One rather nice thing about the Harvest season at Graham’s is that with all the entertaining of friends and professional contacts, the Symington family not only conduct many tastings of current wines, but often bring out some fabulous old and rare ports to serve at tastings or after dinners.
This was the case earlier this week when Dominic was entertaining some guests introduced to us by Hermann Stockman of our German distributor, Smart Wines. Executive Chef Bernd Siener of the Vila Vita Rosenpark Hotel, Sommelier Theresa Stenzel of Hotel Excelsior Cologne, and Sommelier Philipp Kunemund of Schloss Lerbach joined Dominic and Gonçalo Brito for a tour of Graham’s Quinta dos Malvedos, before going up river to spend the evening at the home of one of our sister brands, Quinta do Vesuvio.
Dominic offered a tasting of four vintages of Quinta do Vesuvio: 1994, 1996, 2000 and 2009. Of the four, the 1996 was “absolutely spectacular”, the word “more” featuring in everyone’s comments, as in more tannins, more lean, but more plummy fruit, more elegance and more approachable. Of the recently released 2009, after marvelling over the notes of violet and blueberry, Bernd made the comment that for him, at this age, this was wine, not yet Port, and he looked forward to tasting it again when it had matured.
After dinner Dominic produced an unmarked bottle – when we age Vintage Ports in our own cellars at the Graham’s Lodge in Gaia, we do not label the bottles until (or if) they are released for sale. Two of the guests identified the wine correctly: Graham’s Vintage Port 1970.
Fortified by that, Bernd, Theresa and Philipp went on to assist in the treading in one of Vesuvio’s immense 20 pipe lagares before returning to Porto and Germany.
Dominic gave us this tasting note afterwards:
Beautiful dark amber colour, still remarkably youthful. Beautiful lifted floral aromas on the nose, hints of mint and spice, a slight smokiness. On the palate, still extremely rich and structured, still a vibrancy of tannins, flavours of lovely soft leather, still some plummy black fruit flavours. Absolutely delicious.