Graham's 2015 Late Bottled Vintage Port

Tasting notes
A deep red-black colour with aromas of blackberries and liquorice. On the palate the wine is full and compact with a plummy, succulent texture that is balanced by the lively freshness and spice element. Pairs wonderfully with dark chocolate desserts as well as hard cheeses like Cheddar and Manchego.

Why we recommend this wine
Not many businesses last centuries so Graham’s must be doing something right – oh yes, that’s making port!. It is not every year that a vintage is ‘declared’ for port; it has to be a very good year for growing the grapes and there have been a maximum of only 4 in any decade in the last century.

The wine
The 2015 Late Bottled Vintage Port is a commemorative edition, bottled in 2020, the year which marks Graham’s bicentenary (1820-2020). The 2015 LBV was produced from grapes sourced from four of Graham’s vineyards located in various prime sites in the mountainous Douro Valley. Principally Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca with a smaller contribution of Sousão as well as Tinta Amarela and Tinta Barroca. This wine was matured in large oak barrels for five years prior to being bottled ready for drinking. Late Bottled Vintages, as the term implies, are bottled later than classic Vintage Ports (the latter are bottled after two years). No need to decant. Once open, the wine will remain fresh for up to six weeks.

The wine estate
The story of two families across three centuries. For almost two hundred years W & J Graham’s has been an independent family business renowned for producing the finest Port wines. Graham’s has always been a pioneer. Graham's was one of the first Port companies to invest in its own vineyards in Portugal’s Douro Valley in 1890 and is now at the cutting edge of innovation in winemaking techniques (inventing a mechanical process to replace traditional foot stamping). Today, five Symington cousins share responsibility for every aspect of the company and personally make the Graham’s wines. They too have been involved with Port and the Douro for many generations, going back to the mid-17th century.
Graham’s has seven hectares of organic vineyard and is moving to achieve organic certification in more vineyards.

Food and wine
Full bodied, unctuous and sweetish so ideal with desserts (chocolate but also stewed fruits such as plums) and hard, mature cheeses. Also see our guide to pairing food and wine here.

Did you know?
The monk that time forgot - it is alleged that two wine merchants in the seventeenth century exploring Portugal’s Douro valley discovered the Abbot of a Lamego monastery adding grape spirit to his wine early on in its fermentation to preserve its sweetness. This was embryonic Port. They decided to use this method of ‘fortification’ to preserve their wines for the long sea journey back to England. This wine took its name from the city where these traders had their base: Oporto (Porto), from where it is to this day shipped to the world. Port (and many other similar types of wine) is still produced in this way, by intentionally interrupting the fermentation of the grape must (or juice) by the addition of a clear grape spirit generally referred to as ‘brandy’. This preserves a large amount of the grapes’ natural sugars, thereby giving Port its characteristic sweetness and richness.