Warre's Vintage Port 2011
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The history of the Warre family in Portugal dates back to William Warre, who was born in India in 1706, where his parents and grandparents were long established members of the East India Company. In 1729, he arrived in Portugal and became a partner in the export company, Messrs. Clark, Thornton & Warre, which exported Portuguese wine among other goods. By the close of the 18th century, Warre’s had become one of the leading companies in the Port wine trade. His grandson, another William Warre, continued and grew the business while also maintaining an outstanding military career, contributing substantially towards the recovery of Portugal’s independence.
The Symington family’s ancestry in the Port trade spans a period of over 350 years, through 13 generations. They are descended from Andrew James Symington and Beatrice Atkinson who were married in Oporto in 1891. Andrew James arrived as a young man from Scotland in 1882 and was admitted to partnership in the firm of Warre & Co. in 1905 and in 1908 he became the soul owner of Warre & Co. Currently six members of the Symington family (five from the 13th generation in the Port trade) are actively involved in Warre’s day-to-day management, with the dedication and long-term commitment that are unique to a family-run business. From the vineyards through the winemaking, aging, and blending, a member of the family is directly responsible for every bottle of Warre’s Port produced. The family’s commitment to its wines is stronger than ever after 350 years, an unparalleled tradition in the Port trade.
Best known for intense, impressive and age-worthy fortified wines, Portugal relies almost exclusively on its many indigenous grape varieties. Bordering Spain to its north and east, and the Atlantic Ocean on its west and south coasts, this is a land where tradition reigns supreme, due to its relative geographical and, for much of the 20th century, political isolation. A long and narrow but small country, Portugal claims considerable diversity in climate and wine styles, with milder weather in the north and significantly more rainfall near the coast.
While Port (named after its city of Oporto on the Atlantic Coast at the end of the Douro Valley), made Portugal famous, Portugal is also an excellent source of dry red and white wines of various styles.
The Douro Valley produces full-bodied and concentrated dry red wines made from the same set of grape varieties used for Port, which include Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz (Spain’s Tempranillo), Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca and Tinto Cão, among a long list of others in minor proportions.
Other dry wines include the tart, slightly effervescent Vinho Verde white wine, made in the north, and the bright, elegant reds and whites of the Dão as well as the bold, and fruit-driven reds and whites of the southern, Alentejo.
The nation’s other important fortified wine, Madeira, is produced on the eponymous island off the North African coast.
Port is a sweet, fortified wine with numerous styles: Ruby, Tawny, Vintage, Late Bottled Vintage (LBV), White, Colheita, and a few unusual others. It is blended from from the most important red grapes of the Douro Valley, based primarily on Touriga Nacional with over 80 other varieties approved for use. Most Ports are best served slightly chilled at around 55-65°F.