Celebrating winning Decanter Man of the Year 2012 Paul Symington style

I only caught up with this news about Paul Symington yesterday on a journey to return a pair of shoes, which turned into an unexpectedly productive jaunt to Around Wine (another story). And great news it is.

I promptly emailed my congratulations to the Port and Douro wine producer and grower who, typically, replied just as promptly saying “the award is really for our caseiros, our lodgemen, coopers etc” and thanked me for taking the trouble to write!

The Chair of Symington Family Estates had just got back from celebrating the award with a near 80 kilometre dirt bike ride on mountain tracks from Provesende to Lamares and back with Padre Antonio, the local priest and his brother in law.

Given that the roads are (cue euphemism) exhilarating’ to negotiate, there was further cause for celebration because he didn’t fall off (unusual, he says). Even better, it also rained for the first time for 44 days, providing a much needed drink for the vines. As you’ll see from Graham’s Port blog here, December was drier than the average July, the driest month and, in January, Portugal as a whole has been classified as under drought.

Andrew Jefford’s profile in this month’s (April edition) of Decanter captures the man and his family brilliantly. You can read a precis here, which lists the Decanter Men and Women of the Year 1984-2011. Click here for my notes on a rather grand tasting (of Symington Family Estates Single Quinta Vintages Ports 1950-2006), which reflects what Paul describes as his family’s “completely bonkers” passion for the Douro. 

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