September 4th, Huis de Salentein, Nijkerk, Holland: earlier this week Pedro Leite, one of our market managers, hosted an informal workshop to present the recently re-launched Graham’s Tawny range — consisting of 5 cask-aged tawny Ports — to a captive audience comprising Verbunt’s sales team, who do a splendid job distributing and representing Graham’s Ports in the Netherlands.
The 12 participants (national account managers), headed by sales manager Jeroen Broos, were impressed by the superb quality of the wines. Pedro was eager to show this dedicated team the refinements gradually introduced over recent years by head winemaker and master blender, Charles Symington, which have culminated in the superb range that the Symington family re-launched earlier this summer in Portugal.
In the relaxed surroundings of Verbunt’s charming Huis de Salentein building, Pedro hosted a tasting session, which included a blending exercise for the Graham’s twenty year-old tawny, using the various component wines. The designations, 10, 20, 30 and 40 years of age on Tawny Port labels indicate the average age of the constituent wines. In the case of this particular Port, the components wines are 14, 25 and 27 years old, meaning that the average age of the 20 YO Tawny is actually closer to 25 years!
The spotlight was on Joost van den Hurk who bravely volunteered to assist Pedro in putting together a blend for the 20 year old, using the three component wines that Pedro took along especially for this session. Judging by the positive reactions of those present, the impromptu master blender did a very good job.
The Verbunt team were very upbeat about the wines tasted and noticed a more pronounced differentiation between ‘The Tawny’ wine and the 10 Year Old Port. This they have no doubt will give each wine a more individual character, which will help consumers identify and more clearly understand the differences between the two. The even better quality of the 20, 30 and 40 years tawnies was also evident to all those present and the 30 and 40 year tawnies were singled out as showing particularly well-balanced acidity, rendering them fresher and supremely elegant.
These opinions are doubly satisfying for us because they come from an experienced and knowledgeable group of professionals; the fact most of those present have worked for Verbunt for many years gives them the advantage of hindsight because they have been familiar with Graham’s Tawny Ports for quite some time and are thus able to compare the wines they tasted now with those they remembered from previous years.
Remember to enjoy these superb Ports lightly chilled, particularly in warmer weather.