Graham’s Ports are a blend of wines made from grapes from 5 quintas around the Douro. Readers will be most familiar with Quinta dos Malvedos, our flagship quinta where we have our winery, and neighbouring Quinta do Tua. But there are three more quintas, each of which has a unique terroir which enriches the blends of Graham’s Ports.
Quinta do Vale de Malhadas is located in the Douro Superior – if you consult a map you will find it well east of the Valeira Dam and adjacent to Quinta do Vesuvio. This quinta is privately owned by three of the Symingtons and was acquired in 1999.
The climate in this sub-region of the Douro is significantly drier and both hotter in the summer and colder in the winter than the central region, the Cima Corgo, where Malvedos is situated. Although Vale de Malhadas and Malvedos are only 15 km apart, Malhadas typically receives 30% less rain than Malvedos. Given these extreme conditions, the north-facing aspect of the quinta is a boon to keep things just a little bit cooler.
32 hectares are under vine, and the quinta includes another approximately 110 hectares of olive groves, almonds and wilderness. The rich variety of the landscape make for a wonderful environment – during several hours at the quinta the birdsong never stopped, and the insect life is rich, with bees, grasshoppers and butterflies much in evidence, all of which are signs of a good natural equilibrium in the quinta.
The vineyards include substantial plantings of Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional as well as some Tinta Barroca and “Old Vines” mixed plantings.
Harvest began this week with a small team to pick the Old Vines and Barroca and begin selected parcels of Tinta Roriz. Next week we will double the picking team and continue with Touriga Nacional, more Tinta Roriz and finally the Touriga Franca which is always the last variety to mature. It should take just two weeks to harvest the entire quinta.
When we visited yesterday the team were working in some of the small parcels near the river front at the western end of the quinta, primarily Tinta Roriz. This variety is one that many readers will know as Tempranillo (in Spain) or Aragonês (in the south of Portugal). It is a variety that thrives in dry, well-exposed slopes where it can reach full maturity and deliver deep, intense wines with rich black fruit aromas and flavours. Its tannins are strong and enable the wines to age well, holding both structure and colour for a very long life – important qualities for Graham’s Ports.