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News

GRAHAM'S 1890 LODGE WINS BEST OF WINE TOURISM 2015

W & J Graham’s 1890 Lodge has once again received international accolades. This time from the “Great Wine Capitals”, a network of ten major cities around the world which aims to promote travel, education, and business exchanges between the most prestigious wine regions in the world.

The Graham’s Lodge was awarded the “Best of Wine Tourism 2015” in the category of “Wine Tourism Services” for outstanding offerings in the fields of service, innovation, creativity and authenticity.

A special mention must be made of the multi-national team of expert guides without whom this award would not have been possible. In constant training with both our viticulture team in the Douro Valley and our wine makers, the staff have first hand knowledge of all aspects of port. Our team is currently comprised of 11 different nationalities: Portuguese, English, Spanish, Italian, French, Russian, Polish, Ukrainian, Danish, German, and Dutch.

The “Best of Wine Tourism” awards are internationally renowned as a celebration of excellence and innovation in worldwide wine tourism. And so it is with great pride that Graham’s receives these honours, as they bear witness to the hard work and effort put into the W & J Graham’s 1890 Lodge since its refurbishment.

 

 

AMONGST THOUSANDS OF CASKS AT GRAHAM’S... ...three were set apart... These three hold a wine that is over a hundred and thirty years old, dating from the time Andrew James Symington came to Portugal to work for W. & J. Graham ́s in 1882.Of these three casks, the family has decided to draw-off and bottle one cask of this wine. The remaining two casks will be bequeathed to the next generation of the Symington family and will remain undisturbed for at least another decade. The family have named this wine after the original Graham’s family motto: ‘Ne Oublie’ – Do Not Forget.

 

 

THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF GENERATIONS of craftsmen come together in this venerable Port. Scottish, English and Portuguese blood runs in the veins of our family; therefore, we decided that Ne Oublie should be the co-creation of artisans from these three countries.The Wine. The fruit of the Douro Valley from the late nineteenth century has mellowed for over a hundred and thirty years, first in the wild mountains of the Douro and then in the temperate maritime climate of Northern Portugal’s Atlantic coast. There is nowhere else in the world where such a wine could be made. The Ne Oublie Port has been tended by generations of Winemakers, Cellar Masters and Coopers in the Graham’s Lodge. A wine of this age will mature idiosyncratically and only a deep knowledge of its character can ensure that it continues well into a perfectly balanced old age. The knowledge required to care for this ancestral Port has been handed down from father to son through four generations.

The Crystal Decanter

Each of our 656 individually numbered decanters has been handmade in blown crystal glass by world-renowned Portuguese glassmakers Atlantis. In our cellars we have ancient wine bottles of varying shapes and inspired by the beauty of these old bottles, we chose the classic bulb form typical of nineteenth century bottles for the Ne Oublie decanter.

The Silver

In Penicuik, a small town near Edinburgh are Scottish silversmiths Hayward & Stott, whose artisans have shaped, formed and engraved the finest silver neck collars and the coasters of the Ne Oublie decanter. The Silver produced by the company's craftsmen is known for being some of the finest and purest in the world guaranteed by the historic Edinburgh Assay hallmarks applied to each piece of silver adorning the Ne Oublie decanter.

The Case

In 1887, Frank Smythson opened his first luxury leather goods boutique on Bond Street, London. Over 125 years later, Smythson of Bond Street still adheres to the same peerless craftsmanship Frank himself practised. Exclusively designed for Ne Oublie, the case has been handmade by a highly skilled artisan in luminous calf leather and soft nubuck. Both historically renowned, Smythson’s craftsmanship is befitting to a wine of this rarity, making this a true partnership of two luxury houses.

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History

The story of two families across three centuries. For almost two hundred years W & J Graham’s has been an independent family business renowned for producing the finest Port wines. Graham’s has always been a pioneer. Graham's was one of the first Port companies to invest in its own vineyards in Portugal’s Douro Valley in 1890 and is now at the cutting edge of innovation in winemaking techniques. Today, five Symington cousins share responsibility for every aspect of the company and personally make the Graham’s wines. They too have been involved with Port and the Douro for many generations, with ancestry dating back to the mid-17th century.

William and John Graham founded their firm in Porto in northwest Portugal to trade in textiles. In 1820 they accepted twenty-seven barrels of Port as payment of a debt. The two brothers decided then to devote their energies to making the best Port wines from the Douro Valley: and so the Graham’s Port house was born. The Graham family already had extensive business interests overseas, both in their native Scotland and in India. They were considered by one contemporary historian to be, ‘among the merchant princes of Great Britain’.

