Port wine (also known as Vinho do Porto, Porto, and usually simply port) is a Portuguese fortified wine produced exclusively in the Douro Valley in the northern provinces of Portugal. It is typically a sweet, red wine, often served as a dessert wine though it also comes in dry, semi-dry, and white varieties. The wine produced is then fortified by the addition of a neutral grape spirit known as aguardente in order to stop the fermentation, leaving residual sugar in the wine, and to boost the alcohol content. The fortification spirit is sometimes referred to as brandy but it bears little resemblance to commercial brandies. The wine is then stored and aged, in barrels stored in a cave, before being bottled. Over a hundred varieties of grapes are sanctioned for port production, although only five (Tinta Barroca, Tinta Cão, Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo), Touriga Francesa, and Touriga Nacional) are widely cultivated and used. Touriga Nacional is widely considered the most desirable port grape but the difficulty in growing it and the small yields cause Touriga Francesa to be the most widely planted grape. White ports are produced the same way as red ports, except that they use white grapes—Donzelinho Branco, Esgana-Cão, Folgasão, Gouveio, Malvasia Fina, Rabigato and Viosinho.
- Item #: i_331470Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 96WINE ADVOCATE 96 POINTS- "Still very dark and chewy with interesting notes of violets now showing in its deep bouquet. Plenty of development certainly lies ahead. Here is Robert Parker's take on this Titian from 1996: In a Port tasting, tasting Graham's is almost like tasting a big, rich, succulent Merlot after a group of blockbuster, tannic Cabernets. Sweeter and more obvious than many Ports, the opaque purple-colored 1994 is fruity, powerful, and rich, with an addictive hedonistic quality. It will be ready to drink in 8-10 years and keep for up to 30. As always, this is a showy, flamboyant Port that has the advantage of being slightly sweeter than other 1994s. A great Graham's."
- Item #: i_331490Bottle Size: 750MLSix Grapes has a seductive, rich aroma of ripe plums, cherries and dark chocolate notes. On the palate it's complex, with an excellent structure and a long, lingering finish. Six Grapes is one of Graham's original Port blends--it is a very full-bodied, luscious wine drawn from the same vineyards as Graham's Vintage Ports. Blended from two or three years' harvests, the wine is an average of five to six years old when it is lightly filtered and bottled.
- Item #: i_376625Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 95-97Wine Spectator: 96WINE SPECTATOR 96 POINTS - "Offers a decadently fruity aroma, with peppery accents to the cherry, raspberry and dark currant flavors that are lithe and juicy. Grippy tannins grace the mocha- and chocolate-infused finish. Best from 2025 through 2055. From Portugal."
WINE ADVOCATE 95-97 POINTS - "The 2011 Graham’s comes from the five quintas that have been the source for many years (Malvedos, Tua, Vila Velha, das Lages and Vale de Malhadas). It represents a selection of the 131 pipes from a total production of 1,454 and is a blend of 40% Touriga Naçional, 31% Touriga Franca, 6% Sousão and 23% mixture of very old vines. It has a more “serious” bouquet compared to the Dow, with beguiling scents of blackberry, wild hedgerow, tobacco and cloves. Straight-laced, very well-defined and compelling, the palate is medium-bodied with very fine tannins and supremely well-judged acidity. It is utterly harmonious, with a pure core of ripe black cherries, damson, marmalade, clove and spices, and the finish lingers long in the mouth. The separation of “The Stone Terraces” vines certainly does not appear to have detracted from a great Graham’s. 5,000 cases declared. Tasted May 2013."
- Item #: i_331240Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 93Wine Spectator: 91WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS - "Graham is another great port house, producing one of the deepest-colored and sweetest styles of vintage port. Along with Taylor and Fonseca, Graham has probably been the most consistent producer of great port in the post- World War II era. Their tawnys are quite good rather than exceptional, but their vintage ports are truly sublime and sumptuous."
WINE SPECTATOR 91 POINTS - " Medium ruby-red. Aromas of milk chocolate, plum, mint and violet. Full-bodied, with medium sweetness and lots of berry and cherry fruit. Very fruity and fresh. Long and lively. Delicious now, but will improve. '77/'85/'97 blind Port retrospective. Drink now through 2018."
