PROVENANCE – THE DOURO TERROIR

The outstandingly beautiful Douro valley in Northern Portugal has been famous for Port for over three hundred years. A combination of well drained schistous soils and low rainfall make the region’s grapes quite unique, and this is probably one of the driest regions of the world where grapes are grown without irrigation. The consequence of this is very low yielding vineyards, and vines bearing only a very few small bunches of very fully flavoured grapes with thick skins to protect them from dehydration. The historic estates of the Douro with the lowest altitude produce amongst the finest Ports from the region, and W & J Graham’s is privileged enough to source from five of these prime historic estates or ‘Quintas’.

 

PROVENANCE – THE GRAHAM’S QUINTAS

Graham’s headquarters in the Douro is at the magnificent Quinta dos Malvedos, originally purchased by the firm in 1890. The original winery has been adapted to take our proprietary robotic ‘treaders’.  Along with fruit from Graham’s neighbouring Quinta do Tua, the entire production of Quinta dos Malvedos is made here in this small dedicated winemaking facility under the watchful eye of our winemaker Henry Shotton.

 
Graham’s also makes wine from three other well known Quintas, Quinta das Lages in the Rio Torto valley, Quinta da Vila Velha just downriver from Malvedos on the South bank, and Quinta do Vale de Malhadas in the Douro Superior.


 

 

 

WINEMAKING

Only about 35% of the production of these five top quality Douro estates is set aside to be potential Vintage Port, and only about 10% reaches the final Vintage Port bottling, most of the remaining quantity going into the Six Grapes blend, probably more correctly described in style as ‘declassified Vintage Port’ although officially designated as a Reserve Ruby.

 
In terms of varietals, Six Grapes is made primarily of the four uncontested ‘stars’ of the Port region, the violety and aromatic Touriga Franca, the rich, tannic and well structured Touriga Nacional, the raspberry tinged Tinta Roriz and the sweet chocolatey Tinta Barroca. In addition there are components of Tinta Amarela, Tinta Cão, Souzão and Tinta Francisca as well as grapes from some older mixed plantings.
 
At all Graham’s Quintas, each varietal is picked according to its ideal ripeness, and the fermentations of each varietal and vineyard block kept separate, for blending together only much later once the wines have been properly assessed for their individual characteristics. 

 
 

 

STYLE

Six Grapes typically sees a rather shorter period in wooden barrels than other Reserve Ruby Ports, with our blending team seeking to preserve its youthful, blackberry fruit character and the fresh aromas of cassis and liquorice. After being loaded out of the Malvedos winery in the Spring following the harvest, the wines travel to Graham’s cask lodge in Vila Nova de Gaia where they will typically spend between one or two years in seasoned wooden barrels or vats before being incorporated into the Six Grapes lot ready for bottling. Our blending team is careful to try to match as closely as possible the new blend to the previous one so that the consumer can be certain that their favourite bottle of Six Grapes always maintains its outstanding level of quality. Once in bottle, the wine is ready to drink and does not require further ageing.

 

  • setquintas

    QUINTA DOS MALVEDOS

    Upper Corgo

    35% Touriga Franca & 29% Touriga Nacional;

    18% Tinta Barroca & 13% Tinta Roriz

    Peppermint nose & red fruit flavours (raspberries, strawberries & red plums)


     

  • setquintas

    QUINTA DAS LAGES

    Rio Torto

    Very low yields

    38% mized varietals; 22% Touriga Franca & 21% Touriga Nacional; 14% Tinta Barroca

    Floral nose (violets) and black plums (acidity & freshness)


     

  • setquintas

    QUINTA DA VILA VELHA

    Upper Corgo

    300 pipes/year

    12% old vines

    33% Touriga Franca; 17% Tinta Roriz; 13% Touriga Nacional & 12% Tinta Barroca; 

    “esteva” (rock rose) aroma with hints of chocolate, dark fruit and a spicy touch


     

  • setquintas

    QUINTA DO VALE DE MALHADAS

    Upper Douro

    55% Tinta Roriz; 24% Touriga Franca & 15% touriga Nacional

    ripe jammy black fruit (Blackberries, blueberries & cassis)


     

  • setquintas

    QUINTA DO TUA

    Upper Corgo

    Extremely old vines (13%) & low yields (0.74 Kg per vine)

    28% Mixed varietals, 21%Touriga Nacional; 17% Touriga Franca & 17% Souzão

    Strong accent of black cherry 


     

  • Grapes

    Tinta Amarela

    Although not one of the ‘top five’ varietals, the Tinta Amarela is suited to the hotter vineyards of the Douro Valley’s eastern reaches. It has very compact bunches and the berries have thin skins which make them vulnerable to bunch rots and mildews and should therefore be planted in dry soils to minimize this risk. Produces scented, fragrant wines with soft sweet flavours and good acidic balance. 

  • Grapes

    Tinta Barroca

    Whilst appearing to be an early ripening variety, on account of the high sugar levels attained early on, this is in fact due to a concentration effect caused by dehydration through the thin skins of the berries. The wines are noted for their structure and powerful, long finish. Flavours of red fruits such as cherries and raspberries. The firm tannic backbone makes it an important contributor to the overall balance of a wine. 

  • Grapes

    Tinta Roriz

     This variety really reaches its full potential at a high degree of maturity, delivering deep, intense wines with an aromatic profile consisting of mulberry, blackberry, black cherry, jam and spice. The thick tannins, which stabilize the colour and impart a fine astringency, mean that wines made from Roriz withstand long ageing in wood or bottle without losing their structure. This is one of the features that makes it invaluable for top quality Port. 

  • Grapes

    Tinta Cão

    Characterized by small bunches with thick skins that are very resistant to both sunburn and fungal diseases. It is also a very late ripening variety. Produces wines with sweet,fresh,herbal and fruity characters on the palate. These elegant, aromatic flavours become peppery and spicier with riper grapes. Although the wines have less colour and structure than certain other varieties, they do improve as the vines age and produce very long-lived wines.

 

Printed in sixgrapes.grahams-port.com

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