The 1950 growing season in the Douro was generally moderate with none of the heat spikes recorded in recent years which slowed the pace of the growth cycle and resulted in a late starting harvest. In these conditions, maturations proceeded steadily, delivering grapes with an incredible balance of sugar and acidity.
Alluring, this pulls in both Madeira and Sherry-like characteristics, with an exotic range of buckwheat, black sesame seed, date, dried plum, green tea and Brazil nut notes all allied to sleek, mouthwatering acidity that provides the perfect counterbalance to the sweetness. Boasts a beguilingly subtle alder hint that frames it all in the end. Drink now. From Portugal.—J.M.
The 1950 Single Harvest Tawny Port (that's called a "Colheita" traditionally, but some producers have decided to translate) is a field blend bottled in September 2021 with a bar-top cork and 138 grams of residual sugar. This is coming to the end. Charles Symington said they have about half a cask left, enough for one more bottling. You are going to want some. This 2021 bottling is far fresher than another 1950 from a different producer on this trip. It shows you how they get more interesting with age, if the fruit holds up. This is gorgeous, complex and nuanced but also bright and lively. There is a touch of molasses here to go with the caramel and walnuts, but that just adds to the fun. Maybe you'll like the brilliant, younger and more affordable 1974 more, but this is special and a different experience. It is not so much a lot better, under whatever vague criteria I might use, but it is a lot different, a lot closer to an experience that is hard to replicate. Remember not to drink wine like this too warm. A slight chill to them is a good idea.
This is old, but old as in its golden years. Dry yet mellifluously sweet, the wine has spice and great intensity. Its concentration is enormous, with old gold and acidity blending together. Drink this magnificent Port now.