Tag Archives: Tawny Port

Graham’s Prince George charity dinner

The wild Douro Valley, where Graham’s vineyards thrive, is home to thousands of people who eke out a living in this harsh environment. For hundreds of years, the people of the Douro have been integral to the creation of the Port wine that has made this region famous. But life in such a remote environment can also bring with it deprivation and hardship.

The Douro and Trás-os-Montes region is amongst the poorest in Europe. With their roots deeply established in this region, this is a concern that strikes very close to home for the Symington Family.

Vinum

This was the backdrop for the fundraising dinner held by the family company, Symington Family Estates, at Vinum Restaurant & Wine Bar located in the spectacular surroundings of Graham’s 1890 Lodge in Vila Nova de Gaia.

From Portugal with love

When the Family bottled the Graham’s 1982 Single Harvest Tawny (‘Colheita’ in Portuguese) in honour of the birth of His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge they pledged to donate a proportion of the sales of this commemorative Port to the Douro charity Associação Bagos d’Ouro. In addition to this the dinner and auction held on the evening of Thursday 21st November raised another significant sum to be donated to this admirable charity.

Bagos d'Ouro

The Symington Family’s pledge to support the work of this charity was given encouragement by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge saying it was “in keeping with Their Royal Highnesses’ wishes”.

Graham's 1982 Dinner in honour of Prince George of Cambridge

The President of Bagos d’Ouro Luísa Amorim made a moving speech during the evening. She drew on the special relationship between The United Kingdom and Portugal, the longest standing alliance in history, as a force for future good in both countries. The dedication of this wine born in the Douro Valley in 1982 to the young Prince born in London this year was felt by all to be a fitting symbol of this ongoing collaboration, following on from the 1952 Tawny Port bottled last year to honour the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

‘Berries of Gold’

“The Douro is a name synonymous with the supreme quality of excellent wines,” said Luísa on Thursday, “but it is also a very poor region.”

Her organization Bagos d’Ouro works with disadvantaged children in the Douro and Trás-os-Montes region to improve the quality of education and in so doing improve the opportunities and prospects of young people growing up there. Their vision, beautifully expressed in a Portuguese proverb, is that “the seeds of today will become the berries of gold of tomorrow”; and the charity’s name translates into English as, ‘Berries of Gold’.

Bagos d’Ouro’s vision is aligned with the Symington Family’s, whose commitment to the Douro region and its people goes back generations. While Port wine is the traditional drink served to toast Royalty and Heads of State, as well as to honour the birth of children.

Lot Nº1: the nº1 Jeroboam of Graham's 1982 Tawny Port.
Lot Nº1: the nº1 Jeroboam of Graham’s 1982 Tawny Port.

Dinner and auction

The wines served at Vinum Restaurant on Thursday were testament to the importance of the Douro region for wine-lovers, all of them coming from the Symington Family’s vineyards in the Douro Valley. Likewise the food highlighted the culinary wealth that the Trás-os-Montes region has to offer the world.

But the highlight of the evening was the result of the fundraising auction. The two lots were a 4.5 litre Jeroboam and three 75cl bottles in a wooden display case of Graham’s 1982 Tawny Port.

Lot Nº2: a three-bottle gift case of Graham's 1982 Tawny Port.
Lot Nº2: a three-bottle gift case of Graham’s 1982 Tawny Port.

The Jeroboam was eventually sold for €2550 and the three-bottle case for €1700, which was significantly more than the family had hoped for. The sale of tickets for the dinner raised an additional €2100. All combined and including the €6350 raised through sales of the 1982 Tawny Port the total donation made by Symington Family Estates to Bagos d’Ouro was €12 700.

The evening concluded by raising a toast of the 1982 Tawny Port as the Jeroboams circulated.
The evening concluded by raising a toast of the 1982 Tawny Port as the Jeroboams circulated.

There was no more fitting way to end the evening than to raise a toast to the President of Portugal, the Queen of The United Kingdom and His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge. And of course, the Vinum staff, whose efforts made the evening so magnificent, circulated in the room to charge the glasses before they were raised from two Jeroboams of this very special 1982 Tawny Port.

