The cornerstone of Graham’s Port is the company’s famed flagship vineyard, Quinta dos Malvedos. It is acknowledged to be one of the Upper Douro’s finest properties, and indeed the entire vineyard has the maximum ‘A’ rating attributed by the Douro’s regulatory authority. The wines from Malvedos form the backbone of Graham’s renowned Vintage Ports in ‘declared’ years. In the majority of the interim years the finest wines from the Quinta are bottled and offered as Quinta dos Malvedos Vintage Ports.
The Quinta embraces the steep gradients that mark the confluence of the Tua and Douro rivers. The vineyard’s north bank location provides its vine terraces with a south-facing aspect, ensuring prolonged exposure to the sun. This results in excellent ripening of the grapes during the growing season, essential to the production of first-class Port. The very consistent climate in this part of the valley is reflected in the supreme quality of the wines produced.
The vineyard covers 70 hectares, out of the Quinta’s total area of 108 hectares. A major replanting programme was carried out through the 1980’s and the average age of the vines now ranges from 20 years for the ‘modern’ terraces, to well over 45 years for the older walled terraces. In 2005, 8 hectares of old mixed vineyards were replanted with Touriga Nacional, one of the finest varieties for Port and especially important for Vintage Port.
Around 95% of the vineyard is planted in varietal batches, allowing each variety to achieve optimum ripeness and to be subsequently picked and vinified separately. The yields at Malvedos are amongst the lowest of any major wine-producing region in the world and ensure outstanding quality.
Vinification: the Malvedos winery was refurbished in readiness for the 2000 vintage with the installation of three of Graham’s groundbreaking ‘robotic’ lagares. The make-up of the Graham’s 2000 Vintage Port included a 36% component of robotic lagar trodden wines whilst for the 2003 Vintage Port, this proportion had increased to 78%. The exceptional ratings awarded in blind tastings to both the Graham’s 2000 and 2003 Vintages provides ample indication that the very substantial investment by the Symington family in this new technology has been more than vindicated.
The winery at Malvedos also retains its three original stone lagares where conventional treading still takes place, as well as with two ‘plunger tanks’ where a paddle gently pushes the cap of skins down into the fermenting juice below. The three vinification methods available makes this winery the most versatile in the Douro Valley. It allows Graham’s winemakers great scope and capability to craft the finest wines possible.
Tasting profile of Quinta dos Malvedos: floral characteristics, opulent black berry fruit aromas and super concentrated rich fruit, backed by well balanced tannins, these are the hallmark of this vineyard’s wines. They are therefore wines in the classic mould with the innate quality and potential for long-term ageing.