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Month December 2014

Symington Family Estates – A Heritage House of Port – James Melendez

I am writing about this tasting late but in some respects that is fine–after all Port wines can age gracefully and the memories of these wines linger.  Non-fortified wines are on a time clock and that is a vast majority of wines.  Ports like non-fortified wines can be enjoyed right out of release. And yet for the vintage declared wines become more interesting vintage by vintage and the function of age itself plays a role in further development of a Port wine.

 I was at that Symington Family Estates tasting (2013).  The main stay of this tasting was the 2011 vintage ports of the Symington Family Estates and also treats from the 1955, 1963, 1966, 1970, 1994 vintages were also poured.  

Port like other fortified wines can age gracefully, sterlingly and convincingly.  Many older non-fortified wines I have tasted that are past their prime are often not worth the calories they require to consume.  I have winced at many of these tastings and I am not sure what is worst the perceived audience and wow appeal or the wine itself.

Port has a place at the table and still today many people shun a Port or other fortified wine at evenings edge… perhaps it it is too much consumed already or the usual practice of not expecting anything drives some people to not expect anything more.

Fine Ports place at the table is at once a requisite and true vinified gift.  This Symington tasting was a walk through time and the current release of a vintage year that gives the function of house, vintage and time of tasting.

Here are the wines I was privileged to taste:

  • Cockburn’s 1955 – 9.6 (96 Pts) – Scent: lavender, clove, violets, and rare flower honey; flavour characteristics: Geranium, rose petals, truffle, Cardamom, cinnamon, and a hint of graphite
  • Dow’s 1963 – 9.5 (94 Pts) – Scent: wild lavender, smoke, earth and geranium, flavour characteristics: clover honey, lavender, rose petal and hint of sweet dark chocolate
  • Graham’s 1966 – 9.3 (93 Pts) scent; mix of roasted nuts, smoke, tea and blackberry; flavour characteristics: Blueberry, passionfruit, freshly ground cinnamon, and hint of mild pepper
  • Warre’s 1970 – 9.4 (94/100 Pts) – Scent: nuttiness, earth, rustic wood pile, and leather; flavourcharacteristics: blackberry, pine nuts, toasted almonds
  • Quinta do Vesuvio 1994 – 9.3 (93/100 Pts) – Scent: spice rack, geraniums, and sandalwood; flavour characteristics – 9.3 (93/100 Pts) Scent: violets, spice rack, geranium, and sweet wood; flavour characteristics: tea, truffle, thyme, rose petal and blackberry
  • Cockburn’s 2011
  • Dow’s 2011
  • Graham’s 2011
  • Warre’s 2011
  • Quinta do Vesuvio 2011







– James Melendez


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