Prats & Symington
Chryseia was the first Portuguese non-fortified wine in the Wine Spectator’s annual Top 100 Wines and has now appeared three times in this influential list. In 2014 Chryseia 2011 was ranked at number three in the Top 100, the highest ever placing of a Douro wine. Prats & Symington also make Prazo de Roriz, a red wine produced from younger vines and, in exceptional years, a Quinta de Roriz Vintage Port.
The wines of the Douro, cultivated in an inhospitable climate under a scorching sun, with their low acidity and high residual sugar levels, were always difficult to transport. It was for this reason that the region invented fortification, a process which involves adding brandy to the wine before fermentation is complete, providing the Port with its distinctive alcohol-sugar balance, together with a remarkable potential for ageing. In addition, the process requires the rapid and energetic extraction of tannins by the traditional method of treading or, in more recent years, using mechanical presses.
Whilst the art of creating Port wine was being perfected, Bordeaux – another region with a talent for satisfying the thirst of the English – was inventing vinification using a process of prolonged maceration, allowing for the gradual and gentle extraction of tannins. This gave rise to the balance and finesse of the great Médocs.
The attempt to apply Bordeaux wine-making methods to grapes which are traditionally destined for the production of vintage Port is the essence of the exciting CHRYSEIA project.
The SYMINGTON family aimed to ally its extensive knowledge of the different Douro terroirs and grape varieties to the experience of Bruno PRATS in the Bordeaux region so that together they could produce wine from the best grapes grown on the best plots on the best estates, in true Bordeaux spirit.
Prats & Symington wines are made at one of the Douro’s greatest estates, the beautiful Quinta de Roriz. This historic vineyard dates from 1565 and has long been famous for the quality of its wines. The 42-hectare Roriz vineyard is complemented by the 23-ha Quinta da Perdiz in the neighboring Rio Torto valley. Quinta da Vila Velha owned by James and Rupert Symington, directly adjoins Roriz and some of its best grapes are also used to make Chryseia and Post Scriptum. The classic schist soil of the Upper Douro Valley at Roriz predominates but the composition is also influenced by the specific geology of the site where the presence of tin and gold tailings from the old mines at the top of the estate lend a distinctive minerality to the quinta’s wines. Situated on the South bank of the River Douro halfway between Pinhão and Tua, the quinta forms a natural amphitheatre with a predominantly northerly orientation, which provides a cooler aspect well-suited to the production of DOC Douro wines.
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