Two families and a unique terroir
The friendship between myself and the Symington family was developed through Primum Familiae Vini, a group of twelve prestigious wine families to which Cós d’Estournel also belonged.
The Symingtons introduced me to the Douro Valley, a World Heritage site and one of the oldest established wine-producing regions in the world, whose terroir has been officially delimited in the 18th century.
The Douro wines, cultivated in an inhospitable climate under a scorching sun, with their low acidity and 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, fortification requires the rapid and energetic extraction of tannins by the traditional method of treading.
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 my experience in the Bordeaux region so that together we could produce wine from the best grapes grown on the best plots on the best estates.
Since then, Prats&Symington has grown with the creation of a second label, Post Scriptum, in 2002 and the purchase of Quinta de Roriz in 2009. Bruno Prats