Symington Family Estates Quinta da Fonte Souto Portalegre Branco, Alentejo DOC 2020

Pale gold color; honeysuckle, jasmine, smoke, vanilla on the nose; peach, apricot, citrus, lemon-lime, balsamic, plum, tea on the palate.

Symington Family Estates Quinta da Fonte Souto Portalegre Branco, Alentejo DOC 2020

Dry; creamy, buttery mouthfeel; rich depth. Medium-plus body. Sixty percent of the juice fermented in 132-gallon barrels in contact with fine lees. The final blend aged seven months in French and Central European oak, 50% new, 40% second and third year wood, 10% stainless steel. Excellent acidity frames the experience and bodes well for food pairing (3.24 pH). Blend of 75% arinto—which delivers acidity—and 25% verdelho. 14.5% ABV

Symington acquired the Quinta da Fonte property in 2017. Symington has long been the dominant maker of Porto from Douro and is the largest vineyard owner in the Douro. The Symington Portalegre property—its first outside the Douro Valley—includes 106 acres of mature vineyards at 1,600-1,800 feet above sea level adjacent to the São Mamede National Park that rises to 3,400 feet, the highest mountain range in southern Portugal.

Symington family—Johnny, Rupert, Charles, Paul, Dominic

According to Rupert Symington: “Quinta da Fonte Souto is a wonderful terroir in one of the finest wine making sub-regions of Portugal. We are excited to know that the wines we have made at our estate near Portalegre are of the exacting quality standards that we aspire to in our top Douro estates, while displaying distinct characteristics of the local varietals and soils. The superb quality of this mountain vineyard combined with the success of the region is an ideal platform from which to launch our first red and white wines from outside the Douro.”

Symington Quinta da Fonte Souto vineyard

The 2020 vintage was a testing experience. First there was an early bud break, then a rainy spring that slowed the vine cycle. Higher than average temperatures in June and July caused some delays in maturation, but the altitudes of the vineyards preserved balance and freshness. A cool August augmented maturation. Symington rates 2020 as the most challenging vintage since the purchase of the vineyard.

Because of the complex variations, the harvest lasted two months, from mid-August through mid-October as various blocks presented. The makers note: “There were times when we had to run, others, many, when we had to know how to wait. Each caste, each plot, reacted in its own way to the challenges that followed and attention in the field was fundamental. After such a demanding year, we were surprised by the balance and freshness of the wines, with expressive fruit, which renews our admiration and confidence for the privileged location we have in the Serra de São Mamede.”

Symington Family Estates Quinta da Fonte Souto Portalegre Branco, Alentejo DOC 2020 is rich and delicious with pleasing depth of flavor. Round, smooth, impressive length. Excellent drinker all by itself, excellent acidity makes it versatile for food pairing. Pair with rich seafood, especially bacalhua (salt cod); crab, lobster; dressed salads; marinated antipasto; lighter meats; quail; fish fillets; olive salad; vegetables brochettes; can work with poultry and lighter meats and Portuguese sausages such as chouriço (a heavily smoked sausage made of pork, garlic, paprika, and piri-piri sauce); pork chops. Cheese—fresh, young, lighter cheeses, especially goat cheeses; parmesan; brie; feta; gouda. $18-25

Symington’s Quinta da Fonte Souto website

Winemakers Bruno Prats and Charles Symington
Symington Quinta da Fonte Souto vineyard