AT A GLANCE:
Position: No 37
Name of wine estate: Quinta do Bomfim
Wine region: Douro
Standout points: Super-swanky quinta of the Symington Port family in the heart of the Upper Douro Valley – a UNESCO World Heritage site
Winemaker: Charles Symington
Wine style: Fortified – Port, that is
Port of call
Not for nothing is the spot in which this famous quinta nestles known as the ‘Vale do Bomfim’, the ‘well-placed valley’. Its location in the Port-producing epicentre of Pinhao – where you’ll find a very serviceable selection of interesting restaurants – offers the most intimate views of one of the most awe-inspiring wine landscapes on the planet. Quinta do Bomfim has been owned and run by the Symington family for five generations and the steep, well-exposed schist slopes which surround it have yielded Dow’s memorable Vintage Ports for more than a century.
Tour first, then terrrace
The heritage of this family vineyard is tangible, as you will feel for yourself while visiting the winery, vineyards and beautiful old cellar; and when you taste the wines – ideally on the terrace with incomparable views of the meandering Douro River. The official tour is an absolute must (note that reservations are required). It begins in a museum which tells the story of the property, the Symington family and the wines. Next, choose between three vineyard walks which afford unrivalled views of the surrounding mountain vineyards, some with dry stone terraces built by hand in the 18th and 19th centuries. The visit includes the magnificent old lodge. Built in 1896, this vast vat and barrel cellar with its complex roof structure has been used for more than a century to store Ports from each harvest before they are ferried downriver to Vila Nova de Gaia for further ageing.
Time your visit
If you are fortunate enough to be visiting during the harvest, you will be able to see the grapes being received at the winery and Port being foot-stomped in the traditional stone lagares.
Recent claims to fame
Quinta do Bomfim is the birthplace of two of the 21st century’s most famous Ports: Dow’s 2007 Vintage Port, the only Vintage Port made this century to have been awarded a perfect 100 Points by the Wine Spectator, as well as Dow’s 2011 Vintage Port which was nominated the no1 Wine in the World by the same publication.