Amidst growing concerns over climate change worldwide, the Douro has seen its fair share of unusual weather patterns in recent years. 2017 in particular was an exceptionally hot and dry year, with 42% less rain falling at Quinta dos Malvedos than the recorded thirty year average. Fortunately, the very hardy and drought resistant Douro varieties were well prepared to face this challenge and responded to the lack of water by devoting their efforts on producing a small but high quality crop with extraordinary concentration.
What was also remarkable in 2017 was the timing of the vintage, which started at Malvedos on 28th August, with the vines between two and three weeks ahead of normal in terms of their vegetative cycle. With such a small crop, only 166 pipes of grapes compared to 252 the year before at Malvedos (one third less), the vintage was over by September 15th. Charles Symington noted at the time that we finished up on the same date that we would have been starting in a more typical year.
Also of note in 2017 was the early ripening of the Touriga Franca, typically the last variety to be picked, which came into the winery almost a full three weeks ahead of normal, with a staggeringly low average yield of 650 grams per vine. Similar conditions were recorded at Vale de Malhadas in the Douro Superior and at Vila Velha and Tua in the Cima Corgo each of which supplied wines for the 2017 Graham’s Vintage Port. The quality of the Touriga Franca was so good that Charles increased its proportion in the final 2017 blend, relative to the two preceding Graham Vintages. The performance of the Touriga Franca is one of the surest barometers of a Vintage Port year.
Only 5,250 nine litre cases were bottled.
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, mouth watering finish. Wonderful purity and definition. A real wow of a wine!
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.
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.
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.
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. 5,250 cases. Try after 2026.
This has the plump sweetness of a Graham’s vintage, teeming with black fruit and saturated with tannins as chewy as the thick black skins of blueberries. Underneath the smoky oak tannins, there’s a gentle rose scent that hints at the wine’s development ahead.