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Symington announces first consecutive Vintage Port declaration

Published:  09 April, 2019

The Symington Family Estate has announced 2017 as a Vintage Port year, marking the family’s first ‘back-to-back’ general declaration in its history.

The announcement - only the sixth declaration of the 21st century, is the result of two “very different but extremely high-quality" years for port in the Douro, and comes at the same time as Quinta do Noval announced the declaration of the Quinta do Noval Vintage Port 2017 and the Quinta do Noval Nacional Vintage Port 2017.

Concluding 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, Symington’s head winemaker Charles Symington said he had “never seen a year like 2017 in my 25 years as winemaker in our family vineyards”.

“The yields were extremely low, but the concentration and structure took my breath away. We have made some really remarkable wines.”

The decision to declare Vintage Ports from two consecutive years had not been taken lightly, added chairman Johnny Symington.

“Few wine regions in the world restrict vintage years with such integrity as we do in the Douro. These two exceptionally strong harvests have produced wines of such immense quality that we felt justified in making this historic decision,” he said.

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, with the distinctive conditions experienced throughout 2017 bearing “striking resemblance to the rainfall and temperature patterns of 1945, which is widely considered to be one of the greatest Vintage Ports ever produced”.

Symington 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.