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.

Graham’s Ports Leave Their Mark in Memorable Tasting

10th EDITION OF ESSÊNCIA DO VINHO ‘ ESSENCE OF WINE’ FESTIVAL

The Essência do Vinho, now in its tenth edition, is the principal wine event held annually in northern Portugal, and generates ever increasing interest not just from the trade — wine professionals, sommeliers and restaurateurs — but also from consumers (Portuguese and foreign) as well as journalists from Portugal and from farther afield. The organizers prepared a very comprehensive and interesting programme for the 2013 edition, featuring a number of tutored tastings, which revolve around varied themes, involving both Portuguese wines and wines from other countries. More than 20,000 visitors are expected over the four-day event (7th – 10th February).

Porto's old stock exchange, the venue for the 10th edition of "Essência do Vinho."
Porto’s old stock exchange, the venue for the 10th edition of “Essência do Vinho.”

The venue is the magnificent old Stock Exchange building in Porto (the Palácio da Bolsa) and under its covered, lofty courtyard, 350 wine producers are showing visitors over 3000 different wines. This has always proven one of the reasons for the event’s great popularity: the fact consumers, and wine enthusiasts generally, can discuss their favourite wines directly with the producers and winemakers themselves. The atmosphere is very relaxed and very rewarding for the scope it allows visitors in tasting wines from Portugal’s varied and rich wine heritage, ranging from the country’s great fortified wines (Port and Madeira) to the up-and-coming dry wines from the Douro, Alentejo and the Dão, as well as those from other less well known regions.

The covered courtyard where exhibitors show their wines.
The covered courtyard where exhibitors show their wines.

One of the themed tastings that has generated greatest interest over the last few days has been Symington Family Estates’s ‘Voyage in Time: 3 Centuries – 10 Wines’ — a tutored tasting hosted by Paul Symington on Saturday, February 9th. Indeed as soon as it was announced, it was almost immediately sold out and the organizers approached the family asking if it were possible to accommodate more people (from the original starting figure of 25). This isn’t quite as simple as it sounds, because when you’ve only got a few dozen bottles of the legendary Graham’s 1948 left in your private family cellar, it isn’t a mute point!  In the end, a few additional people were accommodated and they were very grateful that they managed a place because the tasting proved to be indeed memorable.

IMG_1228
Manuel Rocha (left), fourth generation blender at Graham’s and Henry Shotton (our winemaker at Quinta dos Malvedos) comment the 1948 Graham’s they have just decanted

Of the 10 Ports tasted, Graham’s provided the main offering, showing 5 wines; the 1948, 1963 and 1970 Vintages, as well as the 1952 (‘Diamond Jubilee’) and 1935 Colheita, or Single Harvest Tawnies. Landmark Vintage Ports from the family’s three other Port marques (Cockburn, Dow and Warre) were also present and the tasting culminated on a very high note with the unprecedented opportunity of sampling a treasured family heirloom, a very old family reserve (cask-matured) Port dating from the late 19th century. The tasting was held in the ‘Arab Salon’ — an exquisitely decorated chamber of the old stock exchange well known as a venue for ceremonial events.

The tasting gets off to a start in the magnificent 'Arab Salon' of the stock exchange
The tasting gets off to a start in the magnificent ‘Arab Salon’ of the stock exchange

The first Graham’s wine shown was the 1970, heralded as one of the finest Vintage Ports of the second half of the twentieth century. Paul commented to the captive audience of tasters that, in his opinion, this is indeed one of the finest 3 or 4 Vintages of the last half-century. The 1970 holds a particular significance for Paul and his family as it was the first Graham’s Vintage made by them, shortly after acquiring the famous Port house. Paul’s father and his cousins, who made the wine, couldn’t have wished for a more auspicious start. One could say this Port is 43 years young, such is the evident capacity of this impressive wine to carry on developing still further (years? decades?). But if you are fortunate enough to have this gorgeous wine in your cellar, why wait any longer to enjoy it?? It is drinking magnificently well right now.

