GRAHAM’S QUINTA DOS MALVEDOS 2004 VINTAGE PORT
DECANTER’S MOST EXCITING WINES OF 2016
A Decanter Magazine panel of judges tasted blind 195 wines, nominated from a selection of wines from around the world assessed over the last 12 months, and compiled a list of the 75 best wines tasted in 2016. This year, Decanter paid “particular attention to wines with ‘wow factor’”. Sarah Jane Evans MW stated: ‘we were looking for the most complete wines, the most individual, fascinating and the most genuinely enjoyable. They did not have to be classically perfect wines, just memorable.’
Graham’s Quinta dos Malvedos 2004 Vintage Port was one of those memorable wines; one of just two Ports included in the ranking of the most exciting wines of 2016. This Malvedos 2004 Vintage Port had previously been awarded a Gold Medal and the REGIONAL TROPHY at the 2013 Decanter World Wine Awards. More recently, in May 2016, the International Wine Challenge also recognized the exceptional qualities of the Quinta dos Malvedos 2004 Vintage Port awarding it a Gold Medal and VINTAGE PORT TROPHY for the second year running — a remarkable achievement.
Over the last two decades Graham’s Quinta dos Malvedos Vintage Ports have garnered an impressive tally of ratings and awards. In the three leading UK Wine Competitions: International Wine Challenge; International Wine & Spirit Competition; Decanter World Wine Awards, Quinta dos Malvedos Vintage Ports have been awarded no less than 19 Gold Medals and 3 Trophies. 25 years ago the Quinta dos Malvedos 1988 Vintage Port became the first ever wine from Portugal ranked in Wine Spectator magazine’s annual TOP 100 ranking. No other Quinta Vintage Port comes close to this record. The world’s leading wine critics and wine competitions are in no doubt as to which is the finest Quinta Vintage Port.
This was the year to really know your vineyard in the Douro; each location and each variety developed at its own individual rhythm and winemakers had to be constantly in the vineyards. Deciding to harvest on a hunch or following fashion was definitely not a good idea in this special year. Intimate knowledge of the vineyards combined with patience has delivered the just reward of some beautiful Ports and Douro wines.
“The weather throughout the vintage has been exceptionally good and this has allowed for maturations to develop perfectly. We have been able to decide when to pick without the concern of the weather changing, having stopped the vintage at different properties to allow for ideal ripening to be achieved when necessary. The lagares have been giving balanced Baumés and exceptional colour and the Touriga Franca may well be the best wine of the vintage. The wines have wonderful freshness and elegance as well as structure.”
Leading wine journalist Jancis Robinson wrote about the recent upturn in tourism in both Porto and the Douro region last week in the Financial Times.
You can read a version of the article (free to access) on her blog, jancisrobinson.com.
On a sunny morning this week a young peregrine falcon, nursed back to health by the Wildlife Rescue Centre of the University at Vila Real, was returned to the wild at Quinta dos Canais in the Douro. Canais is one of the Symington family’s remotest vineyards and is home to a rich variety of wildlife and was therefore a natural choice for the falcon’s release.
Injured during its first migratory flight from the British Isles to southern Europe in December 2015, the young falcon was treated at the University’s Veterinary Hospital, and over the last 7 months it has made a full recovery. Originally marked by the West Cornwall Ringing Group in the UK in November 2015, the bird’s provenance was clear.
The Symington family have supported the University’s Wildlife Rescue Centre since 2011 and several species of birds of prey have been freed at different family vineyards in the Douro over recent years. Conditions for the release at Quinta dos Canais were perfect, the high temperatures (30ºC) generating the thermals that help birds gain altitude rapidly. Just before it took to the freedom of the skies the falcon was aptly named ‘Canais’.
Quinta dos Canais, June 22nd 2016
In its 33rd year, the International Wine Challenge, widely recognised as one of the world's finest and most meticulously judged wine competitions, has awarded the Graham’s 2004 Quinta dos Malvedos Vintage Port a TROPHY for the second year running.
The international expert panel of judges assesses every wine blind and judges each “for its faithfulness to style, region and vintage.” Throughout the rigorous judging processes, each medal-winning wine is tasted on three separate occasions by at least 10 different judges. To win one of the coveted TROPHIES, gold medal winning wines from each category progress to a second round where the judges will select just one wine, which is then emerges as the holder of the TROPHY.
This was yet another very successful year for Graham’s, clinching a total of four gold medals; besides the 2004 Quinta dos Malvedos Vintage Port, the Graham’s 1983 Vintage Port, the 40 Year Old Tawny and the 1972 Single Harvest Tawny also won gold.
On Wednesday, March 30th 2016, four members of the Symington family, together with their friends at Berrys, launched Graham’s 90 Very Old Tawny Port, a limited edition of 500 bottles to mark Her Majesty the Queen’s forthcoming 90th birthday. Paul, Johnny, Rupert and Charlotte Symington presented the special commemorative Port to a group of leading UK wine writers and journalists, as well as two of Portugal’s key wine writers. The Portuguese Ambassador to the United Kingdom, João de Vallera, was also invited. The unveiling was hosted by Berry Brothers & Rudd at their historic St. James’s Street premises in London.
Paul guided the guests through a fascinating journey back in time, tasting the venerable old cask-matured wines which make up the Graham’s 90. He took with him from Portugal the original vintage records for those years, written in the hand of his great grandfather Andrew James Symington. Paul read the entry for the 1935 harvest, in which one of the component wines for the Graham’s 90 was made. ‘AJS’ describes the quality of the year and alludes to the reigning monarch of the day, King George V (the Queen’s grandfather): “I am inclined to think that the quality and good colour inspires hope that the 1935 may prove good enough to make a Jubilee Vintage – quantity is less than last year - but quality appears to be better.”
