Strangely, Silva & Cosens owned the 98-acre vineyard, located in the Upper Douro Valley, until 1954, when it was sold to a local farmer. However, the Port house continued to buy the grapes from the new owner and often used them to make Dow's vintage Ports.
"We know the wine very well and are happy with the varieties planted, especially with the age of the vines; 90 percent are well over 30 years old," said Paul Symington, a director of Symington Port Shippers, which owns Silva & Cosens as well as the Port houses of Graham and Warre.
The Ports at Ribeira are produced in traditional stone troughs, called "lagares," where the grapes are trodden and fermented. In declared years, when a vintage-dated bottling is made, the wine will continue to be part of the brand's vintage Port blend. But in non-declared years, according to Symington, Dow plans to use the grapes from Ribeira to produce about 2,000 cases of single-quinta Port (a bottle-aged Port made from the unblended grapes of a single estate in a single vintage).
The Symington family, one of the most important Port families, owns a large collection of quintas, or vineyard estates, including Bomfim, Vesuvio, Cavadinha and Malvedos. "We have built up a fantastic collection of vineyards," Paul Symington said. "But I don't see this as the end of our purchasing. If other top quintas come on the market, then we will look to purchase them. I am convinced that the future of Port lies in the superpremium area."
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