and Quinta da Cavadinha
Visiting the Symingtons in Portugal's Douro Valley, part 2
We began the trip
at Quinta das Netas, which is Paul Symington’s own property, and
where he lives with his wife Jane. It’s one of the Quintas that
provides grapes for Warre’s Port. This is a beautiful spot, at the
top of Cavadinha at an altitude of 350–480 metres, deep in the
Pinhão valley, with views across to Noval. Neighbouring Netas is
Quinta do Alvito, another smaller vineyard, also owned by the
view from Neto
flagship Warre Quinta is known for making elegant wines, and this
leads the house style of Warre. It’s a 30 hectare vineyard, with
altitude ranging from 100–250 metres. There’s also a 2.5 hectare
experimental vineyard here, which we visited with viticulturists
Miles Edlmann and Pedro da Costa. This is where clones and varieties
are trialled, with enough vines to make experimental vinifications.
We had some
discussion about Sousão, a Douro variety that makes unusually deep
coloured wines. I had been under the impression that it was a
teinturier—a red-fleshed variety.
Alicante (above), and Sousao
showed me the difference between Sousão and Alicante Bouschet (a
true red-fleshed variety that is widely grown in the Alentejo, and
which is in the experimental vineyard). By comparison with Alicante,
it’s clear that Sousão is not a teinturier, but just has very
thick, highly pigmented skins that release a lot of colour.
A third of the
vines at Cavadinha are over 30 years old, and over a quarter of the
vines are Touriga Nacional, which is an unusually high proportion
for the Douro.
Other Quintas in
the Warre portfolio are Retiro Antigo in the Rio Torto valley, and
Quinta de Telhada in the Douro Superior, which is a 32 hectare
vineyard with a high proportion of Touriga Nacional (this was
purchased from Cockburn in 2006).
William Warre, who was to found a significant family Port dynasty,
arrived in Portugal in 1829, but the company which bears the Warre
name can trace its history back to 1670, making it the oldest
British-owned Port house. The Symington family became involved in
the late 19th century, and Warre’s is now part of their impressive
portfolio (they bought the last of the Warre family shares in
Otima 10 Year Old Port
An important component here is some wines aged in the Douro.
These age quicker. Fruity and appealing with red cherry fruiy, spice
and raisin. Sweet and rounded with some fruit cake character. 90/100
Quinta de Cavadinha 1996 Douro, Portugal
Lovely aromatics: fresh and cherrish with some tar and spice
notes. Some evolution. The palate is warm, rich, spicy and exotic
with lovely depth of flavour. Fresh with some structure. Delicious.
Quinta de Cavadinha 1999 Douro, Portugal
Dense and earthy with some robust, rustic notes. Dense and
evolved, this doesn’t have the elegance of the 1996.
Quinta da Cavadinha 2004 Douro, Portugal
Lovely purity and finesse here. Very direct with lovely
blackberry and black cherry fruit as well as some spicy notes. Good
density and freshness. 93/100
Quinta da Cavadinha 2006 Douro, Portugal
Nicely intense, aromatic, perfumed black cherry and blackberry
fruit with some meaty notes and good purity. Attractive, spicy and
dense with fresh black fruit character. 93/100
Vintage Port, Douro, Portugal
Just 500 cases made. Lovely aromatics of violet, spice and black
cherry. Floral and quite thrilling. Amazing palate is powerful, rich
and floral, with some attractive peppery notes and nice grip.
There’s finesse and elegance: a beautiful Burgundian-style port.
Part 2, Warre's
and Quinta da Cavadinha
Part 3, Graham's
Part 4, Dow's and
Senhora de Ribera
Part 5, Vesuvio,
foot-treading and mechanical lagares
Part 6, Quinta de
Roriz and the table wines
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