An ultra-exclusive port, the Graham’s Tawny 1952, is being released with royal approval for the Diamond Jubilee.
The 60-year-old is a colheita – a dated tawny – and its very existence is down to good fortune: most wines from that year would have been blended into 30- and 40-year-old tawnys.
Only six pipes, about 350 cases or 4200 bottles, remain in the Graham’s cellars. Graham’s will release 1000 bottles to start with, as well as six jeroboams.
Johnny Symington, joint managing director of the 350-year-old family company that owns Graham’s, told Decanter.com he and his fellow directors tasted the oldest wines, including the 1961 and the 1969, in November last year.
‘We called up the 52 and said, “This is fantastic”. We decided then and there that this would be the wine to release for the Jubilee.’
Berry Bros and Rudd has been given exclusivity for sales. Because the wine is exactly the same age as the Queen’s tenure on the throne, royal approval was given to include on the label the words ‘To commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II’.
The 1952 has lain in the company cellars undisturbed for the last six decades, except for a racking once every seven to 10 years. It is so fresh, Symington said, ‘if it wasn’t for the Diamond Jubilee we would probably leave it a few more years.’
He said the fact that six pipes of the 1952 remain is fortuitous, as ‘it might have been used up. Normally old colheitas are used for blending – we don’t market them. It’s very unusual to release a tawny this old.’
Although 1952 was not declared as a vintage, Symington said there have been some ‘superb’ wines from undeclared years.
Simon Field MW, Berry’s port buyer, described the wine as ‘a timeless elixir, with…extraordinary aromatic intensity [and] notes of molasses, dried apricot, figs and clove…dignifed and profound.’
The port is available exclusively through Berry Brothers at £275 a bottle, in three-bottle oak cases at £825, and in five jeroboams (4.5 litres) at £1,800.
Written by Adam Lechmere