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Christopher Piper Wines
1 Silver Street, Ottery St Mary EX11 1DB, Devon

Tel: (01404) 814139
Fax: (01404) 812100

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Closed Bank Holiday Monday Mon-Fri 0900-1300,1400-1730 Sat 0900-1300,1430-1630

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Portugal

Herdade do Esporo - REGUENGOS DE MONSARAZ, ALENTEJO

The Esporão Estate, located in Reguengos de Monsaraz, (190km south east of Lisbon), is one of the largest and oldest domains in the Alentejo region, dating back to Roman times.
In 1992 a Lisbon financier, Dr. Jose Roquette, bought Esporão and has subsequently invested heavily within the Estate. A dam has been constructed with a four million litre capacity, forty km of roads have been built, drip irrigation systems have been installed and the latest methods of viticulture and oenology employed. The Alentejo is perfect for grape cultivation with granite, schistous soils and a hot, dry climate with little vintage variation. The Alentejo has been heralded as one of Portugal's best red wine producing regions. Tim Atkin, writing in Wine Magazine went a step further to suggest the Alentejo was "one of the most exciting wine regions in the world." David Baverstock, Esporão's Australian Winemaker, has been making wine in Portugal for the last eighteen years using the best New World techniques to express the true potential of Portuguese indigenous varietals. The Esporão range is a true testimony to the great future of the Alentejo region and to Portuguese indigenous varietals.

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Quinta de Saes - PINHANOS

Alvaro Castro, Quinta de Saes's owner, is continually striving to accentuate the quality of his wines. While Alvaro's family has been in the region for many years, he was the first to bottle the wine under the label of the Quinta. The estate bottled Quinta de Saes is one of the top wines of Portugal where Alvaro was recently named winemaker of the year. The Castro family owns 22 hectares in the Quinta de Saes and Pelleda which are located in the area of Seia, in the small village of Pinhanços, looking out towards the Serra da Estrela mountain ranges.

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Quinta do Crasto - ALTO DOURO

The Quinta do Crasto estate, perched on a hilltop with breath-taking views, in the Douro has some 47 hectares of vineyards of which 18 hectares are old vines. It is these old vines that are used to make the Reserva wine. Crasto is a very dynamic estate run by the Roquette brothers Tomás and Miguel. The brothers are constantly developing their vineyards and wines and have recently bought more land in a hotter area further up the river Douro. The wine is now made by a very talented Spanish winemaker, Susana Esteban.

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Churchill Graham LDA, VILA NOVA DE GAIA, OPORTO

Churchill Graham was founded in 1981 by Johnny Graham and was the first independent port shipper to be founded in more than fifty years. Johnny had been involved in the Port trade since the early 1970's, when he worked for both Martinez and Cockburns, ultimately becoming responsible for production, tasting and blending of their ports. Following this, Johnny spent some time as a consultant to Taylors. It will come as no surprise that he believes in making rich, concentrated ports with plenty of backbone and flesh. However, as with any fine wine, 80% of its quality is 'made in the vineyard' and is largely down to 'terroir' and the treatment of the vines. For the first time, the backbone of Churchill's 2000 Vintage has been sourced from their own Quintas, Gricha (bought in 1999) and Rio (bought in early 2000). The main reason for this serious investment in Grade A vineyards was to ensure the on-going quality and high standard of their Vintage Port and other blends. Churchill's source the remainder of their grapes exclusively from Grade A vineyards at Agua Alta, Manuela and Fajo. The entire Churchill production is vinified at Quinta da Gricha and the finished wines are matured and blended at their Lodge at Vila Nova de Gaia, where cool maturation takes place in large wooden vats and traditional Port pipes. The choice of storage is an important factor in the maturation of young Port, and Churchill's have carefully selected a balance between cask and vat storage to achieve their house style: great purity of fruit with excellent deep colours and soft, integrated tannins. All Churchill's Premium Ports (Finest Vintage Character, Crusted and Traditional Late Bottled Vintage) are made from a blend of these three Quintas resulting in wines with terrific balance and complexity.