The Symington family has had connections to W & J Graham’s since 1882 when the young Scottish businessman, Andrew James Symington, came to Porto to work for the company. In 1891 he married Beatrice de Leitão de Carvalhosa Atkinson, whose ancestors has been involved in the Port trade since the 17th century.

When Andrew James, known to everyone as AJ, first visited the Douro Valley he was spell-bound. This began a dedication to Port and the Douro that has not diminished in over five generations of Symingtons. He passed this passion onto his sons and so did they to theirs; and so the legacy of this family of wine-producers continues.

Graham’s substantial investment in their wines at the end of the nineteenth century, through the purchase of property in the Douro and in Vila Nova de Gaia, produced a succession of superb Graham’s Vintages, which have become landmarks in the history of Port. Some of the most famous Vintages from early last century include 1908, 1912, 1924 and 1927.

Graham’s first harvest under the ownership of the Symington family was extremely auspicious, with Graham’s 1970 Vintage Port being declared. The 1970 is thought by many to be one of the greatest wines of that century. Nearly an hundred years after their ancestor AJ Symington left Graham’s to set up on his own as a Port producer, the family’s relationship with this Port house came full circle. Besides the family’s other Port marques, Graham’s is the only remaining British Port company independently owned by a single family. This ensures that every aspect in the making of Graham’s Ports is controlled and cared for intimately.

Under the management of the Symington family, Graham’s continues to be a pioneer, balancing the best of tradition with the latest technology in pursuit of their mission: to make the finest Port possible. In recent years the Symington family has invested significantly in Graham’s vineyards in the Douro. They have also installed some of the world’s most sophisticated winemaking equipment in the centuries-old winery at Quinta dos Malvedos. The quality of Graham’s viticulture and vinification has never been better.

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Vineyards

The Douro: a terroir like no other - The Douro is perhaps the most challenging wine-growing region on earth. Its mountainous terrain and steep, winding valleys create a kaleidoscope of microclimates, each producing unique wines. The result is great complexity and balance.

Graham’s owns five mountainous vineyards, which are located in different parts of the best wine-growing areas of the Douro region. Each property has the maximum ‘A’ grade classification. Much of the original wild flora has been left deliberately undisturbed amongst the vines on these estates to preserve the indigenous biodiversity, which Graham’s believes contributes to making wines with a more unique and powerful expression of this terroir.

As you leave Porto, heading east up the River Douro you pass through the Marão range, which rises to 1,400 metres from the coastal plains. On the other side of these mountains you enter a different climate. Protected from the influence of the Atlantic Ocean this region (known as Trás-os-Montes, or ‘Behind the Mountains’) becomes increasingly Mediterranean. The temperatures in the Douro valley fall below freezing in winter and consistently climb above 35°C in summer.

These harsh conditions are in fact ideal for making wines of great power and concentration. Each year the vines face a struggle against the elements and competing vegetation. Most years they triumph, producing tight bunches of small, thick-skinned grapes, packed with flavour and ripened to perfection.

The Douro is divided into three sub-regions, different in terms of their rainfall, soil composition and general topography. These are the Baixo Corgo, the Cima Corgo and the Douro Superior: the latter two being the most important for the production of the finest quality Ports. The Douro is also home to indigenous grape varieties, whose characteristic intensity and resilience make them integral to the production of Port. There are 116 varieties (49 white and 67 red) officially permitted by the Douro and Port Wine Institute (Instituto do Vinho do Porto e do Douro, IVDP), although in fact only a small proportion of these are widely cultivated.

Much of the Douro is extremely inaccessible and vineyards have to be carved out of the steep mountainsides. For centuries, dry-stone walled-terraces have been constructed by hand: some of these mountain vineyards are so steep that each terraceholds just one row of vines. These ancient terraces remain a dramatic and beautiful feature of the Douro landscape and contributed to its designation as an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001.

 

As you approach Malvedos, either by road or river, the ancient Stone Terraces, known as Port Arthur, rise majestically above you like sentinels standing over the valley. This is the original Graham’s Quinta and is recognized as one of the finest estates in the Douro.

The house at Malvedos is situated on a spectacular ridge surveying the river and the terraced vineyards that surround it. The entire property's 89.2 hectares of vineyards hold the maximum ‘A’ grade classification. Situated on the North bank of the Douro River, the vineyards are predominantly South-facing, which makes for rich and ripe wines.

Touriga Franca is the principle grape variety planted at Malvedos. Its thick-skinned berries thrive in the hot, dry conditions of the Upper Douro Valley. A year when the Touriga Franca ripens perfectly is almost always a year when exceptional Vintage Ports are made.

The iconic Touriga Nacional is the second most prevalent variety at Malvedos. This is a low-yielding variety, whose grapes are, as a result, small, dark-blue and intensely aromatic. The story of the Touriga Nacional grape variety is perhaps the greatest success story of the Douro Valley and it began largely in the neighbouring vineyards, Graham's own Quinta do Tua.

The wines from Malvedos form the backbone of Graham’s renowned Vintage Ports, while in most interim years they are bottled as the Quinta dos Malvedos Vintage Port.

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Winemaking

WINEMAKING :Crafting one of life’s great traditions - In its continued pursuit of excellence, Graham’s combines the best of tradition with innovation. Cutting-edge methods of viticulture and vinification are continually being developed by the Graham’s team, improving the quality of the wines and the sustainable, minimal interventionist management of the vineyards.

VITICULTURE: The Symington family is firmly committed to innovation, and over the last decade Graham’s has conducted substantial viticultural research to optimise fruit quality, minimise intervention in the vineyards and reduce erosion (a perennial concern in these mountain vineyards).

Graham’s has also, over the last few decades, been investigating a plethora of other factors, amongst them the relationship between grape varieties and rootstocks; the effects of pruning; clonal evaluation; organic winemaking; and minimal interventionist agriculture.

Graham’s has seven hectares of organic vineyard at Quinta das Lages, in which only natural weed control and soil management techniques are used. Over the next few years, another vineyard plot at Quinta dos Malvedos will also achieve organic certification.

VINIFICATION: Graham’s continues to make some of its Ports by traditional treading in stone lagares (shallow treading tanks). But with manpower becoming an increasingly scarce resource in the Douro, the winemaking team has pioneered a groundbreaking method for treading the grapes. At Quinta dos Malvedos the world’s first modern lagares operate alongside the traditional ones.

The wines produced over the last few years using this innovative process have performed at least as well as, and often better than, traditionally-made wines in the most prestigious international tasting competitions. These modern lagares have thus proved a landmark in winemaking in the Douro valley and have advanced Graham’s mission of making wines of the highest possible quality.

 

Experience and tradition spanning three centuries have given Graham’s strong values, which are at the heart of the company’s philosophy today.The original Graham family motto, ‘Do Not Forget’, guides everything the company does. It speaks of a commitment to the Douro region born from a respect for the past and confidence in the future.

Graham’s is an entirely independent family-owned company. The whole wine-making process, from the vine to the bottle, is therefore personally overseen and guaranteed. Tradition, experience and knowledge are passed from generation to generation; and innovation is embraced, in the continued pursuit of excellence.

Graham’s owns some of the highest quality vineyards in the Douro Valley, only using grapes from these properties in its Ports. Graham’s Winemaker personally follows the progress of each wine, carefully tasting, blending and selecting which wines to bottle or to mature, in a tradition initiated over a century ago. The Art of Cooperage is essential to the making of great Port, so Graham’s uniquely retains its own dedicated team of Coopers. And the Cellar Master personally guarantees the ideal conditions for ageing in the Graham’s 1890 Lodge.

 

 

 

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Inside information

Port wine likes to rest in seasoned wood…It is difficult to teach the art of caring for this wine because it only comes with years of experience. When I came to the family cooperage as a young apprentice the Master Cooper showed me these three casks. Now I try to pass this knowledge down to the young coopers that work with me.

Emílio Correia, Graham’s Master Cooper

Quinta dos Malvedos is like no other property in the Douro. It has consistently lower yields than other vineyards in the valley, producing wines with phenomenal richness and capacity to age.
It is a magical place!

Henry Shotton, Graham’s Winemaker, and the Winemaking team at Quinta dos Malvedos

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Omar Khan, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Graham's . In a tasting of  21 wines 

Giacomo Conterno Barolo Riserva Monfortino 1947 -2006. An absolutely stunning tasting, showcasing the greatest, seminal Barolos in the world. The sheer range and majesty of the wines was extraordinary.

