In 1970 the Symington Family acquired the firm of W & J Graham, including the wine stocks and the properties in both the Douro and Vila Nova de Gaia. James Symington was at Quinta dos Malvedos for their first harvest that autumn and together with his cousins was responsible for the winemaking. In his harvest report, James wrote:
It is likely that the 1970 wines will prove to be quite outstandingly good. The colour (of the must) is exceptional and very purple and they seem to have plenty of body… Everybody seems delighted with the 1970s and it would surprise nobody if the year produced a Vintage.
Because of both the historical significance of this being their first harvest for Graham’s, and the sheer quality of the wine, the Symington Family decided to hold back a private reserve of several hundred bottles of Graham’s 1970 Vintage Port. Those bottles have never been moved from the cellar at our Lodge in Vila Nova de Gaia.
The 1970 Graham’s has been praised by critics over the entire course of its life, from Michael Broadbent’s top score of 5 Stars in 1972 on release, to Clive Coates calling it “the complete wine” and rating it 20 out of 20 points in 1991, to Richard Mayson observing earlier this year that it was “Still deep for its age… Drink with pleasure for the next thirty years or more!”
Vintage Port, like all wines for ageing, is affected by its storage conditions. The coastal climate here in Vila Nova de Gaia, together with the consistently and naturally cool conditions in our Lodge, combine to create the perfect conditions for ageing fine Ports, in cask or in bottle.
We wanted our customers to have the chance to taste perfection: An extraordinary Vintage Port, at what we consider to be the optimum epoch in its life cycle, the 40 year mark, which has been stored in ideal conditions.
So, we have decided to release some of the Graham’s Vintage 1970 from our private reserve. Each bottle is presented in a handsome individual wooden case and is accompanied by a document telling the story of the wine, and signed by Paul Symington, certifying that this bottle has matured in the family’s private cellar at the Lodge.
For us, fine Port is to be shared and enjoyed with like-minded friends who can appreciate the quality and complexity of an extraordinary wine, and we hope that you will have the chance to share the immense pleasure of the Graham’s 1970 with your friends this holiday season as well, whether as a gift or at table.