Symington family announce Graham's The Stone Terraces 2021 Vintage Port
2021 Vintage Port
The 2021 growth cycle and harvest were one of the coolest in recent years, with moderate conditions encouraging slower, gradual maturations with balanced ripening. The remarkably cool nights through the harvest contributed to wines with excellent acidity and very good colour.
While reviewing the wines produced from the finest vineyards across our Douro estates in 2021, we were simply astonished by the three-hectare stone terraces at Graham’s Quinta dos Malvedos. These low-yielding vines delivered wines with a deep inky purple colour, pin sharp acidity, and wonderfully fresh scented tropical aromas – characteristic of these unique terraces.
We have taken the very rare decision to bottle the wine from these magnificent vineyards as The Stone Terraces 2021 Vintage Port and release the wine in 2023. This is just the fifth time that our family have made this micro-terroir Vintage Port – following 2011, 2015, 2016 and 2017.
We only produce this Vintage Port when these vineyards deliver wines of incomparable elegance and complexity. Given that the stone terraces are comprised of just a limited number of vines, the quality does not always align with the pattern of classic Vintage Port years – as was our assessment for 2021. We felt that the best expression of the year came from our five principal estates (Malvedos, Bomfim, Senhora da Ribeira, Cavadinha, Canais) which we will bottle as Quinta Vintage Port – and we have decided to release a small quantity of Bomfim in 2023.
The Stone Terraces 2021 Vintage Port
At Graham’s principal estate – Quinta dos Malvedos – there are just under three hectares of hand-built stone terraces that date from the late 18th century. Meticulously reconstructed after being abandoned in the aftermath of phylloxera, these stone terraces were designed to produce ports of exceptional concentration and power, using viticultural techniques that have barely changed for hundreds of years.
While Malvedos is predominantly south-facing, the stone terraces are comprised of two vineyards with cooler aspects – the 'Port Arthur' vineyard has an east and west-facing plot, while the 'Vinha dos Cardenhos' faces north. The schist walls of the stone terraces have a remarkable ability to store the sun’s daytime heat through the night, which creates gradual and homogenous grape ripening. This effect – together with their orientations – are why these vineyards have long been prized for delivering wines with such a distinct profile.
The stone terraces are predominantly planted with mature Touriga Nacional with a few younger plantings of Touriga Franca, Sousão and Alicante Bouschet. In 2021, the grapes from these vines were picked at the same time from September 18th and co-fermented together to enhance complexity, structure, and freshness. The cooler growth cycle and the rainfall at the beginning and middle of the harvest contributed to above-average yields – with the Touriga Nacional producing just over 1kg per vine (10-year average: 880 grams per vine) – delivering wines of extraordinary elegance.
The Stone Terraces 2021 Vintage Port has incredibly fresh and lifted aromas with the hallmark tropical fruit character. The wine is concentrated whilst being supremely refined with polished tannins and taut acidity combining to deliver sublime elegance and balance. This is another extraordinary edition of The Stone Terraces Vintage Port which delights the senses now and will age beautifully for decades.
The Stone Terraces 2021 Vintage Port is a special bottling of only 4,800 75cl bottles and 280 tappit hens (225cl) – this represents just 2% of the total production at Quinta dos Malvedos in 2021.