- Item #: i_378392Bottle Size: 750MLWINE SPECTATOR 98 POINTS - "Smells like freshly picked orchids, with loads of ripe, clean fruit. Full-bodied, medium sweet and very powerful and racy. It lasts for minutes on your palate. Yet there's a balance and class to this young Vintage Port. This is the greatest glass of Graham I have ever tasted, young or old. Best after 2014. 9,000 cases made."
- Item #: i_376983Bottle Size: 750MLWine Spectator: 90JAMES SUCKLING 99 POINTS - "Extremely complex aromas that show the classic Graham character of black-fruit marmalade and burnt oranges. Follows through to a full body with great grip at the finish. Lightly sweet. Chewy and powerful. Such a focus at the end."
WINE ADVOCATE 95 POINTS-"The 2016 Vintage Port is a blend of 37% Touriga Nacional, 42% Touriga Franca and various others. It comes in with 115 grams of residual sugar. A bit bigger than Dow's this year, this is more intense as well. The better wine of these two benchmarks seems to be this Graham's. Tight on the finish, aromatic and very flavorful, this actually opens rather well and shows off its lovely fruit. The Dow's will be approachable a bit earlier, perhaps, and this may reward aging even more. As always, Graham's is wonderfully delicious. That's one hallmark of the house. I'm not sure this is a truly great Graham's, but at the moment, it is enticing, with plenty of potential for improvement. There were 6,325 cases produced, plus some bottles in other formats."
OTHER SCORES: WS 98 POINTS, WE 97 POINTS & DECANTER 98 POINTS
- Item #: i_331310Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 92Wine Spectator: 93WINE SPECTATOR 93 POINTS - " A superb achievement from a very underrated year. Deep dark ruby-purple, with rich floral and violet aromas, full-bodied, with masses of strawberry flavors, full tannins and a long finish."
WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - "Graham is another great port house, producing one of the deepest-colored and sweetest styles of vintage port. Along with Taylor and Fonseca, Graham has probably been the most consistent producer of great port in the post- World War II era. Their tawnys are quite good rather than exceptional, but their vintage ports are truly sublime and sumptuous. The 1983, like most vintage ports, seems more forward than normal but has a great depth of very ripe, viscous, unctuous, plummy, tarry fruit and significant tannin in its long finish. It is black-purple in color. I doubt that it will be either as profound or as long-lived as the great 1977, but is is certainly one of the top two or three ports of this vintage, and better than the excellent 1980."
- Item #: i_375971Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 96WINE ADVOCATE 96 POINTS - "As we start getting seriously old in the lineup from Sogevinus this issue, this shows what you get with increasing age: the superb concentration of flavor, the long, intense finishes and the complex medley of flavors that old Tawnies deliver effortlessly. That, to me, is what makes them worth the extra bucks. If some of the youngsters lean more to caramel, this adds more molasses with a touch of Brandy in the background. The concentrated flavors linger more or less endlessly, driven into the palate by the wine's power and acidity. You can smell and taste this for a long time. The graceful mid-palate is deceptively friendly at first. It sure does grip the palate at the end, though, finishing with juicy bursts of fruit and sugar. Over several days, it acquired a bit more harmony and shed a touch of aggression. The alcohol, speaking relatively, is not as well integrated here as with the 1965, also reviewed, but that is relative. I tended to like this just slightly better anyway for its complexity and concentration on several fronts. The freshness on the 1965 is quite enticing, though. It tastes younger. It depends on what you want: that old-wine complexity and depth or a livelier feel. They both have plenty of power on the finish. You can't go wrong, really."
