Symington family declares the 2011 Vintage Port

news: Symington family declares the 2011 Vintage Port

The Symington family has declared 2011 as a Vintage year. This is only the third Vintage Port declaration for all the Symington’s Port companies since 2000.

In a press statement, the Symington family said: “The 2011 Vintage Ports are of an exceptional quality and are expected to age superbly over the coming decades. The weather is the decisive factor in creating outstanding wines in the Douro and the strong winter rains in late 2010 were crucial. April and May 2011 were unusually warm and, combined with some rainfall, resulted in a reduction in the overall production of the region.”

The warm spring encouraged early budburst, flowering and veraison. Similar conditions occurred across most of Europe, leading to predictions of a harvest several weeks before normal. It was clear in the Douro, however, that although the sugars were rising in the berries, the tannins were unripe as there was insufficient humidity in the soil to allow grapes to fully mature.

Only 25mm of rain fell in May, June and July 2011 compared to the average of 97mm, so by mid-August the vines were showing signs of stress. On August 21, rain swept in from the west and over the Serra do Marão, and again on September 1 and 2. “This beautifully timed rain was perfect for those producers who had the courage to avoid the early rush, and was followed by a succession of fine sunny weeks well into October. The scene was set for the making of superb Ports,” continued the press statement.

“The 2011 Vintage Ports have an exceptional depth of colour and concentration, rarely seen in the Douro, and with marked minerality from the schistous Douro soil. The palate has superb balance, with a powerful and rich bitter-chocolate taste, in hand with wild berry fruit, supported by well-structured and schist-edged tannins that will give these wines the traditional longevity for which the great Vintage Ports are so famous.”

All of the Symington family’s 2011 Vintage Ports were made in lagares (open treading tanks) and all the grapes came from the family’s own vineyards. Selection has been rigorous and only the finest barrels have been chosen, so the quantity bottled represents a very small proportion of the production of the family vineyards. For example the Graham’s 2011 Vintage Port represents 8,000 cases (9%) out of the potential 88,850 cases produced at the five Graham’s vineyards.