Symington Family Estates makes claim as the leading producer of high quality port wine: aggregate sales volume of its companies amount to more than one third of all production of port sold in the world. Is that possible? I cast a glance at my bar: three bottles of port. One of them is Graham’s, a property of Symington. No science at work here, just statistics. The truth is, among the quintas (vineyards) held by the company, one finds such prestigious brands as: Dow’s, Warre’s, Smith Woodhouse, Quinta do Vesuvio, Quinta dos Canais, Quinta de Roriz, and Quinta do Vale da Perdiz (in collaboration with Bruno Prats). But who confers such prestige? In 2009, at the International Wine Challenge, the estate won five gold medals in blind tastings. In recent years, Warre’s LBV (Late Bottled Vintage) Port, one of its flagship products, has won virtually every LBV tasting organized by Wine Spectator, Decanter, Wine Magazine, and Revista de Vinhos. In a Wine Spectator article on great wines of our time (the 250 Best of the Decade (1996-2006), six Symington Family Estate products were identified. Another small measure of this wine family’s excellence? Peter Symington has had the honour of being nominated six times as Fortified Wine Maker of the Year at the International Wine Challenge, and his son, Charles, received the same distinction in 2003. Enough said!
None of this should come as any surprise since every member of this wine family was born into a port wine cask. The Symington Family descendants of Scottish founders, Andrew James Symington and Beatrice Atkinson, have been producing wine since the seventeenth century, and span 13 generations, naturally situating the family among the Primum Familae Vini, whose members include the most prestigious names in the field of wine production in the world, such as Antinori, Torres, and Mouton Rothschild. The Symingtons were responsible for the revival of vintage port on world markets following the Second World War. They pioneered the development of wine production techniques in the Douro through installation of modern cellars in the region; and elaborated the concept of temperature control of fermentation-must, a technique essential to the production of great port. They also introduced innovative robotic presses, to precisely reproduce the physical-force profile of human feet working in the traditional stone presses, resulting in an even better wine. It’s evident that Symington is a name that counts, and which improves with age, like a good port wine!
Symington Family Estates , symington.com
By: Pierre Deschênes