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2010 Vintage

Symington Family Estates have released two Quinta Vintage Ports en Primeur:  the Dow's Quinta da Senhora da Ribeira and Quinta do Vesuvio.  In addition, Quinta Vintage Ports for Graham’s Quinta dos Malvedos, Dow’s Quinta do Bomfim, Warre’s Quinta da Cavadinha and Cockburn’s Quinta dos Canais will be bottled and laid down in our cellars for later release.

Viticultural and Weather Conditions

After three very dry years, the Douro had an absolute deluge during the winter of 2009/2010 . By the end of March 2010 we had had rainfall in excess of 100 mm per month for six straight months – a first since our records began in 1967.

We therefore entered the summer with good water reserves deep in the ground, which served us well. We had no rain at all in July and August, not one millimetre for more than 8 weeks, and in August the average daily temperature was over 35° C. The lush canopy of leaves which developed early in the season helped to shade the bunches, but vines cease to photosynthesise when temperatures are over 35° C, so maturation was slowed, though the vines showed surprisingly little stress, due to the winter’s water reserves.

Picking began a little later than usual, 13th September at Quinta do Vesuvio, the 16th at nearby Sra da Ribeira, Telhada and Vale Coelho, and also at Quinta do Tua, further down river. On the 20th we began picking at Malvedos, Bomfim and Retiro, and Cavadinha, as usual the outlier given its cooler position and higher altitude in the Pinhão Valley, began on the 23rd.

We had near perfect weather throughout the harvest, a few dark clouds some afternoons but no real rain except the night of 3rd October.

Winemaker's Overview

It appears at this early stage (some tanks are still fermenting) that the Touriga Franca, always a late ripener, has performed less well in some vineyards this year. Franca did not like the conditions in some areas, but in others it was very fine. But the excellence of the Nacional has more than made up for this. Charles wrote ‘the wait was well worthwhile, the Nacional musts being well balanced with good colour, producing wines with very elegant aromas’. Our winemaking teams have made some very good Ports this year.

Paul Symington
17 October 2010

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