Paul Symington enthuses the virtues of the legendary Graham's 1948
Paul Symington enthuses the virtues of the legendary Graham’s 1948

The next wine sampled was the 1963, and once again one could be forgiven for heaping superlatives on this half-century old Port. As Paul pointed out — just how many of the world’s fine wines can reach 50 years of age and still show such balance, complexity, sheer completeness? The 1963 was a landmark Vintage; it marked a turnaround in Port’s fortunes following the post world war II era when sales of Port took a long time to recover.

Only two bottles of the 1948 were made available by the family for this tasting.
Only two bottles of the 1948 were made available by the family for this tasting.

The legendary Graham’s 1948 was next and it proved one of the several high points of the tasting. As Paul remarked, “this is a wine that commands respect and admiration”. The wine showed an ethereal quality, with hints of mint, cinnamon and nuances of coffee (a distinctive hallmark of the 1948). A superbly refined wine with ripple after ripple of flavours and sensations, culminating with an endless, persistent aftertaste. Recovering from flu, Paul told the audience that he was feeling much better for sampling all these superb wines — the very best medicine he could take for a speedy recovery! This is a wine that deserves to be enjoyed on its own, without any unnecessary distractions.

Following this majestic trio of Vintages, Paul guided the gathered tasters through the other great interpretation of the art of Port: the cask-matured wines. The exquisitely elegant and charming Graham’s 1952 Diamond Jubilee surprised the tasters with its vitality and freshness, belying its 60 years of age. The subtlety of the 1935 enchanted all those present, but the best was kept till last: the family reserve dating from the late 19th century. The concentration and complexity of this exceptional wine left everyone spellbound by its sheer intensity and presence. Layer upon layer of flavours teased the assembled palates, leaving everybody enchanted. The aftertaste will linger for a long time in the memory of those who were privileged to take part in this tasting.

To learn more about all the Vintage Ports shown at this tasting, read  the blog on The Vintage Port Site.

The trio of Graham's Vintage Ports tasted; they provided the tasters with a memorable experience.
The trio of Graham’s Vintage Ports tasted; they provided the tasters with a memorable experience.

Which Port Did Johnny Symington Enjoy This Christmas?

Johnny Symington at the launch of the Graham's 1952 Diamond Jubilee Port earlier this year
Johnny Symington at the launch of the Graham’s 1952 Diamond Jubilee Port earlier this year

Just before Christmas our Vintage Port Site blogger asked the Symingtons and colleagues around the office what Ports they would be enjoying with their holiday feasts.

We only heard from Johnny Symington the morning after Christmas, but wanted to share his story with you:

Sorry not to reply earlier, I only decided on Christmas eve.

Having had a Pre launch taster of the Graham’s 1952 at last years Christmas lunch (before it was the Graham’s 1952 Diamond Jubilee Port and before it was approved by the palace and served at the Sovereign Heads Lunch at Windsor Castle). I decided on Christmas Eve this year that I would finish the Diamond Jubilee year with the same wine and celebrate and reflect on the outstanding PR success  that this wine has had for Graham’s.

The Graham's 1952 Diamond Jubilee Port
The Graham’s 1952 Diamond Jubilee Port

So as I sipped and reflected at our Christmas Dinner this year the overwhelming thought was “no wonder it was such a success, the wine is so delicious and over delivers in every respect”.

As we go into 2013 this wine becomes a collectors’ item of great rarity and significance.

You can read more about which Ports we enjoyed during our holiday festivities on The Vintage Port Site blog.

How about you? What Ports have you enjoyed this holiday season, or are looking forward to in the coming week?  We would love to hear from you!

Graham’s Busy Autumn in The Far East

Hong Kong Kee Club: Graham’s Ports featured in a very enjoyable Port and Food Pairing party held on October 26th at Hong Kong’s exclusive Kee Club.  The well attended party attracted over 100 VIP guests, keen to take part in this, the third edition of the popular event held jointly by Graham’s and Taylor’s. The evening was hosted by Graham’s Euan Mackay and Jorge Nunes, supported by Howard Palmes from Fine Vintage Ltd — Graham’s distributor in Hong Kong. Nicholas Heath from Taylor’s was also present.

