Tag Archives: Graham’s 1890 Lodge

Masters of Wine candidates visit the Douro Valley

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The Institute of Masters of Wine

From the 14th to the 16th of April, Graham’s received 19 students from the Institute of Masters of Wine. The students, of 7 different nationalities, spent time in Porto where they visited several Port lodges before travelling upriver to the quintas of the Douro Valley.

Founded in 1955, the Institute of Masters of Wine is a respected community of wine professionals, and one of the most prestigious wine qualifications in the world. To become a Master of Wine you must undertake an in-depth three-year program of study, followed by practical and written exams, and the completion of a paper based on original research. Because of the difficulty of acquiring the qualification, there are currently only 318 Masters of Wine worldwide, and it was with great pleasure that we received some of the current candidates in Porto.

Arriving on the evening of the 14th, they barely had time to set down their bags before they were on their way to the Vinum restaurant in the Graham’s Lodge for dinner. After being welcomed by Paul Symington, the group settled into a dinner accompanied by Altano, Chryseia 2012, and a tappit hen of Graham’s 1970 Vintage Port.

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Paul Symington and Antonio Agrellos speaking in the Porto Factory House

The next morning the group had an early start, being greeted by Paul Symington, Antonio Agrellos (Noval), and Nick Heath (Taylor’s) at nine o’clock in the morning in the historic Porto Factory House. The hub of the Port trade for more than two centuries, it was in these surroundings that the group tasted a variety of Ports from the different houses before departing to visit several of Vila Nova de Gaia’s Port lodges.

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The wines tasted at the Graham’s Lodge

By two o’clock the group were at the Graham’s Lodge for another tasting, this time led by Dominic Symington. Here they tasted wine from several of Symington Family Estates Port houses, such as Graham’s, Dow’s, Warre’s and Cockburn’s, finishing with a magnificent Graham’s 1955 Vintage. This tasting, which consisted of wines from 2011 to 1955, demonstrated how Vintage Port evolves and matures, and the various stages it passes through in this process. Not a group to stay in one place to long, they then set off for the Douro and Quinta dos Malvedos.

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The group in Quinta dos Malvedos

When the group arrived at the quinta they were greeted by a meal accompanied by Quinta do Vesuvio Douro DOC, followed by Graham’s 1977 Vintage Port, before retiring for the night in preparation for a technical tour of Quinta dos Malvedos and its winery the following morning.

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Charles Symington and Simba

Waking up to a pleasant spring morning in a Douro Valley quinta is not something everyone gets to experience, but so it was that the Master of Wine candidates started their day. Met by Charles Symington (head winemaker), Henry Shotton (Vintage manager), and Charles’ dog Simba, (who as Charles himself says “gets more attention than the wine”), the group were shown around the famous quinta and its lagar winery, seeing first hand what they have been hearing about for the past two days. The visit to Quinta dos Malvedos came to an end with a tasting of five Quinta dos Malvedos Single Vintage Ports from 2009, 1996, 1988, 1979 and 1965. The group then departed for Porto, stopping off at several other Douro quintas along the way.

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Quinta dos Malvedos Single Quinta Vintages

 

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Inspecting vines at Quinta dos Malvedos

It was great to meet the candidates for the distinguished qualification of Master of Wine, and we hope that the information we imparted helps them to reach their goals. We wish them the best of luck in their studies.

 

Vinum Restaurant and Wine Bar – “Portuguese Restaurant with the Best Wine Service”

The award winning Vinum Restaurant and Wine Bar, located in Graham’s historic 1890 Lodge in V. N. de Gaia, has once again been honoured by being named as the “Portuguese Restaurant with the Best Wine Service”. The award, conferred by the Portuguese magazine Wine in their “Best of 2014 Awards”, singled Vinum out from among some of the most prestigious restaurants in the country, further confirming its reputation as one of Portugal’s best.

