Text Olga Cardoso | Translation Teresa Calisto
Graham’s belongs to the Symington Family Estates and was founded in 1820 by W&J Graham. Over the years, it has developed a remarkable reputation as one of the largest Port wine producers.
If wine is a form of art, then dated Port wines are surely one of its purest expressions. From the art of ageing, the art of cooperage and the art of blending, the most ravishing dated Tawnies are born. Being amongst the most challenging types of Port, they are very demanding on their makers and producers. They are the result of expertise and knowledge, of patience and minutia, of dedication and surrender.
To find the right balance between elegance and finesse – a result of prolonged ageing in barrel – while at the same time preserving the freshness and fruity flavor is the mission of the enologist and the combination that gives these wines all their structure and longevity. Dated Tawnies are above all unique and intellectual wines, that challenge our senses and stimulate our reason.
I am an unabashed admirer of Single Harvests Tawnies (Colheitas), wines that express the excellence and magnitude of just one year. At this gathering, I tasted three Colheitas: 1982, 1969 and 1952. Decades of evaporation give Colheitas great concentration, almost transforming them into an essence, yielding a deep and intense dried fruits aroma and a dense and unctuous taste, full of rich and complex flavors.
Colheitas Ports are noble and exquisite wines, true symbols of prestige and tradition. Personally, these are wines that excite, move me and send me into another dimension! These wines carry the weight of history; they enclose in themselves the dreams of men and with each sip reinforce the pride of being Portuguese!
10 Years Old Tawny Port, Douro
It was awarded two Decanter World Wine Awards Gold Medals and several Silver Medals from other prestigious competitions. It is in fact, one of the best wines in its category. It has a caramelized bouquet with intense nutty, dates and dried figs flavors. The rich and ripe fruit, laced with noticeable hints of honey, give it a mellow palate with a smooth and silky finish.
20 Years Old Tawny Port, Douro
A delicate and intense aroma reveals the presence of dried fruits, nuts and hazelnuts, in an exquisite and attuned mixture with orange zest. Round and concentrated in the mouth, balanced and harmonious, it has a long and elegant finish. In this wine you will find all that is expected from a 20-year-old Tawny.
30 Years Old Tawny Port, Douro
Complex and magnificent, it reveals layers of dried fruits, orange zest, honey and peach jam. Full, rich and very clean in the mouth. The honey and caramel flavors are evident giving it an intense and velvety texture. Concentrated, with remarkable acidity it has a long and strikingly persistent finish.
40 Years Old Tawny Port, Douro
With a color that already presents some greenish hues, due to the age of the wines that gave it life, this tawny has an intense and complex nose with significant depth. Caramel, pralines, honey and even chocolate flavors are evident. The mouth is dense, voluminous and portentous. The balanced acidity and marked length, give it a prolonged and exquisite finish.
1982 Single Harvest (Colheita), Douro
Graham’s celebrated the birth of HRH Prince George of Cambridge with a Special Edition Port Wine. A Single Harvest Tawny Port from 1982, the year the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were born. Aged for over 30 years in oak barrels at Vila Nova de Gaia’s Graham’s 1890 Cellars it was bottled from only six barrels selected by Charles Symington, head taster and enology director. Rich in dried fruits, with caramelized oranges and dried figs accents, it is velvety in the mouth, with silky tannins and spicy flavors. It has a long, sweet and deliciously persistent finish.
1969 Single Harvest (Colheita), Douro
This is a special bottling Port of only six casks from the 1969 harvest, each cask producing just 712 numbered bottles. Charles Symington tasted each of the 21 casks from 1969 that are still maturing in the Graham’s cellars and selected the six he found exceptional.
The nose is a true explosion of aromas. Nuts, caramel, cinnamon, some glaze and even tobacco leaves brought me back to an extraordinary visit to a cigar factory in Havana. The mouth is intense and seductive, showing crystalized fruits and exotic spices sending me now back to my long walks through the Tunis and Marrakesh medinas. Complex and concentrated, this Colheita has an intense, focused and powerful finish.
1952 Single Harvest (Colheita) – The Diamond Jubilee Port, Douro
This Port wine of exceptional quality was especially selected to commemorate HRH Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee. Bearing witness to the British sovereign’s six decades of reign, this was the wine chosen for the royal toast at the end of the commemorative lunch, which makes it a true pride for the Symington Family that so wisely chose to launch this Single Harvest wine associated with such a noble event.
With extraordinary aroma intensity, it reveals dried fruits, delicate Morrocan dates, orange zest and spicy flavors of nutmeg and clove. The mouth is intense and majestic, with notable freshness and sharp acidity. A true hymn to balance and structural harmony.
For some an adagio, for others an allegro vivace, this Single Harvest is above all a unique and aristocratic tremendously deep and complex wine. A grand and enigmatic Port, full of hues and nuances. A great exemplar of Douro’s and Port’s wine excellence.