Summer is finally here meaning longer lighter evenings, with the hope of clear skies. The perfect drink to accompany an evening like this is White Port which the Portuguese have savoured for centuries. Served chilled neat or as a long drink, it makes for a pleasant night.
The Graham brothers William and John located their company in Porto where they traded textiles until 1820. They then accepted 27 barrels of Port to pay a debt. The two decided to produce the drink themselves, forming Graham’s Port house. In 1970 the Symington family took over ownership of Graham’s.
Like regular Port, White Port is fortified wine just made from green grapes, including Sercial and Malvasia Fina. The production processes are similar, although in White Port making there is little or no maceration period.
A neutral grape spirit is introduced, and its high volume of alcohol of about 77% kills off the yeast stopping the fermentation process. This leaves a sweet drink high in alcohol and sugar.
Often White Port is only aged for 18 months with some up to three years but never more. Just like fine Wine and Brandy producers like to age their White Port with some companies having 40 years old vintages.
Lagrima meaning Tears is the sweetest of White Ports, and the name comes from the viscosity of the liquid which sticks to the side of the glass when swirled. This level of Port is generally kept within Portugal, rarely exported.
Hand-picked grapes are cold fermented in small batches with the resulting liquid being bottled after three months of being harvested to produce Blend No 5. This speed preserves freshness, and Graham’s recommend drinking it young. The wine is medium-dry, deliberately designed to mix well with tonic while also being an excellent standalone drink.
Due to Graham’s Blend No5’s micro-production (less than 6000 bottles), and the popularity of premium Port in the UK, Blend No5 is only currently available to the UK market.
It might be old fashioned, but I enjoyed the white Port with a splash of lemonade and a slice of lemon. A classic for a reason, simple yet tasty. How you decided to drink the Blend No 5, I am positive you will enjoy it as much as me.
Graham’s Blend Number 5 White Port – Where and how?
Graham’s Blend Number 5 White Port is available from leading retailers including Master of Malt, John Lewis and The Whiskey Exchange. For more information, visit the official Graham’s website at www.grahams-port.com.
Read more wines and spirits articles, reviews and guides in our dedicated section here.