Opened in 2013 as part of the renovation of the Graham’s 1890 Lodge, the partnership between the Symington family and the Basque restaurateurs Sagardi has been going from strength to strength, already having received several national and international awards and acclaim from both critics and the general public alike.

The year 2013 saw the restaurant granted the title of “Restaurant of the Year” by the magazine Revista de Vinhos, which was followed in 2014 by the attribution of an award for the “Best of Wine Tourism” in the category of wine restaurants by Great Wine Capitals (a network of 10 major cities in the worlds best wine producing regions). This accolade not only secured Vinum’s reputation in the Douro region and Portugal, but also among the greatest wine regions of the world.

A promising start to 2015, the most recent award from Wine magazine has praised Vinum for the quality and selection of the wines on offer, which represent not only the best of Douro DOC and Portuguese wines, but also of Port and international wines from other Primum Familiae Vini (an association of wine producing families) producers.  The food was also commended for being seasonal and variable, with some dishes, like the T-bone steak from 7/8 year old field raised cattle from Trás-os-Montes (a region in northern Portugal), quickly becoming classics.

When combined with the incredible surroundings of the recently renovated Graham’s Lodge, the spectacular views of the Douro and the city of Porto, and the impeccable service and knowledge of the Vinum staff, the restaurant comes highly recommended at any time by Wine magazine’s “Best of 2014” awards.

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Find out more about the award here: www.essenciadovinho.com/pt/revista-wine/read/1107-revista-wine-distinguiu-os-melhores-do-ano

Vinum website: www.vinumatgrahams.com/

Vinum website: http://www.vinumatgrahams.com/

Graham’s 1890 Lodge internationally recognised

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The Vintage Wine Cellars in Graham’s 1890 Lodge

W & J Graham’s 1890 Lodge has once again received international accolades, this time from the “Great Wine Capitals”, a network of ten major cities around the world which aims to promote travel, education, and business exchanges between the most prestigious wine regions in the world. The Graham’s Lodge was awarded the “Best of Wine Tourism 2015” in the category of “Wine Tourism Services” for outstanding offerings in the fields of service, innovation, creativity and authenticity.

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The Shop in Graham’s 1890 Lodge

Coupled to that, the well known Spanish wine enthusiasts website, Vinopack.es has listed Graham’s Lodge shop as one of the twelve most spectacular in the world. The list, featuring architecturally diverse spaces from around the world specifically praises the historic lodge, whose renovation was overseen by the architect Luis Loureiro and designer Nuno Gusmão. Their work has been recognised for its minimalist style which has successfully transformed the historic building without losing the authenticity or uniqueness of the space.

Also mentioned in the list are the flagship of the Société des alcools du Québec in Montreal, Vintage Fine Wines of Manhattan, New York, and Altaya Wine’s “Etc” in Hong Kong. It is an honour to see Vila Nova de Gaia among the names of some of the world’s greatest cities.

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Graham’s 1890 Lodge Museum

The lodge is going from strength to strength since opening its doors only two years ago, also receiving a “Certificate of Excellence” from “Trip Advisor” for consistent excellent reviews from local and international visitors.

The news of the award from “Great Wine Capitals” comes only a year after the restaurant and wine bar Vinum, located in the heart of the Graham’s lodge, was awarded the “Best of Wine Tourism 2014” in the “Wine Restaurants” category. Vinum has also been voted the “restaurant revelation” of the year in the “best of 2014” by the readers of the highly influential Portuguese food blog, “Flavors & Senses”, and was distinguished by one of Portugal’s leading wine magazines, “Revista de Vinhos”, in the restaurant category of its “best of 2013”.

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Vinum – Restaurant and Wine Bar at the Graham’s 1890 Lodge

A special mention must be made of the multi-national team of expert guides without whom this award would not have been possible. In constant training with both our viticulture team in the Graham’s quintas and our wine makers, the staff have first hand knowledge of all aspects of port. Our team is currently comprised of 11 different nationalities: Portuguese, English, Spanish, Italian, French, Russian, Polish, Ukrainian, Danish, German, and Dutch.

