Hopes high for a vintage Port yearBy Gabriel Stone
Could 2015 prove a vintage year for Port? Symington Family Estates has pointed to “potentially outstanding” quality as it prepares to start harvest next week.
While describing the 2015 maturation period as “the hottest and driest of the last 36 years,” the company noted the “crucial” abundance of water reserves in the soil after “abundant” rain earlier in the season.
Despite this heat, Symington reported an “unseasonably cool” August, helping the grapes to mature with the right balance of sugar and acidity.
In particular, the company, which has the largest vineyard holdings in the Douro and owns houses including Dow’s, Warre’s, Cockburn’s and Graham’s, highlighted the quality of its Touriga Franca.
Describing this late-ripening grape as “one of the most dependable quality barometers for any harvest in the Douro,” the company added: “When the Touriga Franca delivers its full potential, this is more often than not the harbinger of a vintage year – that was true of the great 2011 and 2007 vintages and many of the preceding classic vintages of the twentieth century.”
In addition, Symington noted the small bunches and berries across its many grape varieties, a sign of “structured and concentrated wines.”
With “ideal temperate conditions” for the final stages of ripening, the company confirmed a plan to begin harvesting its Port grapes on 7 September, about a week ahead of last year, which was shaped by periods of heavy rainfall.
In conclusion, Symington commented: “A very good year for both Port and Douro DOC wines is a real prospect at this early stage, although a great deal depends on the weather over the next few weeks.”