27 September, 2020
W. & J. Graham’s “Six Grapes” Special River Quintas Edition Reserve PortoPosted in : Fortified Wine, Port on by : becca
W. & J. Graham’s “Six Grapes” Special River Quintas Edition Reserve Porto
For those of us who love travel, the last half year has built our wanderlust into a growing, gnawing creature of torment. Yes, my horror writer side crafted that description. 😉 But it’s apt—the longing to visit countries I’ve yet to explore is so real and so strong.
Luckily, well-crafted wine brings a taste of its mother country with it through the magic of terroir! So I was more than willing to try W. & J. Graham’s “Six Grapes” Special River Quintas Edition Reserve Porto, and with it take a journey on the Tua River in the heart of the Douro Valley in Portugal.
Obligatory disclaimer: This wine was free to me to sample for this blog.
I’ve never been to Portugal, but it is high on my list of places I must visit, and not just because I adore Port. Though let’s not pretend that isn’t a factor. 😉 The others are the sheer beauty of the country and the chance that some of my ancestors hailed from Portugal, in addition to Spain, before migrating to the Americas five hundred years ago.
“Six Grapes” is a W. & J. Graham’s label that I’ve discussed in a past review. Here’s a quick refresher: Six Grapes Ports are made from the highest quality grapes in W. & J. Graham’s holdings, ones that might be used for a Vintage Port in times when a vintage year is declared. When it’s not, some of those grapes find their destiny in Six Grapes bottlings instead.
This special River Quintas edition of Six Grapes is made from such grapes. It comes, in equal parts, from two vintages from Quinta Tua’s Old Terraces vineyard and one from Quinta dos Malvedos Vinha dos Barcos. Two legendary Port winemakers, Charles Symington and Henry Shotton, crafted this wine. Both vineyards lie “low and close to the [Douro] river and its tributaries [e.g., the Tua River],” as the Port and Douro Wines Institute has judged necessary for producing first-rate Port. Thus River Quintas, as the Tua River meets wonderful wine-growing estates, quintas in Portuguese, on its banks.
This Port smells of warm strawberry preserves. I find I appreciate strawberry notes more in Port than in red wine. Crème anglaise and white chocolate join in. While sipping, a good amount of alcohol heat comes forward, but the strawberry is so plentiful, you can dive into its depths to soothe it. Darker fruits mingle as the wine airs: tart huckleberry and a mulberry earthiness that takes me to the stone terraces surrounding Quinta Tua’s vineyards—I imagine those berry patches spilling over their tops. There’s an herbal element that I want to peg as annatto and fresh cumin. Those also tie my journey via glass back to the land and soil from whence the wine came.
White chocolate notes linger on the finish, impressing on me a different sort of trip, one to Willy Wonka’s factory. I assure you that this medium-bodied Port leads to a much pleasanter, and less dangerous end than that story grants. All the luxurious fun, none of the booby traps.
The suggested retail price for W. & J. Graham’s “Six Grapes” Special River Quintas Edition Reserve Porto is USD $42. You can learn more about it at the W. & J. Graham’s website, or purchase it from Wine.com here. Enjoy your journey.
Reviewed 1 September 2020.