Euan Mackay pours Graham's 20 Years Tawny from a Jeroboam (4.5 litre) bottle
Euan Mackay pours Graham’s 20 Years Tawny from a Jeroboam (4.5 litre) bottle

A variety of food pairings were offered to match a selection of Ports from the Graham’s range, and these included: Graham’s Late Bottled Vintage 2006 with Francesca Hazelnuts covered in dark chocolate; Graham’s 20 Year Old Tawny served from a unique 4.5 litre ‘Jeroboam’ bottle with Foie Gras; Graham’s 20 Year Old Tawny jelly on a chocolate biscuit and Graham’s 1980 Vintage Port with Venison Patties. For more in-depth information on Graham’s superb 1980 Vintage Port, please visit The Vintage Port Site.

Graham's Aged Tawny Ports  make wonderful food matches.
Graham’s Aged Tawny Ports make wonderful food matches.

The thrilled guests were left fully converted to the exquisite symbiosis that can be achieved between a great variety of foods and the wide-ranging styles of Port, which make it one of the most versatile of wines. Some Ports lend themselves more to the aperitif occasion, whilst others are better suited to enjoyment as after-dinner wines. The various serving opportunities also define the appropriate temperatures at which specific styles of Port should ideally be served. The enjoyment of aged tawny Ports, in particular, may be greatly enhanced by serving them lightly chilled.

A prize draw was held and the lucky winner took home a bottle of the superb Graham’s 1969 Single Harvest Tawny Port.

Euan Mackay presents a bottle of Graham's 1969 Single Harvest Port to the satisfied winner of the prize draw.
Euan Mackay presents a bottle of Graham’s 1969 Single Harvest Port to the satisfied winner of the prize draw.

Tainan, Taiwan, November 2nd: Jorge Nunes, Graham’s Asia Pacific Market Manager, stayed in party mode, flying off to Taiwan just a few days after the Hong Kong event in order to host a wine dinner in the historic city of Tainan (the ancient capital of the country). This Altano – Graham’s dinner was jointly organized by our importer, St Finesse and by our local distributor, Bacchus. The dinner showcased the Symington family’s Douro Altano still wines, as well as their best-known Ports from Graham’s.

Jorge Nunes, Asia Pacific Market Manager for Graham's (centre) at the restaurant in Tainan.
Jorge Nunes, centre, at the restaurant in Tainan. On his left is Sonia from Bacchus, the distributor in Tainan.

Tainan proved an inspired venue for this most entertaining wine dinner. It is the oldest city on the island and proudly regards itself as the birthplace of Taiwan. The city boasts a rich cultural heritage, including rich culinary traditions, which make it stand out in the country as a centre of fine cuisine. The Taiwanese themselves admire the city for its charm, and its friendly inhabitants who are very welcoming to outsiders, including an increasing number of foreign visitors.

Jorge Nunes, Graham's Asia Pacific Market Manager. To his right, Dave Huang, President of our Taiwan importer: St Finesse.
Jorge Nunes, Graham’s Asia Pacific Market Manager. To his right, Dave Huang, President of our Taiwan importer: St Finesse.

Graham’s Shows Renewed Tawny Port Range in Holland

Pedro Leite gets the tasting session off to a start

September 4th, Huis de Salentein, Nijkerk, Holland: earlier this week Pedro Leite, one of our market managers, hosted an informal workshop to present the recently re-launched Graham’s Tawny range — consisting of 5 cask-aged tawny Ports — to a captive audience comprising Verbunt’s sales team, who do a splendid job distributing and representing Graham’s Ports in the Netherlands.

The 12 participants (national account managers), headed by sales manager Jeroen Broos, were impressed by the superb quality of the wines. Pedro was eager to show this dedicated team the refinements gradually introduced over recent years by head winemaker and master blender, Charles Symington, which have culminated in the superb range that the Symington family re-launched earlier this summer in Portugal.

Pedro Leite and Verbunt’s Joost van den Hurk sampling the wines.
Joost, blender for the day, tries to get the formula right!