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Warre & Co. OPORTO

Founded in 1670, Warre and Co. is the oldest British Port Company and, what is more, it has remained family owned, by the Symingtons, throughout its long history. Renowned for its classic Vintage Ports, as well as the much sought after Quinta da Cavadinha, Warre also ships some tremendous Late Bottled Vintage and it is these two Ports that we have been buying from Warre's for nearly twenty years. The LBV is a bottling of first-class wine from undeclared vintages, is bottled after four years in cask and then given extensive bottle-ageing. It is deep-coloured, rounded and very fruity. The 1989 Quinta da Cavadinha is the eighth vintage offered from this quinta and has a big, aromatic and spicy bouquet with rich fruit and a great length of flavour on the palate.

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Fonseca Guimaraens - VILA NOVA DE GAIA

Fonseca Guimaraens was founded in 1822, when Manuel Pedro Guimaraens acquired control of the Fonseca & Monteiro Company through purchase of the majority of the Fonseca holdings. As a condition of the sale of his shares to Guimaraens, the departing Fonseca stipulated that his name be retained. Not long after this purchase, Manoel Pedro Guimaraens, a supporter of the liberal cause in the 'War of the Two Brothers', was forced to flee Portugal hidden in an empty port wine cask. He settled in England, where his company remained based until 1927, when the headquarters of the firm returned to Portugal. During this period, Fonseca grew rapidly in reputation and importance. By 1840, the firm had become the second largest shipper of Port Wine and in 1847 the first Fonseca vintage port was shipped to England. Family has been a part of every Fonseca Vintage Port. Frank Guimaraens made all the vintages beginning with the 1896 through to the 1948. His daughter, Dorothy Guimaraens, following his death, made the 1955. Bruce Duncan Guimaraens, great-great grandson of the founder, made every Vintage from 1960 through to the 1992. As for the 1994 Vintage, Bruce Guimaraens' son, David was responsible for this extraordinary award winning port wine. This remarkable continuity of winemaker is clearly evident in the wine.

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Smith Woodhouse - TORTO

Christopher Smith, a prominent figure in the British wine trade and Member of Parliament, who was later to become Lord Mayor of London, opened offices in Oporto in 1784 to ship Port wine from the bar of the Douro. Several years later Smith's sons were joined in partnership by the Woodhouse brothers, already well established as importers of wine from other regions, and the firm became known by its present name. Smith Woodhouse built a strong clientele for more than a century, but after World War II, in common with other firms, business became increasingly difficult. In 1960 W & J Graham bought Smith Woodhouse and then in 1970 the Symington family acquired the firm. The Symingtons brought with them a wealth of experience spanning four generations of direct involvement in the Port trade as growers and shippers. Under the Symingtons' ownership Smith Woodhouse continues to make some of its finest Ports by the traditional methods, and has produced a succession of outstanding Vintage Ports in a characteristic opulent rich style, balanced by firm hard tannins. Smith Woodhouse owns Madalena Vineyard, which lies along the riverbed of the "Torto", one of the tributaries of the Douro, famous for its top rated production. In fact the "Rio Torto" is acknowledged as having the highest concentration of top quality vineyards in the Douro. The maturation in the "Torto" valley is typically later than in the Pinhão valley, bringing about an extended ripening period leading to the production of well balanced fruit and giving rise to wines of great finesse and structure.

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Gould Campbell - PINHO

Gould Campbell was founded in 1797 when Garret Gould, prompted by the political strife wracking his native Ireland, sailed to the hospitable shores of Portugal where he established the firm of Messrs. Gould Brothers & Co., operating from both Lisbon and Oporto. The firm survived the trials of the Peninsula War which followed a few years later, when the Anglo-Portuguese army of the Duke of Wellington expelled the French invaders, and soon became very successful bringing into partnership the prestigious Merchants and Bankers Messrs. James Campbell & Co. Gould Campbell came to establish a reputation for the excellent quality of their Ports and their Vintage Ports in particular. In 1970 the firm was acquired by the Symington family who had themselves been Port producers since 1882. It is therefore one of the very few Port shippers which remains a private family business, thus retaining its individuality and distinctiveness. The grapes for Gould Campbell Ports are drawn from vineyards in the Alto Douro area, where the yields are very low (about one pipe - 550 litres - per 1,000 vines) but the wines have immense complexity and depth. The winery is situated at Pinhão, where a proportion of the wines are made in modern temperature controlled fermentation tanks. However, a significant proportion of Gould Campbell Ports are still made in small quintas in the hills around Pinhão, using the ancient method of treading the grapes by foot in stone tanks called lagares.

