NV Graham 10 YO Tawny

Tasting notes for individual Ports, with an index sorted by vintage and alphabetically.
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Tasting notes for individual Ports, with an index sorted by vintage and alphabetically.
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rich_n
Niepoort LBV
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NV Graham 10 YO Tawny

Post by rich_n » 16:46 Tue 05 Jan 2021

Further exploration of 10 YO tawny ports. Sadly not up to the standards I would expect from a highly respected port house such as this. A port that's maybe aimed at the supermarket a little too much, this is rather simple compared to other 10 year old tawnies that I've tried. There are some nutty, raisin notes and a little toffee, alongside some nondescript red berries, but there's just no oomph here.

Not a port I think I'll rush back to (although it seems I do have another bottle in the cellar, so maybe that will yield more postive results).

Glenn E.
Dalva Golden White Colheita 1952
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Re: NV Graham 10 YO Tawny

Post by Glenn E. » 18:28 Tue 05 Jan 2021

rich_n wrote:
16:46 Tue 05 Jan 2021
Sadly not up to the standards I would expect from a highly respected port house such as this.
Most of the "big names" in the Port business built their reputations producing Vintage Port, especially when said reputations are viewed from the UK. The best producers of wood-aged Ports either do not have significant reputations outside of true Port geeks (i.e. DR, Krohn, Lamelas, Mourao, Vista Alegre), or built them elsewhere (i.e. Kopke, Niepoort). The lone exception with regard to reputation is perhaps Quinta do Noval, but that producer is unique in many ways not just in that it is famous for both VP and Colheita.

Historically, very few producers have been known for producing both high-quality VP and high-quality wood-aged Ports. I might personally limit that list to Niepoort and Quinta do Noval, but others might expand the list slightly. (I may have also forgotten one or two, but the point remains.)

So, unfortunately, the producers with the best reputations in the UK are likely the classic VP producers, which means that they're not likely to produce top quality wood-aged Ports.

Taylor has tried to fix that, which they've done not by committing decades to learning how to produce top quality wood-aged Port, but rather by purchasing Wiese & Krohn and their stocks. Hopefully they've brought across the institutional knowledge as well or in the long run the purchase may have been in vain.
Glenn Elliott

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JacobH
Dow 1980
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Re: NV Graham 10 YO Tawny

Post by JacobH » 23:26 Tue 05 Jan 2021

I think there are a few things going on here.

Firstly, what Rich posted in his Dow 10-year-old TN—that his friends expressed a preference for that over a LBV—seems to me to be quite a common experience. Whilst :tpf: members might not like the average supermarket 10-year-old, they seem to do very well with civilians. I’m not quite sure what causes that!

Secondly, I think a 10-year-old tawny is quite a hard wine to produce since it is probably just a bit too young for fully developed secondary flavours, unless you take the age quite a bit above 10 years or use excessively weak and pale wines; neither of which is terrible good for selling large quantities to the supermarkets.

Finally, Glenn is right that many of the major producers of Vintage and ruby Ports aren’t known for their tawnies. I have been thinking about this recently, and I wonder if many of the wine makers in these companies just aren’t as interested in the tawny Ports as they are in the Vintages? For example, I am struck that whilst it is clear the winemakers in the TFP love being able to contrast the styles of Taylor and Fonseca when making VP, they don’t even try with the tawnies since the oldest Fonseca is a 20-year-old. The situation is even more stark with the Symingtons. Despite owning, 9½ port brands, I think they only make a single 40-year-old tawny (Graham’s) and two 30-year-olds (Graham’s and Dow’s). Considering that some quite small players can make all sorts of old tawnies, I am sure that if they wanted to they could make quite a lot in contrasting styles but just aren’t that interested.
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JacobH
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Re: NV Graham 10 YO Tawny

Post by JacobH » 23:30 Tue 05 Jan 2021

Incidentally, if I wanted a 10-year-old house Port, I would go for the Alta Nº 10 by Quinta da Pedra Alta. It’s a touch more expensive—£25 for 50cl or £22.50 if you buy 6—but I would take that over paying £21 a bottle for the Graham 10-year-old.
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Glenn E.
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Re: NV Graham 10 YO Tawny

Post by Glenn E. » 00:52 Wed 06 Jan 2021

In the past I have found Ramos Pinto's Quinta da Ervamoira 10 YO and Niepoort's 10 YO to be quite good for the category, so if those can be found in London they're also worth a try.
Glenn Elliott

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JacobH
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Re: NV Graham 10 YO Tawny

Post by JacobH » 12:54 Wed 06 Jan 2021

Those are good suggestions. I haven’t tried the RP for years: the brand doesn’t really have a big presence in the UK.

The price of the Niepoort has really shot up in the UK. It’s probably the most expensive 10-year-old these days. Whilst you can get it for about £32.50, the usual prices are about £35-£38 which would put it outside a “house port” category for me, I think.
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rich_n
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Re: NV Graham 10 YO Tawny

Post by rich_n » 10:17 Thu 14 Jan 2021

Thanks for the recommendations and info here, this is useful to know! It's intriguing that what you've mentioned about the better tawny producers being mostly entirely different to rubies hasn't generally translated to what is seen in supermarkets - maybe because the buyers aren't as knowledgable as they should/could be?

I'll continue to explore the options, I'm keen to just try the various options and see what I find - tawny is a style where I generally don't think I have overly expensive tastes so while I'm a fan of the longer aged wines I find that there are definitely 10YO tawnies that I enjoy well enough too (at least from my experiences of drinking them in restaurants).

Glenn E.
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Re: NV Graham 10 YO Tawny

Post by Glenn E. » 17:40 Thu 14 Jan 2021

rich_n wrote:
10:17 Thu 14 Jan 2021
Thanks for the recommendations and info here, this is useful to know! It's intriguing that what you've mentioned about the better tawny producers being mostly entirely different to rubies hasn't generally translated to what is seen in supermarkets - maybe because the buyers aren't as knowledgable as they should/could be?
Definitely. I suspect that most supermarket buyers are actually fairly limited in their experience, probably focused primarily on what their distributors have to offer. If the bulk of the Tawny Ports that you've tasted are from TFP and SFE, you're probably going to think that Taylor and Graham make pretty darn good Tawny Port. In fact you're probably going to think that Taylor and Graham are pretty special because they have 30 and 40 Year Old Tawny Ports, as well as fancy ~~Colheitas~~ Single Harvest Tawnies, which IIRC none of the other TFP/SFE brands have.
Glenn Elliott

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