SYMINGTON FAMILY ESTATES GRAHAM'S 1977 VINTAGE PORT, VILA NOVA DE GAIA, PORTUGAL
SAQ PRICE: $355
Graham’s Port house is owned by the Symington family. They have been Port producers for five generations but can trace their family’s involvement in the Port trade back fourteen generations to 1652. Symington Family Estates is the only leading Port Company in the hands of one single family.
Five Symington members work in the family business, taking care of the vineyards and the wine making for four of the greatest Port houses in Portugal; Graham’s, Cockburn’s, Dow’s and Warre’s. The family also owns five small specialty Port houses including the legendary Quinta do Vesuvio, Portugal’s greatest wine estate.
The family is unique among all other Port companies because they also own and farm their own vineyards. The company account for over 30% of the world sales of Premium Port, making them the leaders in quality Port producers.
Port is produced by intentionally interrupting the fermentation of the grape must (or juice) by the addition of a clear grape spirit called aguardente, or ‘brandy’. This preserves a large amount of the grapes’ natural sugars, thereby giving Port its characteristic sweetness and richness.
1977 is considered to be one of the finest Vintages of the 20th Century in the Douro Valley and this Port shows why! In a year where the biggest challenge was what NOT to bottle, it is an absolute pure delicacy!
In the glass, it is a light brownish red with vibrant orange hues. The legs are viscous and languorous.
On the nose, there is some “bouquet garni”, a little cedar, prune, currants, caramel and dried apricots.
On the palate it is incredibly unctuous, sweet, full of caramel, orange zest and toasted walnut. It also has a slight brininess to it.
I sipped on this nectar while nibbling on tiny pieces of Stilton cheese and the wine became even more fragrant and spicy. The saltiness of the cheese brightened the aromatics of the wine. This is the most beautiful Port I have ever tasted…
It is like the softest, coolest of breezes to kiss your skin on the most humid day of the summer.