On the pour: 1970 Graham’s Vintage Port


A bottle of Graham's 1970 Vintage Port in our London Shop, against a backdrop of wines stacked on the shelves.

Each month, we turn the spotlight on a different wine that’s available to taste in our London Shop at 63 Pall Mall. For November, Ian Campbell has chosen a deliciously rich Vintage Port – just the thing on a dark autumn evening.

1970 Graham’s Vintage Port

What is it?

1970 was “declared”, to universal acclaim, as one of the finest vintages of the previous 50 years. Even 50 years on from the harvest, the wine shows a wonderful concentration of fruit flavours and ripe tannins, great balance and structure. Now fully mature, this may be one of the finest glasses of Port that you will ever taste.

Winter rainfall was slightly above average, followed by a very dry spring and further rain in June. From July through to October 1970, almost no rain fell and the harvest which started on 21st September was made under ideal conditions.

Graham’s is one of the finest wines of this year, showing all the very best characteristics of the vintage. It has a deep, garnet red colour at the heart of the glass. With a Bordeaux-like nose, this wine promises maraschino cherries, cloves, burnt wood/embers and bergamot, caramelised fruit and coffee, all gaining intensity in the glass.

Well defined, the palate is very harmonious and elegant. It’s fleshy and seductive, with allspice, nutmeg and ginger sprinkled over an oily finish, with final notes of freshly rolled tobacco coming through. It has great length and power, as many of the 1970 Ports continue to show.

What’s the story behind it?

W & J Grahams was founded in Porto in 1820 by Scottish brothers, William and James.

They became one of the most highly regarded producers of the region. Their success culminated, in 1890, with the construction of the famous Graham’s Lodge in Gaia and the acquisition of Quinta dos Malvedos – one of the finest vineyards in the Douro Valley and the cornerstone of Graham’s Vintage Port.

In 1882, Andrew James Symington sailed from Scotland to Porto to work for the Graham family, thus beginning his family’s long association with this famous house. Although he left Graham’s shortly after to establish his own Port business, his grandsons acquired the company from the Graham family in 1970, when it was offered for sale. Since then, the Symington family have further developed and consolidated Graham’s reputation for producing superb Ports, starting with the 1970 Vintage they made in the year they bought the company.

They do say that Graham’s wines are among the most long-lived, benefitting most from bottle ageing. Here is a rare chance to test that proposition.

What should I drink it with?

Fruit cake, chocolate and hard cheeses.

Visit us in our London Shop at 63 Pall Mall to taste wines from our Enomatic machines.