The Next Generation: Anthony Symington

What do you do during that interval between finishing university and landing a job?  If you are a Symington, and it’s September, you could go to work in a Douro winery.

Dominic’s son, Anthony, had already worked the 2007 harvest at Graham’s Quinta dos Malvedos, so this year he asked to work with our Douro DOC winemaking.  He is spending the harvest season at the Prats + Symington winery at Quinta de Roriz where, in collaboration with Bruno Prats, we make the elegant Douro DOC wines Chryseia, Post Scriptum and Prazo de Roriz, as well as Vintage Port.

Anthony was keen to learn the winemaking techniques which of course are very different from Port making, and has found a wonderful teacher in Luis Coelho, the resident viticulturist and oenologist.  Luis has ensured that Anthony has worked at every task in the winery, and that he understands what he is doing and why and how it affects the finished wines.  They have tasted the wine lots together daily to monitor the fermentation and development of the wines, which has been a great learning experience too.

After studying languages and history (he speaks both Portuguese and Spanish) including 6 month placements in each Brasil and Spain, Anthony is very interested in the political and business environments in South America, and hopes to find work to suit these interests.  Like his cousins Harry and Tom, he would like eventually to work for the family firm if there is an opportunity and a place for him, but feels it is important to work outside first for some years.  He understands, as they do, that he will have to prove his business skills and have something to offer when and if there is an opening.

His grandfather Michael used to dip his finger in a glass of Port so Anthony and the other grandchildren could have just a taste when they were small, and as they grew older he would give them a sip from his own glass  – Michael was very keen for the children to learn about Port.  Later, when Anthony and Paul’s son Harry had a joint celebration of their 21st birthdays, they chose to have what he called “a very Douro meal” at Paul’s Quinta das Netas:  a soup (served with Altano Branco), roast pork, green beans and batatas a murro (bashed potatoes), served with an old Quinta de Roriz Reserva and for the Port they enjoyed Warre’s Quinta da Cavadinha 1989 Vintage Port in honour of their birth year.

Many of Anthony’s friends are very keen on food and cooking, and he helps them with the wine pairing for their dishes.  With their passion for good food and wine, Port is a natural fit, but he does feel that Port needs to change its historically rather grand image to be marketed successfully to this younger generation.  He spoke of a memorable picnic meal in the Douro of rather light Moroccan or Greek dishes of chicken or lamb with couscous and a salad of rosemary, chicken and plum tomatoes, and how a very old, delicate and nuanced Vintage Port was the perfect conclusion to this eclectically flavoured meal.  An example, if ever there was one, of how to simply enjoy Port, as the pleasure it is, at any time, in any setting.  We like Anthony’s approach!

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