Yesterday marked the Portuguese launch of Graham’s 1952 Single Harvest Tawny, hosted by Johnny Symington and Joaquim Augusto Cândido da Silva of Portfolio Vinhos (our Portuguese distribution subsidiary) at the Factory House in Porto.
Customers representing some of the top wine shops in the north of Portugal were invited to a presentation, luncheon and tasting of this extraordinary Port which has been specially bottled this year to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. As the home of the British Association, a more than two century old club for English Port shippers in Porto, which hosted the Queen and Prince Philip in 1957 and other members of the British Royal Family as well as Portuguese heads of state over the years, the Factory House was a natural venue to celebrate the release. Copies of the Times of London from the Coronation Day and the Queen’s visit to Porto, from the Factory House’s own library, were laid out for visitors to read.
Johnny spoke of how this wine is the result of unique and actually rather difficult circumstances: during and after World War II many superb wines were made and simply held, like this one, rather than declared as Vintages or otherwise used up to make other styles of Port, while Port’s main markets – Europe and the UK – struggled to recover from the war and the austerity that followed for almost ten years afterwards. Additionally, over the years our winemakers – three generations of Symingtons – recognised the quality of this wine as it was ageing and chose to hold back several pipes, rather than use it up in making our blended Tawnies.
Graham’s is honoured to have received the Palace’s approval to include the legend “To Commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II” on the label of the 1952 Single Harvest Tawny. No other 1952 wine has been honoured in this way. It is a testament not just to the fact of its Vintage year and its outstanding quality, but to the long standing alliance and friendship between Portugal and England, which dates back to the Treaty of Windsor in 1386. The choice of a Port wine for this recognition is wonderful for the attention it will draw to Port and the Douro, and indeed Portugal and Portuguese wines generally.
As is traditional at The Factory House, the group gathered in the Lunch Room for a meal which concluded with Graham’s Vintage 1994 served with Apple Strudel with Vanilla Sorbet and a selection of Serra da Estrela and Stilton Cheese. After coffee, the group moved to the Dessert Room, where they were able to enjoy Graham’s 1952 Single Harvest Tawny Port without the distraction of any lingering scents of food. The Port was served accompanied only by dried apricots and fresh walnuts to complement the complex flavour profile of the wine.
A limited quantity of the 1952 Single Harvest Tawny is available from select retailers in Portugal – we already have confirmed outlets in Porto, Matosinhos, Coimbra, Espinho, Braga and elsewhere. If you need help locating this Port, please contact us through the comments below, or directly at blogadmin at grahams-port dot com (use the usual symbols, we just spell it out here to avoid spam).