Graham’s release The Stone Terraces 2021
The 17th May saw the Symington family announce the bottling of Graham’s The Stone Terraces 2021 Vintage Port – the fifth edition of this remarkable micro-terroir wine.
The Stone Terraces Vintage Port is produced from two low-yielding vineyards of just under three hectares laid out on narrow stone terraces at Graham’s principal estate in the Douro Valley – Quinta dos Malvedos. The Symington family only produce this Vintage Port when these vines deliver wines of incomparable elegance and complexity. This is just the fifth time that the family have chosen to make this wine – following the 2011, 2015, 2016 & 2017 editions.
The 2021 growth cycle and harvest in the Douro were one of the coolest in recent years, with moderate conditions encouraging slower, gradual maturations with balanced ripening. The stone terraces are predominantly planted with mature Touriga Nacional with a few younger plantings of Touriga Franca, Sousão and Alicante Bouschet. The grapes from these vines were picked at the same time and co-fermented to enhance complexity, structure, and freshness.
While conducting the annual review of the best wines produced from the family’s finest Douro estates in 2021, Head Winemaker Charles Symington was astonished by the quality of the wines from the stone terraces at Quinta dos Malvedos. The family have therefore taken the very rare decision to do a limited bottling of the wine from these magnificent vineyards as Graham’s The Stone Terraces 2021 Vintage Port.
The wine has incredibly fresh and lifted aromas, with hints of tropical fruit – characteristic of these unique terraces. It is concentrated whilst being supremely refined with polished tannins and taut acidity combining to deliver sublime elegance and balance. Only 4,800 numbered 75cl bottles and 280 tappit hens (225cl) will be produced – this represents just 2% of the total production at Quinta dos Malvedos in 2021. The Vintage Port will be offered en primeur in 2023.
“The hand-built stone terraces at Quinta dos Malvedos have long been prized by my family for producing wines with an incredibly unique profile, which is entirely distinct from the rest of the estate. After being abandoned in the aftermath of phylloxera, these terraces were meticulously reconstructed by hand in the late 18th century. They were designed to produce ports of exceptional concentration and power, using viticultural techniques that have barely changed for hundreds of years. While the Malvedos estate is predominantly south-facing, the stone terraces are comprised of two vineyards with cooler aspects – one faces east and west, while the other faces north. The schist walls of the stone terraces have an incredible 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 the stone terraces are some of the most intriguing vineyards we farm, and why they produce one of the greatest wines we make in the Douro.”
– Charles Symington, Head Winemaker.
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