The Symington family are pleased to announce 2017 as a Vintage Port year, making this their first ever ‘back-to-back’ general declaration since Andrew James Symington arrived in Porto in 1882.
The announcement – only the sixth declaration of the 21st century – concludes a period of intense speculation within the wine trade as to whether 2017 would warrant a full declaration, given the quality of the critically acclaimed 2016 vintage and the rarity of Vintage Port declarations. The first ever consecutive declaration for the Symington family is a milestone moment in their long history and is the result of two very different but extremely high-quality years for port in the Douro.
The 2017 wines were the result of an advanced growing cycle which led to the earliest harvest ever recorded in the Symington family’s 137-year history as winemakers and port producers. Warmer, drier conditions than usual resulted in small, compact bunches of grapes in excellent condition, with yields amongst the lowest of the century so far, 20% below the 10-year average. Despite the harvest beginning in August, the maturations were perfectly balanced, resulting in wines characterised by extraordinary intensity, concentration and structure, combined with stunning aromas and freshness.
The Symingtons have produced 2017 Vintage Ports from across their flagship Douro estates, and will shortly be offering limited quantities (by allocation en primeur) of Graham’s, Dow’s, Warre’s and Cockburn’s as well as Quinta do Vesuvio, Graham’s ‘The Stone Terraces’ and Capela da Quinta do Vesuvio. The 2017 is just the fourth release of the latter two, which are only produced in truly exceptional years. Given the very low-yielding year, the 2017 Vintage Port is the smallest Symington declaration of the 21st century, with en primeur volumes approximately a third less than in 2016.
The distinctive conditions experienced throughout 2017 bear striking resemblance to the rainfall and temperature patterns of 1945, which is widely considered to be one of the greatest Vintage Ports ever produced. Both years had advanced growing cycles with low rainfalls balanced by less extreme summer heat, resulting in early harvests with extremely low yields of grapes in excellent condition.
The Symington family will be showing their 2017 Vintage Ports at a launch event in Portugal on 11th April, followed by the UK and the USA in May, and other countries during the course of the year.
“In my 25 years as a winemaker in our family vineyards, I have never seen a year like 2017. The yields were extremely low, but the concentration and structure took my breath away. We have made some really remarkable wines.” Charles Symington, Head Winemaker at Symington Family Estates
“Few wine regions in the world restrict vintage years with such integrity as we do in the Douro. The decision to declare Vintage Ports from two consecutive years was not one taken lightly. However, these two exceptionally strong harvests have produced wines of such immense quality that we felt justified in making this historic decision.” Johnny Symington, Chairman at Symington Family Estates
For detailed information on each wine see The Vintage Port Site: