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95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Violets, roses, spices, and candied dark fruits emanate from the glass of the murky black/purple colored 2003 Graham Vintage Port. After four days of air, this wine’s aromatics sweetened further, displaying jammy blackberry and blueberry scents. Bold, full-bodied, and expansive, the Graham benefited the most from extensive contact with air of all the 2003s tasted for this report. This opulently jammy wine assaults the palate with powerful yet soft layers of oily, candied red fruits as well as notes of tar and hints of mocha. A highly concentrated effort, it is creamy textured, suave, and reveals an admirably long finish filled with additional layers of dark fruits intermingled with spices. Projected maturity: 2030-2055.
Graham's has a reputation as a producer of outstanding Vintage Port for well over a century. These wines are renowned for their remarkable richness, concentration and firm tannic structure: a combination which yields impressive longevity. Graham's Vintage Ports consistently attain the highest ratings in tastings and invariably attract very high bids at fine wine auctions.
Vintage Ports are only made in years of exceptionally high quality harvests, which on average occur two or three times in a decade. The weather in the vineyards is the principal determining factor: conditions must be ideal throughout the growing season, as well as during the subsequent harvest.
Graham's extraordinary quality is the result of the unique characteristics of the five vineyards that contribute to the Vintage Port.
Graham's declares a Vintage Port only in exceptional years, perhaps three times in a decade, and in the intervening years may produce a Quinta Vintage Ports from Quinta dos Malvedos or Quinta do Tua. These Quinta Vintage Ports are aged in our cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia for 10 years or more after harvest, before being released to the market, ready for enjoyment.
Graham’s Vintage Ports are outstanding for their consistent quality and long life. James Suckling’s series of notes for old vintages tasted in 1990 confirm this – how many wines, after 40 or more years, are rated so highly and noted as “will improve with age” ?
The 2003 Vintage is one of really excellent quality. 2003 has the ‘traditional style’ of the 1997 Vintage in that the tannins are strong and structured but with the really attractive ripe fruit flavours of the 1994.
These wines can be drunk young by those who enjoy a more fruit driven style, but will also age superbly over the decades to come.
Contemporary Family Comments
At Malvedos, a combination of robotic lagares and piston plungers were used to make the majority of the Quinta’s production. A small amount was fermented in traditional lagares. With the grapes coming in without a great deal of juice, the lagares took quite a bit of work to extract colour and flavour from the skins, but the results were spectacular. The young lots were aromatic and full of colour,showing plenty of promise for the future.”
12th December 2003
Alcohol by Volume: 20% v/v (20ºc)
Total Acidity: 4.50 g/l tartaric acid
Vineyards: The Graham 2000 came
principally from Quinta dos Malvedos,
Quinta dos Lages, Quinta da Vila Velha and
Quinta de Vale de Malhadas