In a nutshell: A crisp, balanced and fruity Portuguese white blend from the Douro Valley.
The lowdown: The rugged Douro in the north of Portugal is most famous for being the home of Port, but there are more and more good quality still wines coming from here these days of which this zesty white blend is a good example. It's made by the Symington Family who are the producers of illustrious ports such as Grahams, Cockburns, Warres and Dows so it means there's a pedigree behind it. It's grown at high altitudes, in the Baixo Corgo area of the Douro where the climate is slightly cooler and this better for getting the best out of white grape. Local varieties such as Malvasia Fina, Rabigato and Codega do Larinho, among others are what go into this blend and it produces a crisp and fresh, zesty and aromatic wine with a welcome softness and body to it that makes for a well balanced and enoyable mouthful.
When to drink: With its subtle weight and freshness it makes great stand-alone drinking. It will also pair well with fish, white meats and light pasta dishes.
Symington Family Estates is an entirely family-owned and managed company and is one of the leading quality Port producers who are based in Oporto and responsible for the making of approximately 32% of all premium Port categories. Five of the family, Paul, Johnny, Rupert, Dominic and Charles work together maintaining the vineyards and making the wines of their four historic Port houses: Graham's, Cockburn's, Dow's and Warre's. The family also own Quinta do Vesúvio, one of Portugal's greatest vineyard estates. Paul's daughter Charlotte and Rupert's sister Clare also work with the family in the UK.
The Symingtons conduct extensive research into Douro viticulture and winemaking in their experimental vineyards at Quinta da Cavadinha in the Pinhão Valley, at Quinta do Bomfim in the main Douro Valley and at their 'Vine Library' at Quinta do Ataíde in the Vilariça Valley. In the past the family developed the modern treading lagares, which became the most significant advance in the production of premium quality Ports for many years.
They have also been amongst the pioneers in the development of Douro DOC wines, producing Chryseia, Post Scriptum and Prazo de Roriz with the Prats family of Bordeaux, as well as other Symington Douro wines from Quinta do Vesúvio, Quinta do Ataíde and the Altano range.
Since 1999 Altano has been the flagship brand for the table wines produced by Symington Family Estates, famous for producing Port and with over a century's expertise of winemaking in the Douro Valley. The range is made up of two red wines, Altano Organic and the flagship Altano Quinta do Ataíde Reserva, together with a zesty, aromatic white.