2016 Graham's Vintage The Stone Terraces Porto

Year: 2016
Appellation: Oporto
Country: Portugal
Wine Advocate: 97+
James Suckling: 96
Fortified Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 20.0%
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"The 2016 The Stone Terraces Vintage Port, from a specific plot, is predominantly Touriga Nacional. It comes in with 110 grams of residual sugar and was bottled about a month before this tasting. Along with the Capela from Vesuvio, this is a candidate both for the best of the Symington stable and the top wine in this vintage. But they are very different.

The Capela has that rich Vesuvio fruit and seems a bit denser and burlier, showing off fine concentration and a lot of serious muscle. The Stone Terraces is more elegant and far more expressive just now, just a bit more open (but hardly ready). Seen twice, once with a lot more aeration, this proved it could become even tighter and more powerful. As elegant as it initially seemed, don't be fooled—there's serious power here to go with the purity of fruit. Intense, impeccably balanced and chock-full of gorgeous fruit, this is pretty brilliant. It should have a long life ahead. At the moment, I'd give this the clear nod over the wonderful 2015, but there may be ups and downs as they both start on their long lives. I like to see wines like this grow in the cellar a little, so let's remain a little conservative in evaluation. I won't be surprised if it merits an uptick in time. There were 4,200 bottles produced.

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 vinous and aromatic with flowers and dark berries. Herbal and tobacco undertones. This is very tight and chewy, showcasing so much grape-skin character character. So phenolic yet not roughly tannic. Unique. Try in 2022." (JS)