W&J Graham's Vintage Port 2017
The 2017 wines were the result of an advanced growing cycle which led to the earliest harvest ever recorded in our family’s 137-year history as winemakers and port producers. Warmer, drier conditions than usual resulted in small, compact bunches of grapes in excellent condition, with yields amongst the lowest of the century so far, 20% below the 10-year average. Despite the harvest beginning in August, the maturations were perfectly balanced, resulting in wines characterised by extraordinary intensity, concentration and structure, combined with stunning aromas and freshness.
Based on Touriga Franca from south-facing slopes at Quinta dos Malvedos, with Touriga Nacional from quintas Vila Velha and Vale de Mealhadas (both predominantly north-facing), topped out with fruit from old vines at Quinta da Tua and 10% Sousão. It's a very deep blue-black colour with an expressive, super-ripe nose of plum, mint and bergamot which springs from the glass. The palate is rich, velvety and voluptuous in typical Graham’s style. The initial richness makes the tannins, which show up on the ripe, broad, mouthwatering finish. Wonderful purity and definition. A real wow of a wine! 3.9 Baumé.
The wine is packed with glorious black fruits that have immense backing tannins. It has a succulent edge of juicy acidity that sears the tannins and promises a great future.
Lush and inviting, with waves of cassis, melted red licorice, plum preserves and boysenberry reduction coursing through, carried by a velvety structure that lets this flow wonderfully. Flashes of apple wood and tar score the finish, which ends with authoritative cut. This is serious.
The 2017 Vintage Port is a blend of 35% Touriga Nacional, 47% Touriga Franca and various others, including a blend from old vines. One of the more aromatic ports here, this is laced with cistus and eucalyptus. Lush in texture and concentrated, it was actually showing well at the time of this tasting--notwithstanding some power and pop. The more it aired out, though, the more power it showed. Even so, this remains a rather refined and suave Graham's. I'd call it subtly sexy. It does put on weight with some aeration, though, and there is that muscle underneath, so don't dive in too soon. The 2017 declaration resulted in very low yields--about a third less than the 2016s. This also, across the Symington line, represents the first back-to-back declarations in family history.
Wow! Amazing aromas of crushed blackberry and blueberry, stems and rose petal. Entrancing. Full-bodied, very tight and powerful with ultra-fine tannins. Intense richness of crushed berries, chocolate, hazelnut and coffee.
The 2017 Graham’s Vintage Port was picked from August 28 at Malvedos, though production is one-third less than the previous year. Here the Touriga Franca was particularly early ripening. It has an expressive nose, a mélange of red and black fruit, fig jam, dates and touches of clove, aromatics that are very seductive if perhaps just missing the intellectual capacity of the Dow’s. The palate is medium-bodied with very supple tannins, a gorgeous Graham’s with hints of espresso and cloves that tincture the multi-layered fruit that veers towards black rather than red towards the finish that fans out without a care in the world. This is perhaps one of the more flamboyant Vintage Ports that is likely to drink earlier than the Dow’s, yet that takes nothing away from what is a beautifully crafted Graham’s