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1970 Vintage

An outstanding Vintage with ripe fruit flavours and concentrated tannins, great balance and structure, and destined to be long-lived wines.  Certainly one of the absolute finest Vintage Ports of the last 50 years.  Declared by all the major houses.

Now mature, probably one of the finest glasses of port that you will ever taste. A wine of this quality, from the best houses, will age superbly for many decades to come.

Viticultural and Weather Conditions

The first two months of the year were rainy but the weather turned even cooler as well as dry in March.  After a warm April the weather was ideal until rain fell in early September.

The grapes were in excellent condition when picking began at Bomfim, Zimbro, Madalena and Lages on the 21st September, Sra da Ribeira on 24th, and Bom Retiro on the 30th. Harvest began in excessive heat - 34° to 35° C in the shade. From the 26th the weather continued fine but a little cooler particularly at night, which greatly helped the fermenations, and only on 7 October did the weather break and a few clouds appear. It rained on 8 and 9 October, heavily in Régua but only slightly at Pinhão, after which the weather cleared again. 


The extreme heat at the beginning of harvest made for some very high temperatures in the lagares, so fermentations were rapid but colour was nevertheless excellent. Initially graduations were not particularly high, but due to the hot weather there was a certain amount of passa (slighly drying of the grapes) so that sugar readings often rose after fermentation started. With the cooler weather after the 26th fermentations were steadier and colour continued to be outstanding. After the rain on the 9th October the lagares were actually very cold and took an exceptional amount of work – at some wineries there were lagares that had four days and four nights of work.

Winemaker's Overview

Thunder showers these last few days have amounted to several hours steady rain, very welcome and ideal providing it now clears. Prospects in the better districts for good quality and average yield.

Michael Symington
28 August 1970

It is unlikely that the early high fermentation temperatures will prove to have been dangerously high and it is likely that the 1970 wines will prove to be quite outstandingly good. Their colour is exceptional and very purple and they seem to have plenty of body.  Everybody seems delighted with the 1970s and it would surprise nobody if the year produced a Vintage.

James Symington
18th October 1970

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