The announcement - only the sixth declaration of the 21st century - concludes a period of intense discussion within the wine trade as to whether 2017 would warrant a full declaration, given the quality of the critically acclaimed 2016 Vintage Ports and the rarity of declarations. The first consecutive declaration by our family is a milestone moment in our long history and is the result of two very different but extremely high-quality years for port in the Douro.
The 2017 wines were the result of an advanced growing cycle which led to the earliest harvest ever recorded in our family’s 137-year history as winemakers and port producers. Warmer, drier conditions than usual resulted in small, compact bunches of grapes in excellent condition, with yields amongst the lowest of the century so far, 20% below the 10-year average.
Despite the harvest beginning in August, the maturations were perfectly balanced, resulting in wines characterised by extraordinary intensity, concentration and structure, combined with stunning aromas and freshness.
We have produced 2017 Vintage Ports from across our flagship Douro Quintas, and 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.
The flagship Warre vineyards at Quinta de Cavadinha in the Pinhão valley are relatively high, resulting in cooler temperatures and later picking dates than the lower-lying vines in the main Douro valley. Also included in the Warre’s 2017 are grapes from higher altitude vineyards at Quinta do Retiro in the Rio Torto and Quinta das Netas and Quinta do Alvito. These privileged locations were of great value in the very dry and warm conditions of 2017, and the Vintage Ports made in the specialist lagar winery at Cavadinha are remarkably balanced and structured, with Warre’s trademark elegance and liveliness.
Only 3,600 nine litre cases were bottled.