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2019 Chryseia & 2020 Post Scriptum

The 2019 vintage of Chryseia has just been released, along with the latest 2020 vintage of the second wine, Post Scriptum, both from Prats & Symington's winemaking venture in the Douro Valley.

You can read more below about how Bruno Prats teamed up with the Symington family after he left Cos d'Estournel in 1998.  Don't let the chimeric aspect of a Bordeaux winemaker in partnership with a famous Douro port family throw you.  We rate these wines very highly.  They are brilliant expositions of native Douro varieties, made into unfortified red wines with great finesse and polish.  They also echo the very open, amiable personalities of both Bruno Prats and Paul and Charles Symington.  

Winemakers and the trade have known for many years that Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz and Tinta Barroca have great potential to make unfortified red wines at the highest quality level, but there are a few factors that often get in the way of this goal being achieved. 

These thick-skinned varieties need exceptionally careful tannin management during the winemaking process, which is where the Bordeaux influence comes in.  We could swear these have uncannily similar complex and luxurious tannins as are found at Bruno Prats' old estate in St-Estephe.  

Another limiter is site, with the Douro's hot climate meaning that only certain cooler terroirs have potential to produce balanced wines.  The Symingtons knowledge of the Douro is legendary and the North-facing Quinta do Roriz with its complex mineral soils is ideal for the task.

We found 2019 Chryseia a complete thoroughbred of a wine, with precise, pure dark cherry fruit and complex notes of herbs, black olive and dark tea.  Most impressive is the elegance of the tannins and the sense of composure, with huge restrained power on the mid-palate and finish.  Quite closed and taut now, this will be spectacular with another year or two in bottle, and will age well for at least a couple of decades.

2020 Post Scriptum receives less new oak (Chryseia spends 14 months in 94% new barrels) and was more open and expressive on the nose, with the same purity and impressive freshness.  This fresh style comes in part from the good acidity levels, but also from the delicate, fresh character of the perfectly ripened fruit.  This is already drinking well but will be even better in a few months.

Please email us if you would like to place an order.

Offered en primeur, landing spring 2023.

Prats & Symington, Douro

Producer Profile

Prats & Symington, Douro

Prats & Symington is a collaboration between the famous port house-owning Symington family (owners of Grahams, Dows, Warres and Cockburns) and Bruno Prats, the erstwhile CEO and winemaker at Cos d’Estournel.  After leaving Cos (and Bordeaux) in 1998, Prats took on a number of projects, among them this collaboration, to marry the finesse of top-level Bordeaux winemaking with the undoubted potential of the Douro for making unfortified red wines, exploring the potential of the indigenous port grape varieties.

Prats and the Symingtons became co-owners of two prime Douro estates, QUINTA DE RORIZ and QUINTA DA PERDIZ. Unusually for the Douro (at least until relatively recent times), they select most of their top quality fruit for Douro DOC production, with the authorised Port production of its vineyards being filled in with riper grapes and from those varietals deemed less suitable for top table wines. A small quantity of Vintage Port will be bottled from the Roriz estate only in exceptional years and when conditions allow.  In short, wine making takes precedence here over port making!

Both Quintas lie in the parish of São João de Pesqueira, near the village of Ervedosa.  Roriz sits in a natural amphitheatre on the banks of the Douro, and Perdiz lies on a steep gradient on the other side of the same mountain in the Rio Torto Valley, which runs North-West into the main Douro Valley near Pinhão.

The different microclimates of the two valleys produce very different results, as do the varying soils. Roriz has traces of tin mixed into the schistous soil from the old mine workings at the highest point of the estate, and this gives a strong minerality to the wines. Its location alongside the Douro, facing North, ensures cooler nights during the ripening season, which, in turn, results in the strong aromatic qualities, recognisable in its wines. Perdiz produces ripe, soft, velvety wines in the warmer climate of the relatively closed-in Torto Valley.

In addition grapes are sourced from selected plots on the certain of the best properties – or estates – belonging to the Symington family, namely Vila Velha.

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