Johnny went on to explain that Port has long been used to toast royal and historic occasions by every conceivable British institution for centuries and this seemed an entirely appropriate association. The challenge was to create something very special to pay a fitting tribute to the Queen’s dedicated lifetime of service to the nation. Perhaps nobody more than the Queen has been of such importance for Port’s standing worldwide; the fact that Port has been served at every state occasion at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle during her long reign has helped to project Port as one the world’s premier classic wines.
This rare Port became available in the UK exclusively through Berry Bros. & Rudd as of March 30th 2016 and is priced at £700 per bottle. For each bottle sold, a Graham’s will make a contribution to the Patron’s Fund, which supports a collection of UK and Commonwealth charities of which Her Majesty is the patron. Within the first 24 hours of the presentation, 108 bottles had already been sold. A very restricted number of bottles will be available for sale in Portugal, some of which at the Graham’s 1890 Lodge.
Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann At Quinta do Bomfim
German carmaker, Opel, chose Quinta do Bomfim as the venue for the international presentation of its new Astra Sports Tourer model, Car of The Year 2016. From March 10th to March 24th over 700 journalists from all over the world will be at Quinta do Bomfim from where they will drive Opel’s new model along the Douro’s beautiful mountain roads.
The Drinks International magazine has conducted its 6th annual survey of the World’s 50 Most Admired Wine Brands. The jury consists of over 200 leading figures in the wine sector, masters of wine, sommeliers and journalists.
The 2016 survey has nominated Graham’s as the World’s Most Admired Port Brand and the 14th Most Admired Wine Brand in the world.
Dow’s Port, also owned and managed by the Symington family, was placed 31 in the World’s 50 Most Admired Wine Brands.
Other wines in the World’s 50 Most Admired Port Brand include Vega Sicilia, Penfolds, Château d’Yquem, Château Margaux, Guigal, Château Latour, Cloudy Bay, Mateus and Cheval Blanc.
The Symington family said; ‘We are very proud to have earned this prominent position amongst the best wines in the world. This wonderful endorsement is the result of generations of work in our Douro vineyards and in our caves in Vila Nova de Gaia, as well as to the loyalty and the great skill of the people who work with us in our project of excellence.’
On Saturday, February 13th, Symington Family Estates presented a new ambulance to the Vila Flor Volunteer Fire Brigade in recognition of the vital services they offer to the local community in this rural area of the Upper Douro Valley. Since 2007 this is the ninth ambulance donated by the Symington family to fire services in the Douro region.
The family employ close to 500 people, 40% of whom live and work in the Douro. In the vicinity of Vila Flor, the family owns Quinta do Ataide, which has the largest area of vineyard under organic viticulture in Portugal (80 hectares) and, besides wine, also produces organic olive oil.
With this donation, the Symington family have presented a total of nine ambulances to as many fire brigades in the region over the last decade: Pinhão (2007), São João da Pesqueira (2009), Provesende (2010), Carrazeda de Ansiães (2011), Lamego (2012), Régua (2013), Vila Nova de Foz-Côa (2014), Tabuaço (2015) and now, Vila Flor.
Photo credits: Jornal de Notícias
On Friday February 12th, in the annual ‘Revista de Vinhos’ (Portugal’s leading wine publication) gala ceremony, ‘The Best of The Year 2015’, Symington Family Estates received the following awards:
Excellence Awards: 2 (from a total of just 30 awarded to all Portuguese wines)
The Finest of The Year: 4 (192 awarded)
Good buys – excelent value
It is very rewarding to have, once again side by side, a Port and a Douro wine produced by the company recognised with awards of this calibre. Each year, just 30 ‘Excellence Awards’ are presented to the whole Portuguese wine trade. Also worthy of note is the fact that the entire Altano DOC Douro range obtained ‘Good buy’ seals.
Symington Family Estates is proud to announce that Charles Symington was made ‘Winemaker of The Year’ by the highly respected Portuguese wine magazine, Wine - Essencia do Vinho on Friday 29th January 2016.
Charles was chosen amongst nominees from several Portuguese wine regions and when announcing the winner, Wine referred to him as “One of the most brilliant winemakers of this generation.”
This accolade is testament to Charles’s work over two decades, which have seen the family build on the strong legacy bequeathed by its ancestors. Charles joined the company in 1995 and went on to succeed his father, Peter, as taster and winemaker for the family’s Port Houses, as well as being the head winemaker for the family’s Douro DOC wines which are increasingly earning recognition around the world.
This is a landmark achievement for the Symington family, for the Douro and for Portugal. Particularly remarkable is the fact that two wines made by the same family in the same region (one fortified, one still) were ranked in the first three places.
On announcing this coveted accolade, Revista de Vinhos, Portugal’s leading wine publication, highlighted the company’s premium Ports, which “ shone brilliantly and intensely throughout 2014.”
They gave as examples the Graham’s Ne Oublie (a Symington family heirloom), and the Quinta do Vesuvio and Quinta da Senhora da Ribeira 2012 Vintage Ports. Revista de Vinhos stated though that the icing on the cake was the announcement in November by the influential US Wine Spectator that Dow’s 2011 Vintage Port was its Wine of The Year, ranked Nº1 in its annual TOP 100 listing which has global resonance. Chryseia, the Douro DOC red made by the Symingtons with the Prats family was ranked 3 rd.