- Item #: i_378402Bottle Size: 750MLWine Spectator: 92WINE ENTHUSIAST 93 POINTS - " A deliciously satisfying wood-aged Port. It has an intense fruitiness, with layers of acidity and oxidated notes. It's concentrated, yet shows lightness and poise." 2012
WINE SPECTATOR 92 POINTS - " This is what 20-year-old is all about. Subtle aromas of toffee, caramel and flan, with hints of dried fruits. Medium- to full-bodied, with sweet fruit and a long coffee aftertaste that turns to honey and apricots. Very fine indeed. This is superb. Drink now. A vibrant tawny, with a rich array of dried citrus, apricot and hazelnut flavors that are backed by plenty of fresh acidity. Features white chocolate on the finish. Drink now." 2012
- Item #: i_378014Bottle Size: 750MLElegant and complex with intense nutty flavor married with butterscotch and oak. A wine of exceptional character with a nicely sweet finish.
- Item #: i_325658Bottle Size: 750MLWINE & SPIRITS 91 POINTS - "Christian Seely recently introduced this wine in New York as a rethinking of the super-premium, multivintage Porto style. Black replaces LB, Noval's former entry in this range, and uses top-quality fruit to create a soft, accommodating texture. The aromas are purple-black while the flavors are pure black cherry. Acidity spices it up and adds to the juiciness of the finish. It's plump in the middle and supple all the way through, ending on fruit-skin tannin and a touch of chocolate from oak. At the level of many of the region's best LBVs, this wine may become a staple for a new generation of Port drinkers."
WINE ADVOCATE 90 POINTS - "'Black' is a new blend produced from classic varieties that do not make it into the Quinta do Noval vintage. There are ripe blackberries, tar, smoke and orange liqueur on the nose that takes time to open. The palate is medium-bodied, very sleek on the entry, fleshy black fruits, sloe, spice and just a hint of white pepper, leading to a very focused finish."
A delightful dryish-styled Port where exceedingly prue blackberry and boysenberry fruits dominate the palate while the finish is thankfully devoid of alcoholic overtones.
- Item #: i_374521Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 94-96JAMES SUCKLING 94 POINTS - "This is one of the few vintage Ports declared in 2012 and it's wonderfully structured with finesse. It's black-colored and shows intense aromas of crushed grapes, granite stones, flowers, light raisins, tar and licorice. Full body, lightly sweet and incredible integrity plus firm and ultra-refined tannins. Beautiful grip and length. Reminds me of the 1964, which is a classic now. Try in 2028."
- Item #: i_378471Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 91WINE ADVOCATE 91 POINTS - "The 2012 Unfiltered Late Bottled Vintage Port is another fine Noval LBV, traditionally styled and bottled in June 2017 with a long cork. Noval is one of the region's finest and most consistent producers of traditional LBVs, wines that become more expressive and can develop with age. This is a little on the lighter side--that's the vintage, perhaps--but still respectably concentrated. It has fine, expressive fruit and the elegant styling for which Noval is known."
- Item #: i_375441Bottle Size: 750mlWWINE ADVOCATE 97 POINTS-The 2016 Vintage Port is a field blend, mostly Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinto Cão and Sousão, aged for 18 months in old wood. It comes in with 82 grams of residual sugar. This was in bottle for only about seven weeks when seen, but I made sure at least some of it had a lot of air. It looks super, with plenty of room to grow in the cellar. Christian Seely likes to say that this regular Noval and the Nacional are not better than one another, just different. In fact, I usually prefer Nacional, but in this vintage I make a case for equality and endorse that view. This was stunning from the first smell, promising concentration, intensity of fruit and great things to come. It had a 100-point nose that made me go "wow!" No wine I tasted had a better nose than this. Violets and blue fruits lead off, with a trace of eucalyptus. I tend to think Noval is a producer that always shows mid-palate finesse, but this seems pretty deep too. It is also intense. The tannins won't sear your mouth because the balance is impeccable. To be sure, it might close down, but it is surprisingly approachable now, notwithstanding that intensity. Rest assured that this lively young Porto still has all the materials to make old bones. Needless to say, "approachable" does not mean "ready." You need to toss this in the cellar for a decade, at least. Purists will say to double that or more. When the palate becomes as expressive as the nose—if it does—this will be entitled to an uptick. No pricing was set yet." - Mark Squires
- Item #: i_325553Bottle Size: 750MLWine Spectator: 94WINE SPECTATOR 94 POINTS - "Fascinating aromas of citrus fruits, blueberry and dried flowers, with tar notes as well, lead to a full-bodied, medium-sweet palate, with a black pepper and spice undertone to the rich, ripe berry fruit. Turns chewy and tannic on the finish. So much to come with age in the bottle. Very typical for Vesuvio. Best after 2017."
