Rupert Symington has recently discussed the current state of fortified wines with Oregon Live, discussing how it is performing internationally, as well as the reserve rubies and food matching.
Mr Symington is part of a line of ancestors that have been involved in fine port in Portugal since 1652. Today, the Symington Family Estates portfolio includes renowned labels such as Graham's, Warre's, Dow's, Smith Woodhouse, and Cockburn's, as well as well-known Madeira labels.
Katherine Cole of Oregon Live recently posed three questions to him as he passed through Portland, starting with how the fortified wine is performing in international markets. Portland is always a good gauge of this, considering that it is one of the biggest port importers in the world.
Mr Symington noted that consumers were increasingly aware of the change in production processes, with a big emphasis on organic techniques proving popular in the market. Growing procedures have gone very old fashioned in Portugal, which the market is responding very well to.
Reserve rubies are becoming particular successful. Mr Symington notes that this is likely to be because consumers in America find them easier to identify with. Six grape wines are a great branding technique for port labels, because consumers automatically associate them with quality.
In terms of food matching, a recent mapping with an expert revealed some interesting trends for port. The expert breaks down the flavour components of food and wine scientifically, and found that six grapes work well with chocolate, whereas the 22 year-old old tawny definitely works with crème brulée. Curry powder also came out as something that works well with port, which is certainly a surprising match.
Mr Symington explains: "I don't think I've ever tried that and I don't think I'm ever going to, but, the fact is, port has weird and wonderful flavors that work with weird and wonderful spices."
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