The Vintage Room at the Graham’s 1890 Lodge

The “Best of Wine Tourism” awards are internationally renowned as a celebration of excellence and innovation in worldwide wine tourism. And so it is with great pride that Graham’s receives these honours, as they bear witness to the hard work and effort put into the W & J Graham’s 1890 Lodge since its refurbishment.

The Vinopack.es list can be found in full at: http://www.vinopack.es/las-12-tiendas-de-vinos-mas-espectaculares-del-mundo

Riedel glass tasting at Graham’s Lodge

Georg Riedel, the 10th generation of crystal glass makers in his family, held a unique tasting at Graham’s Lodge last week revealing how the shape of the wineglass influences the flavours and aromas of the wine.

The tasting showcased Riedel’s innovative Grape Varietal Specific range of glasses and was hosted at the Lodge by Portfolio Vinhos, distributors of Graham’s Port and Riedel’s glassware in Portugal.

By guiding participants through a tasting of three grape varieties, Touriga Nacional, Cabernet and Pinot Noir, Georg Riedel illustrated the crucial role that the glass plays in showing the wine at its best.

The reason for this is that the aromas of the wine are conveyed differently depending on the design of the glass and the size of its aperture: different varieties express themselves best in glasses of different shapes. Georg Riedel illustrated this by leading a tasting of the wines first in the same plastic mug, in which their characteristics were dulled and their individual expressiveness reduced. When in the glass specifically designed for them, however, each wine sang strongly and in its own unique way.

Likewise, the size of the aperture determines exactly where on the palate the wine is directed. The human palate has specific areas for sensing each of the principle components of taste. The right glass allows the natural balance of the wine’s flavours to be properly felt.

Georg Riedel held another tasting with us in Portugal a couple of years ago in a quest to discover the perfect glass to drink Vintage Port from.

Do you have any thoughts? Send us a comment.

Paul Symington named Wine Personality of the Year

Paul Symington was humbled and honoured to receive Wine Magazine’s Wine Personality of the Year award on behalf of the Symington family on Friday night.  This award, from one of Portugal’s leading wine publications, was made in recognition of the continued commitment and investment that the family company, Symington Family Estates, has made in the Douro region and in Port Wine over the last few years.

The awards ceremony was held in the Porto suburb of Foz, where the Douro River flows into the Atlantic Ocean, having run its course through the whole latitude of Portugal and beyond into Spain. It is here that the two places that in Port Wine’s lifecycle converge. Port is born in the Douro Valley, where the grapes are grown, and then in Vila Nova de Gaia, across the river from Foz and Porto, the young Port Wine matures and is bottled.

It was therefore fitting that this should be the setting for this event.  The Port Wine man Paul Symington, whose ancestors have been ambassadors for Port and the Douro for over a century, is very much rooted in this place and by this river. And it is always the Douro and the people in the vineyards that he celebrates.

The Symington family has remained unwaveringly committed to the Douro region throughout the difficult economic times in Portugal. 2013 saw the family initiate a number of significant projects to raise the profile of the Douro, a region whose economy is almost completely focused on Port and wine.

The renovation of the Graham’s 1890 Lodge and Vinum Restaurant & Wine Bar in Vila Nova de Gaia at the beginning of the year put Port and of the Douro in the limelight once again, adding to the world class wine and gastronomic experiences on offer in Porto. This was followed by the declaration of the fine 2011 Vintage Ports, which it seems likely will evolve to be monumental wines.

The Symington family is also building a state of the art visitors centre in the Douro town of Pinhão, next to the family’s Quinta do Bomfim. Easily accessible by train and road, this will give visitors the opportunity to visit the beautiful Douro Valley, to taste wines in the family’s vineyards and to understand firsthand what Port is all about. This, along with the family’s other Douro projects, exemplifies unrivalled commitment to the Douro region, its people and its economy.

