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Symington calls for caution over brandies

Published:  23 July, 2008

Paul Symington has said that the Instituto dos Vinhos do Douro
e Porto (IVDP) needs to keep a careful watch on the brandies that Port producers are using.

The spirit used in Port has to come from grapes, must be European Union-sourced and is tightly regulated by the IVDP. But a number of companies - including Symington's own - are experimenting with brandies made from grapes such as Touriga Nacional, Malvasia and even Cabernet Sauvignon, with the end product being far from a neutral one designed to halt fermentation.

And a new ruling this year stipulates that if the IVDP rejects a particular brandy, producers now have the ability to appeal and will be given the right to reply.

Symington said: After tasting a few of the samples, I thought "Bloody hell, this is quite a worry". It's not a scandal, but it's an issue that needs to be debated.

We've had 300 years of making Port with neutral brandies,

and the whole idea is that it's something constant and something that doesn't interfere with the fruit of the vineyard.'