On the 25th of April 1974, a military-led coup overthrew the dictatorship which had governed Portugal for half a century. In its immediate aftermath it unleashed social and political tensions, in the prevailing turbulent climate the family elected not to bottle Vintage Port. Nonetheless, many of the year’s wines were so exquisite that they were selected for maturing in cask. For Peter Symington, this was just his fifth vintage in the Douro, but as he gradually took on the position of head winemaker, taster and blender, it became his responsibility to nurture the development of this wine during its prolonged ageing in cask, before passing that responsibility to his son Charles.
When you first approach this wine, it may appear fully mature in its orange marmalade richness, its zesty structure and length. What you many not notice is the cool tension, a current running underneath the flavors, bringing pale cranberry notes out of the vanilla scent of oak. Then it reveals scents of rose hips and spring grasses as it opens over the course of several days—still charged after 47 years.