The Symington Family declares the 2007 Quinta do Vesuvio Vintage Port
Vesuvio is the only major Douro quinta to continue to produce its Ports exclusively by traditional treading. Vesuvio Vintage Ports are foot-trodden in the Quinta’s eight magnificent granite lagares, maintaining an unbroken tradition that dates back to 1827. Full complements of 50 treaders worked each lagar during the 2007 vintage.
The late autumn of 2006 saw some very welcome heavy rain replenishing the soil water reserves. The rainfall was such that the river unexpectedly rose early one November morning and caught one of our tractors that had been parked overnight on the track beside the river. Fortunately once the water receded no lasting damage had been done apart from that done to the tractor. This early rainfall was to become even more important in view of the relatively dry winter that followed with below average rainfall in the first three months of 2007.
February was a little warmer than normal and brought forward the vine development. Bud burst was first seen in mid-March, some 3 weeks earlier than normal. This month was beautiful, with crisp clear days although as is normal at Vesuvio, the continental climate of this area resulted in significant temperature variations ranging from a minimum -1ºC one night to a high of 25ºC later in the month. Rainfall was extremely low during this period; only 15mm falling in the entire month.
The spring continued with the typical large temperature variations with 3 days already registering in excess of 30ºC and continuing very low rainfall. Flowering started on 18th May and although we had experienced lovely weather up until then, we unfortunately had some rain and overcast skies during the following week and consequently
suffered from some desavinho (poor fruit set). June and July were very unsettled and we had to be extremely careful in the vineyards to manage any potential fungal infestations. This was largely dealt with by leaf control, cutting back excess growth to allow for better ventilation of the bunches and therefore to avoid the onset of mildew.
The summer continued with unseasonably cool weather throughout August and veraison (colouring of the fruit) was quite delayed. The cool summer however had one great
advantage in that the polyphenolic development of the fruit was well advanced giving every indication of beautifully balanced wines.
VINTAGE: September started with wonderful weather and with temperatures rising. Picking started at Vesuvio on the 14th, a little later than normal but with the fruit in perfect condition. Due to the long and cool growing season we changed the picking
schedule which normally starts with the Barroca. The Touriga Nacional was picked first, and this delivered excellent sugar/acidity balance, the phenolic ripeness being ideal with
sweet ripe tannins and some beautifully aromatic wines. Picking finished with the Touriga Franca and the last grapes came in on 9th October, thus completing a vintage of virtually perfect weather, with long warm days and cool nights.
THE WINE: The Quinta do Vesuvio vineyards are made up of some of the oldest mono-varietal vineyards in the Douro, all planted in the early 1970’s. These vineyards are now in their prime, although naturally the yields are extremely low. All winemaking at Vesuvio is exclusively through the use of foot treading in the traditional granite lagars. For the 2007 vintage we divided one of the lagares in half so as to be able to select
smaller parcels of fruit from within the blocks. The 2007 was selected from an extremely low-yielding parcel of Touriga Nacional, that gave just 0.70Kg per vine. This was fermented in two lots producing a total of 9,000lts and this was blended with a parcel of Touriga Franca sourced from the Ribeira da Teja vineyard at the western extremity of the Quinta that had been picked some 4 weeks later. The yield of the more abundant Touriga Franca was 1.30Kg per vine. The Touriga Franca was vinified at lower temperatures favouring the extraction of floral aromas, so typical of this varietal. The final make up of the
Vesuvio 2007 Vintage Port: 55% Touriga Nacional and 45% Touriga Franca.
The Quinta do Vesuvio 2007 Vintage Port is also significant in that it was the first Vesuvio Vintage Port to be trodden by every single member of the Symington family. This occured
one evening when one of the family members held their birthday at the Quinta on the 5th October when the Touriga Franca was being trodden. We are not sure of the exact numbers, but every working and retired member of the family was present with their families and certainly the total numbered in excess of 20 Symingtons plus their friends. To this large family team must be added the normal treading team of 50.
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