Port: why the Symingtons didn't declare in 2009

Following up from my write-up of the 2009 Vintage Port declaration, Paul Symington contacted me to explain why the Symingtons didn’t make a widespread declaration of the 2009s, which I’m reproducing below:

I see on your website that somebody has commented that we are nor declaring “for non qualitative reasons”. This is entirely untrue. I have [...]

The 2009 Vintage Ports from Fonseca, Taylor's and Croft

Went to a very interesting tasting this morning. It was the declaration tasting of the Vintage Ports from the Fladgate Group: Taylor’s, Fonseca and Croft.

I really liked them. These are incredibly concentrated, dense wines with lots of structure. The good news? Despite the reduced yields, prices will be pretty much the same as when the [...]

Organic in the Douro: Terra Prima and Altano

Organic viticulture in the Douro is not all that common. However, things may be changing. Two organic wines that have recently reached the marketplace are Symingtons Organic version of Altano, and Fonseca’s Terra Prima organic Port.

They’re both quite delicious. The organic Altano is a significant step up from the other Altano wines, with nice density, [...]

The great Portuguese fortified wine tasting

I’m in the process of writing up the great Portuguese fortified wine tasting in Linhares on Saturday morning. This was one of the most remarkable tastings that I’ve been involved with, and it rather took me by surprise.

I was expecting a walk-around tasting, of the sort we normally have in the wine trade. Yet it [...]

A good lunch with some nice wines

Very enjoyable family lunch today at my sister’s place in Gerrards Cross. A four siblings plus their families and my parents were gathered. Some nice wines were opened. I didn’t take proper notes this time, but here are my brief impressions.

First some fizz. Ruinart Blanc de Blancs is a very fruit-driven Champagne with lovely depth [...]

Four videos from the Douro

Just posted four more videos from the Douro. It’s part of a big write up on a visit to the Taylor, Fladgate & Yeatman group (includes the Port houses Fonseca, Taylor’s, Croft and Delaforce).

The Douro valley viewed from the River:

Treading grapes at Quinta de Vargellas:

Croft’s Quinta do [...]

Snow, puppy and Port

From all the fuss, you’d imagine we’d never seen snow before in the UK. But for each of the last three winters, we’ve had a good dose of the white stuff. And as long as you haven’t got to get anywhere, or do any work, it’s a nice distraction. Quite seasonal too.

Unfortunately, Fiona had to [...]

Scion: a tawny Port from the 1850s

A great privilege to be able to try this tawny Port, dating back to the 1850s. Taylor’s have acquired two pipes of it (a pipe is 600 litres, but with an older wine like this the barrels won’t be full), and are releasing it this December, at a price tag of £2500 a bottle. It’s [...]

Some superb single-quinta Ports

Vintage Port is one of the world’s great wines. It’s also relatively affordable compared with other great wines. But there’s an even better bargain in single-quinta Ports from shoulder vintages – those that might have been declared had they not been adjacent to already-declared years.

2008 was a really good vintage in the Douro, but most [...]

Running a Sherry and Port class

This morning I headed into London to run a Sherry and Port session for Hakkasan’s  (high-end London restaurant) staff training. It was an interesting class, and I was introducing most of the attendees (the majority of who are young people with English as a second language) to the wonderful world of these fortified wines for [...]