In the relaxed surroundings of Verbunt’s charming Huis de Salentein building, Pedro hosted a tasting session, which included a blending exercise for the Graham’s twenty year-old tawny, using the various component wines. The designations, 10, 20, 30 and 40 years of age on Tawny Port labels indicate the average age of the constituent wines. In the case of this particular Port, the components wines are 14, 25 and 27 years old, meaning that the average age of the 20 YO Tawny is actually closer to 25 years!

The spotlight was on Joost van den Hurk who bravely volunteered to assist Pedro in putting together a blend for the 20 year old, using the three component wines that Pedro took along especially for this session. Judging by the positive reactions of those present, the impromptu master blender did a very good job.

The Verbunt team were very upbeat about the wines tasted and noticed a more pronounced differentiation between ‘The Tawny’ wine and the 10 Year Old Port. This they have no doubt will give each wine a more individual character, which will help consumers identify and more clearly understand the differences between the two. The even better quality of the 20, 30 and 40 years tawnies was also evident to all those present and the 30 and 40 year tawnies were singled out as showing particularly well-balanced acidity, rendering them fresher and supremely elegant.

Graham’s re-launched Tawny range

These opinions are doubly satisfying for us because they come from an experienced and knowledgeable group of professionals; the fact most of those present have worked for Verbunt for many years gives them the advantage of hindsight because they have been familiar with Graham’s Tawny Ports for quite some time and are thus able to compare the wines they tasted now with those they remembered from previous years.

Remember to enjoy these superb Ports lightly chilled, particularly in warmer weather.

Crafting One of Life’s Great Traditions

Asked about Port, most consumers are familiar with Graham’s Vintage Ports or relatively young Ruby styles such as Six Grapes or Late Bottled Vintage, and they think of Port as being rich and flavoured of red and black fruits.

But when Graham’s ports are aged in wood to create Tawny Ports, they develop a completely different character, redolent of dried fruits, nuts and spices.  Tawny Port can be a revelation, from its beautiful honey colours to its versatility as an aperitif or partner with food.

Whereas all wines derive their fundamental character from the work of the viticulturists and winemakers during their harvest year, Tawny Ports are unique in requiring the care of many more craftsman for years, even decades and generations after harvest.  The evolution in the expression of the style of these wines is based on valuing the three traditional arts that are at their core: the art of cooperage, the art of ageing and the art of blending.  Graham’s Tawny Ports are also the product of all the blenders, coopers and cellar masters who have worked for us over the past century.

After each harvest our head winemaker and master blender, Charles Symington, assesses each lot of wine and decides how it will be aged, according to its likely use for a finished Port style.  His father, uncles and grandfather before him did the same, and Charles continues to taste and assess the wines they set aside in small casks for ageing for Tawnies.  Every time we need to bottle one of our Tawnies Charles selects lotes and develops a blend which is consistent with Graham’s tradition of excellence and the unique flavour profiles for each The Tawny, 10, 20, 30 and 40 Year Old Tawny Port styles.

Graham’s Cooperage

Key to the ageing process is the use of wooden casks.  Graham’s has 3,500 oak “pipes”, the traditional long narrow casks which hold just 550 litres of port.  The vast majority of our pipes are between 75 and 100 years old so they impart no “wood character” to the wines in the sense of oakiness such as you might find in a table wine.  What they do to perfection is allow the micro-oxygenation and slow evaporation and concentration of our Tawnies, which is what creates the extraordinary colour, flavour and complexity of these ports.  Our master cooper Emílio Oliveira has 50 years experience and together with his team knows and cares for every cask in our Lodge.

Our cellar master, António Monteiro, is responsible for the handling and storage of all the wines at Graham’s Lodge: from the new harvest wines less than six months old when they arrive, to lots which have been in cask 100 years old or more.  When Charles has decided a Tawny blend, António and his team are responsible to combine the chosen wines in the correct quantities, moving them out of the small pipes where they have aged into a larger tonel or balseiro where the blended lot will rest for a year so the wines can marry before bottling.

In the coming weeks we will talk more about how Graham’s Tawny Ports are made and how each style can best be enjoyed.

