Altano Organic Quinta do Ataide 2011
Altano is produced by the Symingtons, a leading winemaking family of Scottish, English and Portuguese ancestry who have been making Port in the Douro for five generations.
Today, the family own the largest collection of individual vineyards in the Douro Valley – a unique landholding of 26 Quintas in the prime Cima-Corgo and Douro Superior subregions. This sustained strategy of reinvestment in the region’s finest vineyards is unmatched by any producer.
In 1999, Symington Family Estates began producing Douro wines from the same vineyards that had always made great Port. Today, these Douro DOC wines enjoy global distribution and have received widespread recognition for their quality and distinctiveness.
In a region where producers have historically relied on buying grapes, generations of Symington winemakers have put vineyard ownership at the heart of the family’s winemaking philosophy.
The family are strong believers in the Douro’s indigenous grape varieties and producing quality wines that showcase the uniqueness of the region, its terroirs, and natural flavors and aromas.
All Symington vineyards are managed under sustainable viticulture practices which aim for minimum intervention, in order to protect and promote biodiversity, and the family farm the largest organic vineyard in the Douro (112 hectares).
The philosophy of minimum intervention is also followed in the winery, with small batches of grapes being carefully handled with the use of modern technology to safeguard and maximize quality.
The home of Port—perhaps the most internationally acclaimed beverage—the Douro region of Portugal is one of the world’s oldest delimited wine regions, established in 1756. The vineyards of the Douro, set on the slopes surrounding the Douro River (known as the Duero in Spain), are incredibly steep, necessitating the use of terracing and thus, manual vineyard management as well as harvesting. The Douro's best sites, rare outcroppings of Cambrian schist, are reserved for vineyards that yield high quality Port.
While more than 100 indigenous varieties are approved for wine production in the Douro, there are five primary grapes that make up most Port and the region's excellent, though less known, red table wines. Touriga Nacional is the finest of these, prized for its deep color, tannins and floral aromatics. Tinta Roriz (Spain's Tempranillo) adds bright acidity and red fruit flavors. Touriga Franca shows great persistence of fruit and Tinta Barroca helps round out the blend with its supple texture. Tinta Cão, a fine but low-yielding variety, is now rarely planted but still highly valued for its ability to produce excellent, complex wines.
White wines, generally crisp, mineral-driven blends of Arinto, Viosinho, Gouveio, Malvasia Fina and an assortment of other rare but local varieties, are produced in small quantities but worth noting.
With hot summers and cool, wet winters, the Duoro has a maritime climate.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.