27d 4h ago

 Philip Tuck / Master of Wine, MW (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Graham's . In a tasting of  10 wines 

"MY TOP 10 WINES OF 2016"

5m 20d ago

 Juha Jormanainen, Wine Writer (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Graham's . In a tasting of  7 wines 

Graham Vintage Port 1963 / Clear but not very intensive red color, broad nose with aromas of red berries, strawberry and arctic bramble. On palate strong but still gentle, elegant wine with loads of berries, chocolate and plum – very, very, very long and lovely aftertaste. This is my favorite port for Christmas, if I don’t have Quinta 63 Nacional. If you have opportunity to buy a bottle under 300 euros, don’t think a second. Beautiful women just love this wine… Points 96.

5m 24d ago

 Michael Jones, Wine Blogger (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Graham's . In a tasting of  8 wines 

Château Ducru-Beaucaillou 1961 was opened and decanted 20 minutes before we began. The fading brick red color gave away the wine’s age. It offered an surprisingly robust, perfumed nose. A little sweet fruit framed by plenty of spice, earth and leather. Later on, tobacco notes emerged and eventually dominated. On the palate, the wine was a silky seductress, showing black cherry fruit entwined with spice, leather and a bit of earthy ‘barnyard’. Very silky and smooth with surprising body. It held up well even after two hours of air time. It might have lasted longer too, but I couldn’t keep my hands off the glass! Remarkable balance. It had all the elements in seamless glory. A classic mature Bordeaux. Very, very special.

5m 26d ago

 P. Symington, Wine Producer (Portugal)  tasted  4 wines  from  Graham's . In a tasting of  5 wines 

“Graham's Vintage 1963 / Power, dimension and real character are all hallmarkes of this most memorable Vintage. Even after 40 years the Graham's 1963 never fails to impress with it superbly balanced components of fruit, tannin and elegance. In 2004, this wine shows elegant rose petal aromas. The flavours are of concentrated caramelised fruit in perfect balance.”

9m 10d ago

 Bob Thompson / Wine Writer, Pro (South Africa)  tasted  2 wines  from  Graham's . In a tasting of  36 wines 

“Niepoort Vintage Port 1997 - 98 points / The best of the 1997 vintage - Opaque, purple colour with very pronounced and intense nose of medicinal tones, anise, violets, licorice, dark fruits, blackberries and spices. Full-bodied, moderate acidity and big stalky tannins are dominating this youngster. There is a very intense ripe dark fruitiness and violet-like flavours combinied with spicy aromas. An immensly long and warming finish with great balance. Superb wine with great future.”

10m 25d ago

 Guo Ying / Sommelier, Pro (China)  tasted  1 wines  from  Graham's . In a tasting of  14 wines 

“Port Vintage 1975 tasting / A widely declared vintage, attractive, elegant wines, though not likely to be as long lived as the 70s or 77s. Remarkable as the first vintage to be bottled strictly in Portugal by regulation – the end of centuries of shipping in cask for bottling at destination by distributors.

Viticultural and Weather Conditions
The summer of 1975 was long, hot and dry. By late August development was looking pretty backward due to the lack of rain. It rained heavily in early September and prospects for quality appeared excellent. It became quite hot again, with just a little more rain at the end of the month, which cleared away on the 30th, and then continued hot and dry for the remainder of the vintage. Harvest began 29th September in Rio Torto and 6th October elsewhere. Graduations were lower than expected however musts showed very well.

1y 1m ago

 Jan-Erik Paulson, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Graham's . In a tasting of  20 wines 

“1966 & Friends.
We had great bottle luck at a 1966 tasting I organized in the wonderful Hotel Kronenschlösschen in Hattenheim, Rheingau.


We had 17 different 1966s paired with another vintage from the same winery. The second bottle was tasted blind and it was fun to try to guess the vintage.
All 1966s showed very well and were still giving drinking pleasure.

We started with a lovely Dom Perigean, that I preferred to the much too young 1996. Then 1966 Rauenthaler Baiken Spätlese that hardly appeared older than the 1996. Both very good.
The 1966 Château Rayne Vigneau was paired with the 1955 which I only just preferred - both very good.

