Graham's Vintage Port 2016
Like most parts of the world, the Douro has not been isolated from the effects of climate change, and unusual weather conditions over recent years have often departed from those typically associated with classic vintage years. Fortunately, in 2016 the stars aligned and the year brought superbly structured and balanced wines, allowing Graham's to announce a full vintage declaration.
The 2016 is a classic expression of the Graham's style: concentrated and opulent with layers of fresh, ripe, black fruit flavors. Aromas of mint and eucalyptus with chocolate notes. The Graham 2016 combines superb complexity, structure and balance.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Extremely complex aromas that show the classic Graham character of black-fruit marmalade and burnt oranges. Follows through to a full body with great grip at the finish. Lightly sweet. Chewy and powerful. Such a focus at the end.
This finely structured wine is powered by fine tannins and rich fruits. A touch of acidity comes through the rich berry flavors and the concentration of the dark tannins. This wine will certainly age, don’t drink before 2028.
The 2016 Vintage Port is a blend of 37% Touriga Nacional, 42% Touriga Franca and various others. It comes in with 115 grams of residual sugar. A bit bigger than Dow's this year, this is more intense as well. The better wine of these two benchmarks seems to be this Graham's. Tight on the finish, aromatic and very flavorful, this actually opens rather well and shows off its lovely fruit. The Dow's will be approachable a bit earlier, perhaps, and this may reward aging even more. As always, Graham's is wonderfully delicious. That's one hallmark of the house. I'm not sure this is a truly great Graham's, but at the moment, it is enticing, with plenty of potential for improvement.
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. 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 Douro's best sites, rare outcroppings of Cambrian schist, are reserved for vineyards that yield high quality Port.
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 the region's excellent, though less known, red table wines. Touriga Nacional is the finest of these, prized for its deep color, tannins and floral aromatics. Tinta Roriz (Spain's Tempranillo) adds bright acidity and red fruit flavors. Touriga Franca shows great persistence of fruit and Tinta Barroca helps round out the blend with its supple texture. Tinta Cão, a fine but low-yielding variety, is now rarely planted but still highly valued for its ability to produce excellent, complex wines.
White wines, generally crisp, mineral-driven blends of Arinto, Viosinho, Gouveio, Malvasia Fina and an assortment of other rare but local varieties, are produced in small quantities but worth noting.
With hot summers and cool, wet winters, the Duoro has a maritime climate.
Blended from the most important red grapes of the Douro 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. These are not intended to be aged once bottled.
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 2016, 2011, 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. Vintage ports tend to improve in the bottle up to approximately 30 years from the vintage.
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.