Friday, November 3, 2017

Portugal Wine: Prats + Symington Chryseia

Portugal's Douro Valley is one of the most distinctive terroirs in the wide, wide world of wine. Prats and Symington grow grapes and make wine there. The Symington family owns most of the big port houses. Bruno Prats left Bordeaux, seeking winemaking thrills in Chile, South Africa and, finally, Portugal. He partnered with the Symingtons in the late 1990s. Together, they put Bordeaux wine-making methods to grapes that are usually intended for Port in the Prats and Symington wines.

The Symingtons have two prime Douro estates, Quinta de Roriz and Quinta da Perdiz. Both quintas are near the village of  Ervedosa. The different microclimates and soils of the two valleys produce different results. Roriz gets minerality from traces of tin, the remnants of old mines. The cool riverside nights also bring more aromatics. Perdiz is in the warmer Torto Valley, and offers more ripeness as a result. The grapes are largely grown in dedicated plots, rather than mixed vineyards, which is more typical for the the area.

Portuguese grapes, aah, they are exotic and wonderful. Touriga Nacional for floral aromatics, Touriga Franca for body and structure and Tinta Roriz - Tempranillo in Spain - gives a peppery flair.
Post Scriptum's Chryseia was first bottled from the 2000 vintage. The wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks, then aged in 400-litre French oak barrels, for 14 months. Grape distribution has 64% Touriga Franca, 28% Touriga Nacional and 8% Tinta Roriz. Winemakers Bruno Prats and Charles Symington oversee production, with the assistance of Pedro Correia and Luis Coelho. Alcohol sits at 14.3% abv and the retails price is $25.

Post Scriptum De Chryseia is inky indigo and impenetrable at its core. The nose is a wild array of blackberry, cigar boxes, leather and the whole spice rack. It has a great mouthfeel, full and rich with enough tannic structure to handle prime rib, yet not so much that it ruins the sip. That dark fruit is lip-smacking good on the palate and it carries along a savory saddlebag of spices, which linger long on the finish.