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Graham - OPORTO

The firm of W & J Graham & Co has its roots in a Glasgow-based textile concern.
During the early nineteenth century an office of this trading company was established in Oporto. In 1820 the brothers William and John Graham, who were then managing the office, accepted 27 pipes of Port wine in settlement of a bad debt. This Port was shipped to the parent company in Glasgow which initially reprimanded the brothers for not sending cash. Fortunately however, after it was sold the Port turned out to be very popular and soon William and John were being urged by their parent company to acquire and ship more of this finest of fortified wines. Within the next few years Graham's reputation grew as a shipper of fine Port, first to Scotland and gradually all over the port-drinking world.

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Niepoort - VILA NOVA DE GAIA

"Niepoort is to vintage Port what Krug is to Champagne. They are both small houses in a world dominated by large competitors, but they are producing outstanding wines that very few can match." - James Suckling, Wine Spectator. Established in 1842, Niepoort is now run by the 5th generation and produces wines of world class status. For their vintage ports, grapes are sourced from four vineyards around the Pinhão region where the very old vines (85 plus years) provide extremely low yields of five or six hectoliters per hectare. The grapes are treated traditionally, foot trodden in lagares thus achieving lots of colour and fine tannins. Dirk Niepoort is the current custodian of this house and his aim is to make intense, profound, complex ports which need a good ten to fifteen years before they are completely understandable.

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Portugal - continued

Martinez - VILA NOVA DE GAIA

Martinez's lodge in Vila Nova da Gaia is right next door to the somewhat better known Cockburn's and they started off life as an importer of port into London over two hundred years ago. At their peak in the mid 1800's, Martinez was the largest importer into the UK as they used to ship a lot in bulk having matured their wine in the Douro Valley rather than in Vila Nova which is at the mouth of the river. This causes what is called 'Douro Bake' as it is gets hotter as you go further inland and produces a somewhat sweeter wine. These days the wines are matured in Vila Nova where the maturation is slower and more gentle due to the influence of the sea. The venerable Harvey's of Bristol acquired Martinez Gassiot and it has now been swallowed by Allied Domecq.

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Quinta do Vesuvio - VILA NOVA DE GAIA

Although historical records mention Vesuvio as early as 1565 it was primarily under the auspices of the Douro's redoubtable widow, Dona Antónia Adelaide Ferreira, that this vineyard estate acquired its legendary reputation. The estate's industrious founder was her husband who from 1820 began the ambitious task of planting the vineyard.
This gargantuan enterprise involving the shaping and construction of terraces on the intractable slopes and the planting of hundreds of thousands of vines took his legions of workers thirteen years to complete. Following the founder's death, his widow continued to develop the property which under her able management became the show-piece quinta of the Douro. At Vesuvio she built one of the Douro's largest wineries, containing eight granite 'lagares' (treading tanks) each capable of holding 25 pipes (1 pipe: 550 litres). In 1989 Quinta do Vesuvio was purchased by the Symington family whose involvement in the growing, production and shipping of Port began more than a century ago. The family decided from the outset to preserve the traditional character of the quinta especially with regard to the vinification process where the time honoured method of treading the grapes by foot has been retained. Some technological innovations have been introduced principally in the form of a cooling system to control fermentation in this ancient wine making method. In view of the outstanding quality of the wine, Vesuvio is offered exclusively as a single Quinta Vintage Port. Only about 50 pipes (36,000 bottles) are bottled each year although the production of the property is much greater and this exemplifies the family's steadfast policy of releasing none but the very finest wines from the Quinta.