- Item #: i_357420Bottle Size: 750MLWINE SPECTATOR - "Dry in style, with a firm and tannic backbone. The wine also has acidity, giving it a stylish edge of dry, stalky fruit and raisins. The aftertaste is sweeter, softer."
WINERY NOTES - "The pale-red rim around the glass is the only visible sign of maturity. The initially opaque core develops into a translucent dark red and finishes with an intense red at the bottom of the glass. Its aromatic characteristics are similar to that of the vintage due to the potency of its dominant and dense fruit, revealing incredibly ripe aromas of dried plum, fig, blackberry, raspberry and cherry. The attack is smooth and a full, balanced sensation of sweetness can be noted on the palate. Its ripe fruit is deliciously revealed to us, enhancing the most volatile and developed retro nasal aromas. Its persistence is noteworthy."
- Item #: i_325593Bottle Size: 750MLWine Spectator: 90WINE ADVOCATE 91 POINTS-"The NV Quinta da Ervamoira Tawny RP 10 Year Old Port comes in at 106 grams per liter of residual sugar. This is the new 2015 bottling. Beautifully focused and balanced, this has fine mid-palate weight for the category and a complex medley of concentrated flavors on the finish. Quite gripping, it is beautifully done and rather impressive, while always remaining graceful and impeccably balanced. There is very respectable tension on the finish, too, that enlivens the wine. Taste this in isolation and you'll think my score is pretty stingy, but remember that there does need to be some headroom when we step up to the long-aged Tawny treasures. This may have been my favorite 10 Year Tawny this issue.(12/15)." WINE SPECTATOR 90 POINTS - "A ripe style, with rich, well-integrated flavors of toffee, marshmallow and dried plum. Offers cream and butterscotch on the lush finish. Drink now."
- Item #: i_379602Bottle Size: 750MLWine Spectator: 93WINE ADVOACATE 93 POINTS-"The Quinta Do Bom Retiro RP 20 Year Old Tawny Port has been seen before, but this is the new 2015 bottling. It comes in with 122 grams per liter of residual sugar. It seems even more interesting now, holding its own very well against all comers in my "20" tastings this issue, and adding concentration of fruit and aromatics compared to RP's lovely 10 Year Tawny (also reviewed this issue). Showing fine weight, concentration and increasing complexity of flavor over a week or so, it drank rather well, sometimes brilliantly. Its beautiful balance also makes it easy to approach; it does everything well and it has a lot of old Tawny flavors for a 20. It was certainly one of my favorite 20s in this report. This comes with a bar top cork(12/15)."
DECANTER 98 POINTS - "From a single estate where a quarter of the wines are more than 80 years old: soft and seamless, boasting waves of dates, dried figs, brazil nuts and toasted almonds. Suave silky texture and wonderful savoury-sweet length. Supremely good."
WINE SPECTATOR 93 POINTS - " This has a pretty amber hue, with complex flavors of smoke, honey, dried herbs and hazelnut. Long and rich on the finish, with zesty hints of anise and concentrated spice and toffee notes."
- Item #: i_360560Bottle Size: 750MLWINE & SPIRITS 90 POINTS - " The color falls at the intersection of tawny and ruby, pointing to the freshness that's apparent in the taste of the wine. The youthful fruit character lasts beyond substantial tannins, balancing the wine with density, firmness and length. A substantive 10-Year-Old to serve with a savory pear and almond tart."
- Item #: i_360590Bottle Size: 750MLWine Spectator: 91WINE SPECTATOR 91 POINTS - "This has a bright aromas, with notes of lemon zest and flavors of apricot, peach tart and caramel. The long finish echoes the fresh fruit, with lots of butterscotch and nut notes. Drink now."