This morning, João Pedro Ramalho, one of Charles’s year-round team of winemakers, came to the Graham’s Lodge to teach the new team about how port is made, and talk them through a tasting lesson of all our wines.
The morning began in front of the big Douro map in the centre aisle of the Lodge, as João Pedro talked about the character of wines produced in each subregion of the Douro and discussed our quintas and wineries in detail, pointing them out on the map. He then turned to the mural with photos of the harvest and our robotic lagares at Quinta dos Malvedos, and explained in great detail exactly how port is made: differences between traditional and robotic lagares and other methods of extraction, the vinification and fortification processes, and the ageing and blending which occur in later years here in Vila Nova de Gaia.
The group then settled down to the table in the front window of the lodge for a detailed talk through and tasting of all Graham’s ports. Wine by wine, João Pedro briefly described again how each one is made and pointed out differences between wine pairs, for instance a ruby versus a tawny, or a reserve tawny versus a 20 Year Old. The tasting included nearly every Graham’s wine they will serve at the Lodge, including two vintages. There were also two special items on the menu: a Dow’s 1985 so they could appreciate the difference between the two brands, and a sample of a wine just made during the 2010 harvest at Malvedos (well done, Henry! beautiful dense colour and very rich, fresh and aromatic!)
Also included in the lesson was a detailed discussion of service, including recommended temperatures to show each style of port at its best, and finally, a lesson in decanting.
There is nothing these guides won’t know about port by the end of this week.