This wine hails from the magnificent 18th century stone terraces to the north and east of the estate house at Quinta dos Malvedos. When W & J Graham purchased the property in 1890, they set about recreating the necessary vineyard conditions to produce the finest Ports in the Douro, with little regard to cost. These terraces, which had been abandoned in the aftermath of phylloxera, were reconstructed by hand, recovering the sturdy retaining walls to create terraces, with minimal disturbance of the schist bedrock. A vine planted under these conditions is naturally stressed, having to put down deep roots through cracks in the schist to find the necessary water with which to survive the typically hot and dry summers of the Douro.
The pickers started on the northeast oriented Cardenhos section of the stone terraces, a diminutive (0.6 Ha) amphitheatre-shaped vineyard behind the Quinta house, and gradually worked their way around the ridge on which the latter is built to harvest the 1.2 Ha Port Arthur vineyard, whose 1,379 vines face due east. While Port Arthur produced concentrated wines of impressive structure, reflecting its greater exposure to sunlight, Cardenhos delivered delicate, balanced wines with wonderful finesse. Touriga Nacional is the predominant variety in both vineyards and the harvested grapes were fermented in two lagares in the small Malvedos winery located just 100 metres away. The Cardenhos lagar showed very good colour and gave a sugar reading of 13°, which was not unexpected due to its cooler orientation. This was a little below the graduation of the Port Arthur lagar, which recorded a Baumé of 14.05° and showed an equally encouraging, inky blue-black color.
This is the third ‘Stone Terraces’ Vintage Port produced by Graham’s. The previous bottlings in 2011 and 2015 have received very positive acclaim. Yields on these vineyards are rarely above 1.5Kg/vine. There can be few wines in the world made with such concentration whilst also displaying such finesse, with no over-ripeness and a remarkably fresh acidity on the finish. This Stone Terraces release represents less than 2% ofthe production of the Quinta dos Malvedos estate in 2016.
CELLAR SELECTION - A superbly intense wine of great concentration, this has a generous structure and abundant ripe-fruit tones. Its tannins are fully intact, promising an immensely long aging period. It's rich, but also fresh in acidity and juicy black-fruit flavors.
Lush and captivating in feel, with a velvety flow to the mix of plum, blackberry, boysenberry and açaí berry compote flavors. A bold streak of licorice runs through the finish, underscored by a brambly note that imparts balance. A stunning display of fruit.
When nearer to bottling last year, this was gloriously aromatic, wonderfully fresh and also quite powerful. The only thing that has changed is that it has also fleshed out a bit in the bottle, showing a bit more stuffing in the mid-palate...the intensity of flavor and the wonderful aromatics compensate. Those features were always what made this special.
Once opened, the wine needs time to find its footing. Over the course of hours and days, the flavors lengthen, their youthful compression and layered intensity carrying a direct message from the schist. Meanwhile, the fruit itself is delicious and grand, with floral notes of beeswax adding to its depth.
Extremely vinous and aromatic with flowers and dark berries. Herbal and tobacco undertones. This is very tight and chewy, showcasing so much grape-skin character character. So phenolic yet not roughly tannic. Unique. Try in 2022.