Graham’s The Stone Terraces 2017 Vintage Port
At Graham’s flagship vineyard, Quinta dos Malvedos, the stone terraces that border the estate house have been meticulously groomed since the early 1900s to produce Ports of exceptional concentration and power, using viticultural techniques that have barely changed in over a hundred years. A relatively rare phenomenon in the Douro today due to their prohibitively high construction and maintenance costs, these schist walled terraces, with their unique ability to store the sun’s daytime heat through the nocturnal hours, bring considerable benefits in the final stages of ripening.
The 2017 is only the fourth ever bottling of The Stone Terraces. The wine reflects the characteristics that have made this such an excellent year. We had an unusually precocious harvest. Picking began at Malvedos on 28th August and the last grapes came in on 15th September, a date on which we would more normally be starting. The hot and dry conditions for the year reduced yields overall in the Douro, although the Touriga Nacional which features so prominently in the Stone Terraces recorded yields of 750 grams per vine, which was only slightly less than normal.
The vinification of such small batches provides a challenge in itself and would scarcely be possible without the flexibility that is provided by Graham’s modern lagares at the Malvedos winery, which can be filled to a relatively low level and operated at not much more than 25% of their full capacity when required. This is essential when vinifying what typically amounts to not much more than a few boxes of grapes from each of the Stone Terraces vineyard parcels, with quantities further reduced by rigorous bunch and berry selection and, in 2017, a very low yielding year. Treading in lagares allows us to maximise extraction from such unusually concentrated grapes. The contributing Stone Terraces vineyard parcels at Malvedos were parcel 37, known as ‘Cardenhos’, and parcel 43, called ‘Port Arthur’, each of them with little more than 1,300 vines.
Score: 100 Points
The aromas here are amazing: crushed blueberries and raspberries with wet earth and dried flower. Orange blossom. Tar and stone. Full-bodied, very sweet but the powerful and fine-grained tannins balance the wine out. Tannins and fruit envelop your mouth with each sip. Great potential. Single vineyard Port.
600 cases. Try after 2030.