Graham’s have recently released a series of aged Tawny Ports, which arrived here in small bottles packaged in an attractive box. Here are my notes on them. Aged tawnies (10 years and older) are just a small part of the market for Port (3%), but they are important wines, and I reckon that they are currently underappreciated. One of the advantages of these wines is that because they are made oxidatively, they can be kept for a long time, preferably in the fridge (I like my tawnies chilled, but many prefer them at room temperature), for an occasional treat.
Graham’s certainly believe in them: 23% of their stocks are tawnies, which they age in Vila Nova de Gaia where the lower temperatures result in less evaporation than with wines kept in the Douro. Still, the evaporation is significant, at 2.5% per year. This concentrates the flavours, the sweetness, and most importantly the acidity.
Graham’s 10 Year Old Tawny Port, Douro, Portugal
Cherry red in colour, with a bricking rim. Sweet, warm, spicy nose of figs, raisings and some cherry fruit. The palate is spicy, vivid and warm with some elegance and some fruit, but also some casky, woody warmth. Lovely warm, complex wine. 92/100 (Widely available at around £21 for a 75 cl bottle)
Graham’s 20 Year Old Tawny Port, Douro, Portugal
Faded cherry red with some brown notes. Sleek and perfumed on the nose with elegant cherry fruit as well as herbs and spices. Seamless and sweet with warm, spicy, raisiny cherry fruit and hints of fudge and toffee. There’s a bit of cask character too. Elegant and smooth. 94/100
Graham’s 30 Year Old Tawny Port, Douro, Portugal
Light brick red/brown colour. Warm, intense, smooth spicy nose with subtle fig notes and sweet raisin and cherries. The palate has a lovely sweet warmth to it. Good concentration of sweet fruit with hints of whisky, tar, raisins and figs, as well as spice. Very smooth and complex. 95/100
Graham’s 40 Year Old Tawny Port, Douro, Portugal
Surprisingly full coloured amber/orange with some brown. Warm, intense, lifted nose with treacle, raisins, dried herbs and spice. Lively and intense. The palate has great concentration of spicy, warm, structured raisin and herb flavours with a tarry edge and great acidity. A bold, vital tawny of many layers. 95/100
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