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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About James Melendez

II love wine and business. I am obsessed with the subject, the art, the history, the sciences, organization management, and making things less complex I have been a former national wine marketing manager for a large off-premise food and wine retailer (280+ retail locations in 30 US States); the love for wine taught me the good practice of using the best methodologies to right side a business which unto itself is complex. Further complexity is wine. Wine simple to enjoy and yet profoundly complex because of many factors: Many grape varieties States of wine: sparkling, still and fortified wines Vintage Blends Regions/AVAs/DOCs etc. Many producer styles Many producers Limited supply Limited and often restricted distribution My experience is still a lot of intimidation with respect to wine. Wine means many things to many people; status, fear, success, ‘you’ve arrived’, enjoyment, good times, tradition and even ceremony. I have consulted with wine producers and association. I have spoken on Wine and Social Media, Wine and Video and The Business of Wine in conferences in the United States and Europe. Beer and spirits do have the same dynamics–there are many producers but compared to wine there is no other consumer product like it. I have been writing about since November 2006 on my site and I have over 2,890 wine videos on my YouTube channel talking about general wine subject matter as well as specific educational topics on wine and reviews. I have been a wine judge and have traveled to many wine countries in the new and old world. Wine has taken me to great places. Life is tough for most of us and it is nice to celebrate life with those near and even far. What wine is really about is sitting around a table with family and friends raising your wine glass and saying—to life! I love to write about travel, food, technology and business–please subscribe! Salute, *** A plethora of wine reviews from wines regions around the world. Read more of my wine © 2020, 2018, 2017, 2010 James P. Melendez – All Rights Reserved.
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