Symington family launch ‘Library Release’ of four Vintage Ports

Symington Family Estates - 2024-06-26

Limited quantities of Dow’s, Graham’s and Warre’s 2003 Vintage Ports and Quinta do Vesúvio 1995 Vintage Port are being released from the family’s cellars in a new presentation reflecting the provenance and care of the wines as they aged over several decades.

The Symington family are introducing a new approach to how they re-release the limited quantities of Vintage Ports that they hold back for long-term ageing. Releases of Vintage Ports between 20 to 30 years of age have been given the term ‘Library Release’ to indicate that bottles have matured in perfect conditions in the family’s cellars.

The labels of these Library Releases have been redesigned to distinguish them from the initial en primeur release. Each port house has drawn on its heritage and historical aesthetic to create distinct labels and gift boxes that convey key messages about the wine. For the very first time, these labels state the number of years that the wine has spent ageing in bottle in the family’s cellars. This is shown together with the bottling and release dates. There is also an indication that this is the second time the Vintage Port is being formally released, following the initial launch 2-3 decades ago. As part of the family’s meticulous approach to ageing Vintage Port, these Library Releases have been carefully recorked to guarantee quality, and the labels display the year in which the process was completed.

The family have chosen to launch Library Releases of one of the finest classic Vintage Port years this century – 2003 Dow’s, Graham’s and Warre’s, which were widely acclaimed at the time of release. The very hot and low-yielding year produced exceptional wines with incredible body and depth. With almost 20 years ageing in bottle in the Symington cellars, these wines have developed greater complexity and are exciting to enjoy now, whilst retaining considerable ageing potential.

The 2003s are being launched alongside a Library Release of Quinta do Vesúvio 1995 Vintage Port – the seventh harvest for the family since their acquisition of the magnificent Douro estate in 1989. Peter Symington, Head Winemaker at the time, is particularly proud of this wine and believes it is one of the finest he made in the early years of the family’s ownership. 1995 also marks the year his son, Charles (now Head Winemaker) joined the family company. Now with 27 years of bottle age, the Vesúvio 1995 is showing beautifully with great finesse.

“We are thrilled to be launching our new Library Release concept with four exciting Vintage Ports from Dow’s, Graham’s, Warre’s and Quinta do Vesúvio. Following each Vintage Port en primeur release, our family has always held back a small quantity for ageing in our cellars and releasing decades later. What we are doing differently now is distinguishing these Library Releases from the first launch and emphasising that these bottles have matured in perfect conditions in our own cellars. Our third phase of Vintage Port release is when the wines reach extraordinary levels of maturity after 40-60 years of ageing and we launch a handful of numbered bottles in what we term our Private Cellar Release.” 

– Harry Symington, Vintage Port Manager.


Wine Spectator 

2003 Vintage Port Reviews | January 2024

By James Molesworth, Senior Editor, and lead Vintage Port taster:

Dow’s 2003 Vintage Port – 95 Points

This offers up a hedonistic experience, with coffee can bread, ganache, sweet tobacco, steeped plum, blackberry and açaí berry fruit notes. 

Graham’s 2003 Vintage Port – 96 Points

This muscular and strapping Port is laden with warmed black currant reduction and black cherry pâte de fruit notes that meld steadily with a range of melted licorice snap, fruitcake and ganache flavors. 

Warre’s 2003 Vintage Port – 95 Points

Offers a lushly textured set of crushed plum, currant preserves and mulled black cherry notes driving along, staying refined and focused.


These Library Release Vintage Ports will be available from September 2024.  

Text by Symington Family Estates · Published 2024-06-26
© Symington Family Estates

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