The decisive moment of the vintage came on September 13th when a further 20mm of rain came down at Malvedos and Tua. This provided vitally needed water and lower temperatures. Perfect conditions were in place, but they would amount to little if the signs in the vineyards were not properly read. Charles Symington resisted the temptation to pick prematurely, setting the harvest starting date for September 19th. No sooner had harvesting started when he took a calculated gamble, deferring picking for another week, a move that was not without its risks given the imminence of the autumnal equinox. This decision was rewarded with three weeks of fine weather during which the grapes greatly benefited from the timely rain and the subsequent dry conditions and moderate temperatures. We could not have hoped for a more balanced and even ripening period.
As a result of the adjustments to the picking plan, each vineyard at Malvedos and Tua was picked at optimal ripeness. The Valdossa vineyard, high above the Malvedos estate house, produced superb grapes from its 30-year-old Touriga Nacional, their maturity delivering wines of outstanding structure and complexity. The highest planted vineyard at the Quinta, the Altos de Malvedos (400 metres/1,300 feet) contributed its Sousão grapes, whose dark skins and acidity brought inky blue/black colour and freshness to the wine. At Graham’s neighbouring Tua property, the old mixed vines from the Muros vineyard, planted over half a century ago on drystone walled terraces, provided exceptional quality and became a natural candidate for inclusion in this vintage. This vineyard yielded an incredibly low 230 grams/vine, contributing remarkable depth and complexity to the wine.
Two quintas owned privately by members of the Symington family, Vila Velha and Vale de Malhadas, contributed small parcels of excellent quality grapes. At Vila Velha, the Vinha da Barca contributed its finest Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca, which were co-fermented to capture the full expression of this west-facing riverside vineyard. At Vale de Malhadas, the production from the barely half a hectare sized Vinha dos Eucaliptos vineyard provided elegant floral aromas from Touriga Franca grapes.
Extremely complex aromas that show the classic Graham character of black-fruit marmalade and burnt oranges. Follows through to a full body with great grip at the finish. Lightly sweet. Chewy and powerful. Such a focus at the end.
This offers a distilled plum and boysenberry essence, with a racy feel, as spearmint and graphite notes drive through. As the finish kicks in, this turns toward the dark side, with ganache, charcoal and tar elements. Has the showy ripeness of the vintage but is backed by a decidedly dry feel on the finish, imparting a sense of precision despite the heft. Best from 2030 through 2055. 6,325 cases made, 3,000 cases imported. –JM
Super-ripe with an expressive plum and dark chocolate aroma. Rich opulence backed by dark chocolate intensity and spicy tannic grip – big and bold on the finish. Voluptuous with fabulous richness, big and bold on the finish. This is one for the long haul but it’s already very impressive.
CELLAR SELECTION - This finely structured wine is powered by fine tannins and rich fruits. A touch of acidity comes through the rich berry flavors and the concentration of the dark tannins. This wine will certainly age, don't drink before 2028.
Tight on the finish, aromatic and very flavorful, this actually opens rather well and shows off its lovely fruit. The Dow's will be approachable a bit earlier, perhaps, and this may reward aging even more. As always, Graham's is wonderfully delicious. That's one hallmark of the house. I'm not sure this is a truly great Graham's, but at the moment, it is enticing, with plenty of potential for improvement.
Once it opens, it’s voluptuous, almost overly sweet at first, but the tart edges of the fruit and the licorice-scented tannins suggest the elegance that will come with time. It grows silky with air, seeming to transfer the sweetness from the fruit to the tannins, which take on a caramelized walnut flavor. A beautiful vintage of Graham’s, this has the integration and depth of flavor to age for decades.