António Monteiro – Cellar Master, Charles Symington – Master Blender and Emílio Oliveira – Master Cooper

Royal Ascot with Johnny Symington and Graham’s

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip arrving at Royal Ascot
Johnny Symington (in dashing blue waistcoat) with friends enjoying Graham’s 1952 Diamond Jubilee Port
Johnny and friends enjoy another glass to toast the victory of the Queen’s own horse

Johnny Symington writes: 

In typical Jubilee weather – cold wind and showers – I enjoyed a day at Ascot with the Graham’s 1952 Diamond Jubilee Port which provided a most welcome and warming accompaniment to the strawberries!  The Grahams 1952 was served to a gathering of twenty friends and family at the picnic before the arrival of The Queen and the afternoon’s horse racing.

To great excitement and ever more deafening cries from the crowds one of the Queen’s own horses “Estimate” won The Queen’s Vase Race.  As The Queen can not present the prize to herself, The Duke Of Edinburgh graciously presented it to her.

It was really the Queen’s day, so we celebrated her win with – yes, you guessed it – another glass of 1952!

Johnny Symington at The Queen’s Jubilee

Sunday 3 June marked one of the highlights of the public celebrations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.  Johnny Symington of Graham’s was there, on a balcony overlooking the river, along with over a million people lining the banks of the Thames to watch the barge carrying Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip pass by.

The Queen waves to Johnny Symington as he toasts her with a glass of Graham’s 1952 Single Harvest Tawny Port

Johnny Symington writes for the Graham’s Blog:

Today I and my family and friends watched the magnificent Royal Pageant on the Thames.  It was the most exceptional spectacle with over 1000 boats in the flotilla, the likes of which has not happened for 350 years and may never happen again.  And of course we all raised a glass of Grahams 1952 Diamond Jubilee to Her Majesty, as she sailed by and waved to us!

The second photo is of the Queen and Prince Philip sailing past a bottle of Grahams 1952 Diamond Jubilee Port on the Royal Barge on their way to join other members of the Royal Family aboard the Sprit of Chartwell by Chelsea Bridge.

The last photo shows myself holding up a bottle of Grahams 1952 Diamond Jubilee as the row barge Gloriana passes, rowed by a crew of 18 oarsmen including 4-time Olympic Gold Medallist Sir Matthew Pinsent and 5-time Olympic Gold Medallist Sir Steve Redgrave.  They were followed by a flotilla which included row boats, boats from the evacuation of Dunkirk, musical barges and more.

Click on any photo to view it full size, and use your browser back button to return to the Graham’s Blog.

Medal Success for Graham’s Ports

Graham’s Quinta dos Malvedos 2001 Gold Medal Winner IWC & Decanter 2012

Graham’s Ports have once again been recognised for their excellence in the top blind tasting competitions:  The International Wine Challenge (IWC), The International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC), and the Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA).

Graham’s won a dazzling array of 22 Gold and Silver awards across the three competitions, including double Gold – from the IWC and Decanter – for the Graham’s Quinta dos Malvedos Vintage Port 2001.  This superb Quinta Vintage Port is already available in the USA and will be released in other markets globally by the end of this year.  We agree with the IWC judges who described this Port as “joyful to drink”!

Dark jammy blackcurranty nose.  Palate is vivid, crisp and concentrated.  Starting to open up, energetic, youthful but already joyful to drink.

Other Decanter Gold Medal winners included Graham’s 10 and 20 Year Old Tawnies, the IWSC awarded Gold to Graham’s Crusted Port bottled in 2006, and the IWC awarded the Graham’s 1969 Single Harvest Tawny a Gold Award as well.  In addition we also were awarded 16 Silver medals.

In fact, between the three competitions our full range of Premium Port styles – including 10, 20, 30 and 40 Year Old Tawnies, 1969 Single Harvest Tawny, Six Grapes, Late Bottled Vintage 2007, Crusted 2006, Graham’s Vintage 2000, Quinta dos Malvedos Vintage 2001 and Quinta dos Malvedos Vintage 2004 – all won medals, and in most cases two or three medals.  No other Port producer has such an extraordinary record of recognition – either across their entire range, or over the years – as Graham’s and Symington Family Estates.

Paul Symington is understandably pleased, calling this year’s array of awards great recognition of “the excellent work of all our production people from the Douro to Vila Nova de Gaia.”