Then to Bordeaux:
The 1966 Château Cos d'Estournel was still good, but not quite singing - the 1990 is a wonderful Cos. 1966 Château Gruaud Larose showed some of the characteristic horse stable aromas and needs drinking soon, though still drinking well. This was paired with the 1943 which showed some sweet fruit but also an aggressive acidity.
The 1966 Château Margaux was the best bottle I ever had of this wine - much more fun than the 1986 which may need more time.
This was followed by two great vintages of Château Haut Brion.
The 1966 was mature and stylish but clearly beaten by, for me, the wine of the evening - the 1955. I had this last december and scored it very high then as well. It is a most lovely wine, mature and fresh at the same time with a complex nose. One participant guessed that it was the 1989 he had in the glass.
The a comparison of the 1966 and 1955 vintages of Château Mouton Rothschild and Château Latour.
Here again the 1955s showed more complexity. The 1966 Latour is a youthful giant but the Mouton is never more than good whereas its 1955 is magic, this time just beaten by a great 1955 Latour.
The 1966 Château Cheval Blanc is normally a fantastic wine, this bottle was very good but I have had better bottles. The 1975 on the other hand was showing beautifully - much better than I remember from other bottles.
The 1966 Château La Fleur Pétrus was very good, better than any bottle of Château Pétrus I have had from this vintage. The 1970 was good but paled by comparison.
I forgot to make notes from the burgundies but both 1966s showing some age.
Both 1966 and 1952 Vina Real, CVNE were quite good.
I much preferred the 1966 Grange to the 1990. A delicious, stylish wine. The 1990 may need time but I doubt that it will ever reach this elegance of the 1966.
The loveliest of the four ports was the 1966 Dow, clearly beating the slightly alcoholic Graham.”

1y 2m ago

 Philip Tuck / Master of Wine, MW (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Graham's . In a tasting of  1 wines 

“Graham’s 1955 vintage Port. Deeper colour than the ’63 although plenty of mahogany. Lovely complex, spicy lifted nose of Christmas cake and touch of cinnamon and tobacco. Scented an feminine. Hugely complex with perfect volatility for the fruit. Still impressive depth and real sweetness on the palate with seemed to last an eternity in the mouth. The spirit is clean and still integrated. This is perfect now and utterly delicious. Difficult to fault. 20.”

1y 2m ago

 Toshi Nakamoto, Sommelier (Japan)  tasted  1 wines  from  Graham's . In a tasting of  8 wines 

“Isole e Olena Vin Santo 1997 / Absolutely one of the loveliest vin santo I have tasted. Such an intense amber colour with enormous viscosity. Very rich, dense, sweet, honeyed wine with nutty aromas and loads of sweet spices. Lusciously sweet, moderately high acidity and intense fruit with oxidative and nutty style make this elegantly oxidative full-bodied wine very appealing. The immense length is utterly charming. High alcohol of 18% is well integrated and dense oily texture is so thick. Amazing wine!”

1y 5m ago

 Ray Thomsen, Wine Writer (Switzerland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Graham's . In a tasting of  8 wines 

“Istvan Szepsy is considered as a king of sweet Tokaji makers due to the reputation gained from his extra ordinary sweet concentrated wines. This Tokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos was only made around 8000 bottles.
This clear, intense and golden coloured wine has incredibly intense spicy nose with apricot marmalade and botrytis. As 1999 vintage is known from big acidic structure in Tokajis, it makes no difference in this wine. Crisp acidity cuts delicately oily lusciously sweet velvety texture. Honeyed overtones with touch of jasmine and ginger. Very intense fruitiness and rich botrytis flavours combined with moderate level of alcohol are all adding an extra dimension to this immortal wine. 96 points

1y 5m ago

 Wallace Shawn / Wine Investing Consult, Wine Dealer (Luxembourg)  tasted  1 wines  from  Graham's . In a tasting of  6 wines 

“The 1999 harvest was a perfect complement to the great Barolo vintages of the 1990s. An excellent vintage despite humidity in August that caused some rot problems. Sandrone had a marvellous year. Luciano Sandrone is a true grape grower guarding his vines’ health and maximising grape quality. In the cellar he combines tradition with innovation. His wines are true terroir wines with balanced use of French oak and fairly short maceration periods.
Sandrone's Le Vigne is a blend from several vineyards. Elegant nose of perfume, cherries and boysenberries. Layers of elegant fruitiness backed up by a touch of spicy oak. Velvelty mouthfeel with a great tannic grip. Superb intensity and finesse which are complemented by the wine’s mineral character. Starting to show its full potential but will peak after a decade. Sandrones are hard to find, but worthwhile the search! 96 points

1y 6m ago

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