Paul was described as passionate about the Douro, about Port and about Portugal; both the Portuguese and the British claim him as their own. This is true not just of Paul but of the whole Symington family: a family that has lived and breathed the Douro and Port for many generations.

A Port For a Prince

Each individually numbered bottle comes in a very attractive presentation box.
Each individually numbered bottle comes in an attractive hand-crafted presentation box.

Graham’s Commemorative Bottling to Celebrate the Birth of HRH Prince George of Cambridge.

To mark the birth of HRH Prince George, the Symington family has decided to bottle a special commemorative edition of Graham’s Single Harvest Tawny Port from 1982, the year the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were born. To have selected a remarkable Tawny Port from the birth year of the parents to toast the birth of their first child makes this celebratory edition incomparable.

Prince George was born on 22nd July 2013 and is third in line to succeed his great grandmother Queen Elizabeth II, after his grandfather Prince Charles and his father Prince William. It is the first time, since the reign of Queen Victoria over a century ago that three generations of heirs to the throne are alive at the same time.

Graham's 1982 Commemorative Port, available in Jeroboams (4.5 litre bottles) with an oak box and in 75cl bottles.
Graham’s 1982 Commemorative Port, available in Jeroboams (4.5 litre bottles) with an oak box and in 75cl bottles.

For three decades, this very fine Port has been gently ageing in seasoned oak casks under the watchful eye of the Symington family, owners of this long established Port House. Two generations of Symington winemakers have followed the wine’s progress in the original Graham’s 1890 Lodge, on its long journey towards perfect maturity. Charles Symington, head taster and winemaker, has selected just 6 pipes (a little over 4,000 bottles) for this limited edition release. Each bottle is individually numbered.

In recent years Graham’s has released various exceptional Aged Tawnies, amongst them the 1961 and 1969 Single Harvest Ports, as well as the Graham’s 1952 Diamond Jubilee Port, which was bottled to commemorate Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

Jeroboam Nº1 will be auctioned at a fund raising dinner in Graham's Vinum Restaurant on November 21st.
Jeroboam Nº1 will be auctioned at a fund raising dinner in Graham’s Vinum Restaurant on November 21st.

In the UK, Graham’s 1982 Single Harvest Tawny Port will be available from Berry Bros. & Rudd, Fortnum & Mason and Hedonism Wines, amongst others. In Portugal too, the Port will be available from leading fine wine merchants as well as at Graham’s own 1890 Lodge shop. The Port will be on the wine list of one of London’s most exclusive Hotels and Restaurants — The Goring, where the Duchess of Cambridge stayed the day before her marriage to Prince William. In Portugal it will feature on the wine list of Graham’s Vinum Restaurant, which opened earlier this year and is already highly regarded as one of Porto’s finest restaurants.

In aid of a good cause: a contribution from the proceeds of the sale of this limited edition Tawny Port will be donated to a children’s charity based in the Douro region where this wine was produced. We have selected Bagos d’Ouro, a charity that helps underprivileged children and young people in the region, namely by supporting their education. A fund raising dinner will be held at Graham’s Vinum restaurant on November 21st during which Jeroboam bottle Nº1 and 3 x 75cl bottles (in a special oak case) of the Graham’s 1982 will be auctioned.

LogoBOPort has always been a wine associated with celebration and longevity, given its ability to age over long periods. W & J Graham & Co invites you to raise a glass of this superb 1982 to salute the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s firstborn child.

Tasting Note, Graham’s 1982 Tawny Port

Graham's Vinum Restaurant where a fund raising event will be held in support of a Douro charity: Bagos d'Ouro
Graham’s Vinum Restaurant where a fund raising event will be held in support of a Douro charity: Bagos d’Ouro

The Port is beautifully aromatic with notes of vanilla, soft butterscotch and quince, combined with exotic spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. The palate is velvet-smooth with highly polished definition and elegance. Hints of honey, raisins and caramel show through, perfectly balanced by a backbone of orange zest with silky tannins.