"Our friends in the PFV have shown us more clearly than ever what can be achieved in terms of transforming the total dedication of a family to their business into winemaking excellence".
- Paul Symington -
A strong Family Commitment
The Symingtons have been Port producers for five generations since 1882 but they can trace their family's involvement in the Port trade back fourteen generations to 1652 through their ancestor Beatrice Atkinson. Symington Family Estates is the only leading Port company in the hands of one family.
Five members of the family work together, caring for the vineyards and the wine making for four of the greatest Port houses; Graham's, Cockburn's, Dow's and Warre's. The Symingtons also own five small specialist Port houses including the legendary Quinta do Vesuvio, Portugal's greatest wine estate.
The family's Port companies account for over 30% of world sales of Premium Port, making them the leading quality Port producers.
The family is by far the largest owner of vineyards in the historic Douro Valley, with a magnificent collection of 25 Quintas comprising 1,769 hectares (4,370 acres) of land with 940 hectares (2,322 acres) of vineyard. Many of the Douro's greatest vineyards belong to the family: Quinta do Vesuvio, Malvedos, Bomfim, Cavadinha, Sra Ribeira, Tua, Canais, Retiro and Roriz (the latter together with the Prats of Bordeaux). The family is unique amongst all the leading Port companies in that the Symington family directors also own and farm their own vineyards.
At the major international wine competitions and tastings the Symington family's Ports have consistently outperformed all other producers by a substantial margin, winning more awards than any other.
The Symington family has led the way in innovation with research in Douro viticulture and the development of the robotic treading lagares, the most significant advance in the production of premium quality Ports in half a century.
The Symingtons are amongst the pioneers who are developing the great red DOC wines of the Douro, producing such wines as Chryseia (with the Prats family), Quinta do Vesuvio and the Altano range. Chryseia was the first Portuguese wine ever to appear on the Wine Spectator list of the 100 Best Wines of the World.
The family commitment to their wines is stronger than ever after fourteen generations and 350 years, an unparalleled tradition in the Port trade.
Symington Family Estates is the leading vineyard owner in the Douro valley with 947 hectares (2,322 acres) of vines at 26 Quintas. One of their principle properties is the famed Graham's Quinta dos Malvedos vineyard, acquired in 1890 and acknowledged as one of the Upper Douro's finest vineyards.
Quinta dos Malvedos is situated in the Upper Corgo region near Tua, between Pinhão and the Valeira dam, on the north bank of the Douro River. Its south facing vineyards, ensuring prolonged exposure to the sun results in excellent ripening of the grapes during the growing season, essential to the production of the finest Port. The consistent climate in this part of the valley is reflected in the supreme quality of the wines produced in most years. The 10 year annual average rainfall at the Quinta is 658mm. The soil's main component is schist, a laminated slate-like rock.
Due to its south-facing exposure, its perfect altitude for ripening grapes and an ideal position by the Douro River, this vineyard produces full-bodied wines that are rich and very complex. The floral characteristics are of eucalyptus and mint with soft violet overtones when young. With 36% of the vineyard being Touriga Franca, the wines have a deep purple-black colour and great depth of fruit with fine violet and floral aromas. Touriga Nacional makes up 29% of the vineyard, bringing flavours of cassis, mulberry and blackberries. Therefore with over 64% of the entire vineyard devoted to Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca, it is not surprising that the Malvedos wines are amongst the very finest that the entire Douro region can produce. In virtually every year full ripeness is achieved, giving fine Baumé readings and consequently the classic Graham's richness. This is balanced by well-structured tannins from the Tinta Roriz, and fine body and structure from the Barroca. The rich complexity of the Malvedos wines has been a defining characteristic of the best Graham's Ports for over 100 years and are the origin of some of the greatest Vintage Ports ever made.
For more information, please visit the Symington website: www.symington.com