Altano is produced by the Symingtons, a leading winemaking family of Scottish, English and Portuguese ancestry who have been making Port in the Douro for five generations.
Today, the family own the largest collection of individual vineyards in the Douro Valley – a unique landholding of 26 Quintas in the prime Cima-Corgo and Douro Superior subregions. This sustained strategy of reinvestment in the region’s finest vineyards is unmatched by any producer.
In 1999, Symington Family Estates began producing Douro wines from the same vineyards that had always made great Port. Today, these Douro DOC wines enjoy global distribution and have received widespread recognition for their quality and distinctiveness.
A clear winemaking philosophy
In a region where producers have historically relied on buying grapes, generations of Symington winemakers have put vineyard ownership at the heart of the family’s winemaking philosophy.
The family are strong believers in the Douro’s indigenous grape varieties and producing quality wines that showcase the uniqueness of the region, its terroirs, and natural flavours and aromas.
All Symington vineyards are managed under sustainable viticulture practices whch aim for minimum intervention, in order to protect and promote biodiversity, and the family farm the largest organic vineyard in the Douro (112 hectares).
The philosophy of minimum intervention is also followed in the winery, with small batches of grapes being carefully handled with the use of modern technology to safeguard and maximize quality.
The pick of the Douro
Altano red wines are produced solely with grapes from Symington vineyards. Altano white wines receive some white grapes from selected farmers with vineyards in higher altitude areas, whom the family have been working with since the early 1900’s.
Every year the family winemakers are challenged to produce wines that provide a unique expression of the family’s tapestry of vineyards, selecting the most suitable grapes for each wine depending on that year’s conditions and characteristics.
In a region of 21,400 farmers who have an average of just 2 hectares each, the Symington’s 26 vineyards are an exceptional guarantee of quality, allowing the Symington viticulture and winemaking teams a level of control and choice that is unique in the region, and is reflected in the outstanding quality of Altano wines.
Excellence in the vineyard and winery
HARVESTING THE GRAPES
Grapes for DOC wines are harvested up to a week earlier than those for making Port in order to preserve their natural freshness, ideal levels of acidity and to avoid excessive alcoholic strength (which can result from overly ripened grapes with high sugar contents).
The grapes are vinified in the Symington family's state-of-the-art Douro DOC winery at Quinta do Sol, where they are subjected to a thorough selection process.
After a light crushing, the selected grapes are released from above (a gravity fed system) into the fermentation vats. This ensures that the berries reach the vats in optimal condition, preserving all their natural properties whilst reducing the risk of rough-edged tannins to a minimum.
Altano Red wine is then transferred into 225, 300 or 400 litre seasoned French and American oak casks where it is aged for a minimum of four months in the Symington family’s cellars. Altano Organic and Altano Reserva are aged in partially new French and American oak casks respectively.
Our grape varieties
Altano is produced from traditional Portuguese grape varieties, best suited to the often challenging conditions of the Douro Valley.
Find out more about our grape varieties:
With great depth of colour, this grape variety produces extremely concentrated, tannic wines.
With floral aromas that range from violet and esteva (rockrose) to rosemary and bergamot, and flavours of dark fruit, blackberries and sometimes liquorice.
Tourgia Nacional is the queen of the Douro grape varieties (both for Port and Douro DOC wines).
Although less concentrated than Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca produces refined, elegant and very aromatic wines.
Aromas of herbs, wild flowers and berries accompanied by firm, but well-rounded tannins make this grape variety very important for the aromatic equilibrium of Douro DOC wines (and Ports).
An important grape variety for providing alcohol, body and structure to a wine.
With flavours of black cherry, it does not provide as much colour or aroma as Touriga Nacional or Touriga Franca.
Its principal contribution to the wine's make-up is to provide substance and volume.
With a medium body, peppery tannins and some herbaceous notes, wines produced from Tinta Roriz show flavours of red fruits, and in some cases strawberries and cherries. It is a variety that adds a certain softness to a wine.
Although only a small part of the makeup of the Altano blend, it is used in greatest quantity in Altano Organic.
It has good tannins that provide structure and longevity to wines, and high levels of acidy, which add freshness.
Arguably the most well-known and the highest regarded indigenous Portuguese white grape variety.
It provides good levels of acidity, which is expressed in the freshness that is a signature of the variety and in a characteristic minerality that underscores the crisp, citrus fruit flavours.
A much valued variety in the Douro, Viosinho is known for its good balance of sugar and acidity, which add substance and freshness to the wine.
It is an essential component of high quality Douro white wines.
A variety that imparts good body and complexity to white blends, it can have intense flavours with notes of honey, and perfectly complements the varieties Viosinho and Rabigato.
A variety produced almost exclusively in the Douro, it provides excellent freshness due to its high levels of acidity and provides a vibrant and intense character.
Its aromas are typically citric, most notably lemon and orange blossom.
Another important Douro grape variety, it is recognised for the aromatic component it brings to a blend.
It produces fragrant, elegant and fruity wines, typically with tropical fruit notes.
A variety with high levels of sugar, which makes it particularly useful to blend with other varieties with higher levels of acidity.
It produces fruity wines with notes of peach and apricot.