, 1970 and 2000 Vintages. In 1970 the company changed ownership from the founding family to the Symingtons, who have themselves been Port producers since 1882, however through their Anglo-Portuguese great-grandmother, they can trace their Port heritage back to 1652. Graham’s owns some of the finest vineyards in the Douro Valley, one of the oldest demarcated wine regions in the world and a Unesco World Heritage Site.
The four properties are: Quinta dos Malvedos, Quinta do Tua, Quinta da Vila Velha and Quinta do Vale de Malhadas. Combined, these four mountain estates total 201 hectares of vineyards, located in different areas of the Upper Douro and the Douro Superior, each making distinctive wines that contribute to Graham’s singular character and style.
The home of Port—perhaps the most internationally acclaimed beverage—the Douro region of Portugal is one of the world’s oldest delimited wine regions, established in 1756. Less well-known but often of excellent quality, are the region’s dry table wines, both red and white. The vineyards of the Douro, set on the slopes surrounding the Douro River (known as the Duero in Spain), are incredibly steep, necessitating the use of terracing and thus, manual vineyard management as well as harvesting. The climate here is Maritime, with hot summers and cool, wet winters. The best sites, typically with schist-based soils, are reserved for high-end Port production, while table wines are usually grown on granite.
While more than 100 indigenous varieties are approved for wine production in the Douro, there are five primary grapes that make up most Port and red table wines. Touriga Nacional is the finest of these, prized for its deep color, tannins, concentrated structure, and floral aromatics. Tinta Roriz (Spain's Tempranillo) adds bright acidity and red fruit flavors. Touriga Franca and Tinta Barroca help round out the blend with their soft, supple textures. Tinta Cão, a fine but low-yielding variety, is rarely planted but still highly valued for its ability to produce excellent, complex wines.
White wines are generally crisp, mineral-driven blends of Arinto, Viosinho, Gouveio, Malvasia Fina and an assortment of other rare but local varieties.
Blended from the most important red grapes of the Duoro Valley, Port is the famous fortified wine from Portugal. It is based on the Touriga Nacional grape with over 80 other varieties approved for use in the blend. However, typically about four other varieties play a major role: Tinta Barroca, Tinta Cão, Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo) and Touriga Francesa. Other wine regions of the world can produce fortified wine of a similar style from the same grapes or other grapes.
There are numerous styles of Port: Ruby, Tawny, Vintage, LBV, White, Colheita, and a few unusual others.
Ruby ports usually pack the most value and are ready to drink once bottled. Typical characteristics are ripe cherry and blackberry flavors with stewed plums, cocoa and dates.
Tawny ports are “tawny” in color and have flavors of toffee, caramel, toasted pecans, vanilla, dried apricot, citrus peel, green figs and roasted espresso. The age designation on a Tawny Port indicates the average vintage age of the grapes in the bottle.
When Port is made with high quality grapes selected from a single notable vintage, it is called Vintage Port. Some of the best recent vintages are 2011, 2009, 2007, 2003, 2000, 1997 and 1994. Vintage Ports are complex and full-bodied with many flavors possible: concentrated blackberry, black cherry, raspberry and spice, smoke, coffee and chocolate.
LBV Port comes from a single-vintage Ruby Port and may spend six years in the barrel before being bottled. These are ready to drink upon release. Serve most Ports slightly chilled at around 55-65°F.