by Andrew Chalk
Important news from two of the best houses in Oporto
FROM THE WIRES...
SYMINGTON FAMILY ESTATES ANNOUNCE EXCEPTIONAL BOTTLING AND LIMITED RELEASE OF
TWO ANNIVERSARY EDITION 2020 VINTAGE PORTS FROM GRAHAM’S AND WARRE’S
Graham’s 2020 Bicentenary Edition Vintage Port is a unique blend of co-fermented grapes from high altitude and north-west facing vines across three of its four estates. Warre’s 2020 Vinhas Velhas 350th Anniversary Edition Vintage Port is made exclusively from deep-rooted, horse-ploughed, 80 to 100-year-old mixed vines – for the first time in Warre’s long history.
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., April 14, 2022 – Symington Family Estates, producers of some of the finest Ports in the world for five generations, has announced an exceptional bottling and limited release of two 2020 Anniversary Edition Vintage Ports from Graham’s and Warre's. After reviewing the best wines from their finest properties, Head Winemaker Charles Symington concluded that the Cima Corgo sub-region of the Douro produced the most outstanding wines. These special Vintage Ports mark the historic milestones in 2020 of Graham’s 200th anniversary and Warre’s 350th anniversary. The quality was so exceptional in the Cima Corgo, that they also chose to bottle and release a small quantity of Dow’s Quinta do Bomfim 2020 Vintage Port. The 2020 vintage was the smallest harvest of the 21st century in the Douro Valley and produced incredibly concentrated, well-structured, intensely colored wines in very low quantities; yields across the Symington Family Estates were 21% below the 10-year average.
Graham’s 2020 Bicentenary Edition Vintage Port is a unique blend of co-fermented Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca, co-fermented Sousão and Touriga Nacional (from the prized Stone Terraces at Quinta dos Malvedos), old mixed vines, and Alicante Bouschet. Opulent, intense, and fresh, it has the classic Graham’s hallmarks, together with a unique aromatic complexity and beautifully layered fruit. Just 3,000 bottles (75cl) are being released En Primeur in 2022. The wine is available in a special commemorative edition wooden case of 3 x 75cl, with the bottles carrying the traditional Graham’s Vintage Port label, used for iconic 20th century vintages such as the 1963 and 1970.
Warre’s 2020 Vinhas Velhas 350th Anniversary Edition Vintage Port is made from the magnificent old vines at two of Warre’s estates: Quinta da Cavadinha and Quinta do Retiro. These old mixed vines produced an average yield of just 310g per vine – meaning three vines were needed to produce one bottle of this Vintage Port, when typically, it requires just one vine. The wine is intensely fruit-driven with unparalleled concentration and elegance that belies the conditions of the year. Just 2,400 bottles (75cl) are being released En Primeur in 2022. The wine is available in a special commemorative edition wooden case of 3 x 75cl.
Dow’s Quinta do Bomfim 2020 Vintage Port is produced from the high-lying vineyards at this estate located in the Cima Corgo. The Touriga Franca performed particularly well and showed great resilience to the heat of the year. With its concentrated ripe black fruit, balanced by a shaft of acidity and Dow’s signature long dry finish, this wine represents the essence of Quinta do Bomfim’s unique terroir.
“2020 was an especially challenging year in the Douro. The region saw record heat waves which substantially reduced yields compared to our initial forecasts – around 40% down. Grape varieties that usually ripen sequentially needed to be picked at the same time. We adapted to the conditions and picked parcels by their altitude and co-fermented select varieties together, producing incredibly complex and concentrated wines. I am very proud of the two limited Graham’s and Warre’s 2020 Vintage Ports. These wines demonstrate the benefit of our family’s multi-generational knowledge of our estates and their microclimates, allowing us to produce such elegant wines in a year like 2020. I believe they are a fitting tribute to Graham’s 200 years and Warre’s 350 years and are destined to take their place among the greatest Vintage Ports from these two historic Port houses.” – Charles Symington, Head Winemaker.
Video: Charles Symington on the 2020 Vintage Ports
En Primeur release in 2022:
Graham’s 2020 Bicentenary Edition 2020 Vintage Port – 3,000 bottles (75cl)
Warre’s 2020 Vinhas Velhas 350th Anniversary Edition 2020 Vintage Port – 2,400 bottles (75cl)
Dow’s Quinta do Bomfim 2020 Vintage Port – 1,200 bottles (75cl)
About Symington Family Estates -- The Symingtons of Scottish, English and Portuguese descent have been Port producers in northern Portugal since 1882. For five generations they have combined their passion for producing premium Ports and wines with a deep commitment to the region’s land and people. Today ten Symingtons work across their four famous Port houses – Graham’s, Cockburn’s, Dow’s and Warre’s – as well as their Douro wine projects – Quinta do Vesuvio, Quinta do Ataíde, Altano and Prats & Symington (of Chryseia fame) – and a new venture, Quinta da Fonte Souto in the Alto Alentejo.
Symington Family Estates is a leading premium Port producer and the family is the leading vineyard owners in the Douro Valley, with 26 Quintas covering over 6,000 acres and over 2,700 acres of vineyard. Their vineyards are managed under sustainable viticulture practices and 320 acres are organically farmed, the largest area of organic vineyards in the Douro. In 2019 Symington Family Estates became the first winery in Portugal to achieve B Corp certification. Symington Family Estates is unique amongst the major Port companies in that each working family member farms their own vineyard, alongside those under the family’s joint company ownership.