In the Douro valley of Portugal, home of true Port wines, only the finest years are declared as Vintages, the best of the best. The last declared vintage was 2017. (Remarkably, this followed the declared 2016. Back to back declarations are qute rare.)
However, the grapes grow every year, of course, and the foremost houses still have a high-quality product to offer even in non-declared years. This is usually released as a single quinta [Portugese literally for farm, but understood as vineyard or estate] bottling. These wines also receive a vintage designation, rather than being used for more anonymous blended ports.
Graham’s Quinta dos Malvedos is just such a product, a ruby port expressing Graham’s finest efforts of 2009. This wine has seen two years in barrel, and although I’m sure it will age well, I suggest drinking it now. The wine is delightfully approachable, with none of the aggressive characteristics so often seen in a young Vintage Port.
The alcohol, tannins, and fruit are nicely balanced, with the palate displaying the classic port flavors of cassis and blackberries.
Enjoy this wine either as an aperitif or with dessert (blue cheese and walnuts are traditional, but chocolate mousse would be delicious as well). And, please forgo fussy liqueur glasses or port “pipes;” a white wine glass will do just fine.
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