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Dow - VILA NOVA DE GAIA

In 1798 a Portuguese merchant Bruno da Silva set up a business shipping the wine of the Douro from his native city of Oporto to London. The business thrived and in 1862 Bruno's son John brought in Fredrick William Cosens as a partner - hence the name Silva and Cosens - the firm that survives to this day.During the early part of the 19th century, when England and Portugal were allied against the French invasion of the Iberian Peninsula, Bruno de Silva applied for 'letters of marque' to equip a sailing 'privateer' with nine guns. In this way, he could continue to safely send his wine from the Douro River to England through the dangerous and war-ravaged waters of the Bay of Biscay, gaining a valuable advantage over other less audacious producers. Never has great wine been so well protected. George A. Warre, from the longest established British family in Oporto, became a partner of Silva and Cosens in 1868. He was subsequently joined by James Ramsey Dow in 1877. The Dow name became the brand of Silva and Cosens because of its already outstanding Vintage Port reputation. Together George Warre and James Dow played a leading role in re-planting the Douro vineyards that had been devastated by phyloxera. James Dow's father had already published an important work in 1856 on vineyard diseases, which was crucial in the fight against Oidium in the Douro region. Today the company is 100% owned and managed by the fourth generation of the Symington family. This continuity is unique amongst the historic British Port Companies, with no less than 7 members of the family involved in every aspect of the business from vineyard to cellar. Peter, Paul, Johnny, Rupert, Dominic and Charles Symington can all be found at work in the lodges in Gaia or in the Douro vineyards any working day throughout the year. The seventh member of the family, Clare, works in London managing Vintage Port sales for the family. This is truly a family owned and run business.

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Cockburn, Smithes & Ca - VILA NOVA DE GAIA

Cockburn's was founded in 1815 and has grown to become one of the world's great port houses. The 'Tuella' vineyards are situated in the heart of the Duoro - this area is famed for its Ports but has been recently gaining a reputation for very fine table wines as the unique soil gives great character to the wine. The team that produced this wine is also responsible for the very fine Cockburns vintage Port. In fact, the wine making was remarkable similar in style to Port production using open topped tanks, 'remontage' (pumping the juice over the skins in the tanks) and a relatively high fermentation temperature.

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Taylor - VILA NOVA DE GAIA

Taylor's is now over 300 years old. It remains a family firm, completely independent, owned still by relations of the original partners. On the Atlantic coast at Oporto are the ancient lodges where Taylor's priceless ports slowly reach their glorious maturity. High up in the Douro Valley is Taylor Quinta de Vargellas, one of the world's truly great vineyards, comparable in quality to Chateau Latour. In between is the complex network of independent farmers, who have supplied Taylor's for generations, their press-houses and wine making establishments.Taylor is accepted by most wine authorities to be the greatest of all port shippers, famous especially for its sublime and long-lived Vintage ports, which consistently fetch the highest prices at auction, and for old, distinguished Tawny ports. But Taylor's is also an innovative house, pioneering the successful Late Bottled Vintage style which has been copied by almost every other shipper. The finest Port is produced from grapes grown on the steep and rocky slopes of the Upper Douro and its tributaries. Vines have been grown on these remote hillsides since pre-Roman times. In the 17th Century British traders, cut off from their supplies of Bordeaux by frequent wars with France, took a liking to the full-flavoured, robust wines of Portugal. Under the Methuen Treaty of 1703, England granted lower duties to Portuguese wines than to those of France and Germany, becoming for over a century the principal market for the wines of the Douro Valley. But these wines did not travel well, so the traders added brandy to fortify them against the rigours of their Atlantic sea voyage. Before long pure grape spirit was added during fermentation and Port, as we drink it today, was created. Among the first of the early traders was Job Bearsley, who by 1692 was a Port shipper and partner in the firm which we know today as Taylor Fladgate & Yeatman. His 4XX (an old woolmark) is still cut into the walls of the Casa dos Alambiques, where Taylor Fladgate have made wine from 1744 to this day-apart from its short break as a field hospital for Wellington's troops. The 4XX mark still features on the company crest, and on every bottle. Now in its fourth century, the company is still thriving, with wine quality remaining the firm's only consideration. Taylor's Port was, is, and will continue to be, one of the world's greatest wines.

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Christopher Piper Wines Ltd. will not sell to anyone under the UK legal drinking age of 18 years. To purchase products on the site you must be eighteen years of age or more.
You must ensure that the details provided by you on ordering or at any time are correct and complete.

Registered Company 1509601 Christopher Piper Wines Ltd, 1 Silver Street, Ottery St Mary, Devon, EX11 1DB. All rights reserved. You must be 18 or over to order.