The Symington's family’s first property outside the Douro region. Quinta da Fonte Souto is in the Portalegre subregion of the Alto Alentejo in southern Portugal. Close to the São Mamede range (1,025 metres), the property benefits from the area’s altitude with its cooler microclimate in sharp contrast to the Alentejo region’s typically hot and dry conditions. Yields are low due to the schist and granite soils, which are less fertile than those found in the flat and rolling terrain which characterizes the majority of the Alentejo. There are 207 hectares on the property, of which 43 are planted with vines. The principal grape varieties are Aragonês, Alfrocheiro, Trincadeira, Alicante Bouschet, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. The property has a substantial chestnut grove, from which its name is derived — ‘souto’ refers to a wooded area planted with chestnut trees.
In Portalegre, the agricultural year was dry and relatively mild with the wide
diurnal temperature variations during the hotter months contributing to an
even progression of the maturations and to the preservation of the acidity in
the grapes, which reached the vintage particularly fresh and with aromatic
exuberance. There was some rain during August in the lead up to the vintage and
this rebalanced the vines in the final ripening stretch and created the necessary
conditions for completion of phenolic maturation. Yields were relatively low, and
this contributed to better balance and higher quality in the grapes. We produced
very fresh, elegant wines, whilst still taut and with a well-defined texture. In this
third vintage in Portalegre, we made wines that were the closest yet to the typical
profile of this subregion.
The hand-picked grapes are placed in small, shallow boxes and taken to the
on-site winery. Manual sorting is followed by destemming and gentle crushing
after which grapes are transferred to the fermentation vats. Fermentations are
individually monitored, and the temperature and macerations are adjusted to
maximise the potential of each fermenting batch. A period of post fermentation
maceration follows to encourage the extraction of some tannin from the pips
to complement those extracted from the grape skins. This adds structure and
longevity to the wines.