2016 Graham's Vintage Porto

Year: 2016
Appellation: Oporto
Country: Portugal
Wine Spectator: 98
Wine Advocate: 95
James Suckling: 99
Wine Enthusiast: 97
Fortified Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 20.0%
Price :
$99.95

"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. From Portugal. -J.M." (WS)

"The 2016 Vintage Port is a blend of 37% Touriga Nacional, 42% Touriga Franca and various others. It comes in with 115 grams of residual sugar. A bit bigger than Dow's this year, this is more intense as well. The better wine of these two benchmarks seems to be this Graham's. 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. There were 6,325 cases produced, plus some bottles in other formats.

Part of the Symington Family houses, Graham's was declared this year, along with everything else. All of them were bottled, although not long in bottle. They are set for release in October 2018.

Charles Symington said that 2016 started off very rainy, followed by a hot and dry summer, but with moderate temperatures. It was fairly apparent it would be a later vintage. In mid-August, some rain helped the maturation. At the beginning of September, there was a wave of hot weather. He said that was a crucial moment when he thought of starting harvest, even though it was not quite perfect, but they waited. Victory goes to the bold. Rain in the second week of September caused them to hold back another week, beginning harvest around 22 September. It was a very late harvest, creating a certain element of risk. Touriga Franca, he said, is particularly susceptible to rain. But there was no rain for the next 30 days, making harvest easy. Charles said that the "blue skies and mild temperatures from the 13th September to the 10th October allowed for the Nacional to be picked in late September and the Franca in early October in perfect conditions with fantastic balance. The freshness coming through in these wines being a defining feature of this vintage."

As we debate the trends in Ports (see, last year's article on the 2015s, "Undeclared and Unashamed"), it's worth noting that my favorites of the Symington group are easily the single-plot Ports—The Stone Terraces and Capela, both are wine-of-the-vintage candidates. Dow's and Graham's did well, but I think the single-plot wines overshadow them rather easily." (WA)

"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." (JS)

"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." (WE)

Winery Notes:
Aromas of ripe plum and gum cistus. Full and rich in the mouth with fresh blackberry and red plum notes. Despite the hallmarked Graham sweetness; the finish is long and clean.