Prats + Symington Post Scriptum 2016, Portugal
W hat many wine lovers like to do is hunt down less expensive versions of outstanding wines. It’s common for great Bordeaux houses to have a second or even third label. Now the practice has become widely accepted in Italy, California, Oregon and Portugal.
Chryseia was one of the early wines released when winemakers started producing non-fortified DOC wines from the Douro region. Its first vintage was 2000, and since then the reputation of the Douro DOC wines has soared. Savvy wine drinkers have discovered Post Scriptum ($26-28) from Prats + Symington for about a third of Chryseia’s $80 price tag.
Chryseia is a great wine, well worth the price, but few of us can afford to spend that much for wine on a regular basis. That’s where second wines, such as Post Scriptum, come in.
Post Scriptum comes from a second selection of the same lots used for Chryseia. In other words, The grapes for Post Sciptum grow in the same vineyard–sometimes on the same bunches–as the grapes for Chryseia. As the grapes are hand sorted, first pick goes to Chryseia, the second pick goes to Post Scriptum.
Some of us might not even be able to tell the difference in the two wines, although the Post Scriptum is a bit more fruit forward and ready to drink sooner. You might want to age Chryseia a few years before opening a bottle, but Post Scriptum is ready to drink when you buy it.
It is a gorgeous ruby red in the glass, with aromas of plum and red fruit. It has a delicious, fresh, approachable taste. I picked up notes of plum, blackberry and a little tobacco. The fine tannins and balanced acidity give it a smooth finish that lingers on the tongue. It is an expressive, elegant wine with concentrated fruit.
The wine is comparable to a fine Bordeaux, complex, approachable and great with food.
The blend of grapes changes each year. For this vintage it is touriga nacional 59 percent, touriga franca 30 percent, tinta roriz 6 percent, tinta barroca 5 percent.
The grapes are sorted by hand before undergoing destemming and an automated berry selection process. They are then gently crushed before being transferred to the fermentation vats where they are inoculated with a specially selected yeast culture and fermented at 77 degrees. During fermentation, the wines are gently macerated in order to produce an earlier drinking wine but with the ability to mature in the bottle.
After fermentation the wine is aged for 12 months in 400 liter French oak barrels.
The comparison to a Bordeaux is appropriate because Prats and Symington is a partnership between Symington Family Estates, one of Portugal’s oldest port producers, and Bruno Prats, former winemaker and owner of Chateau Cos d’Estournel in Bordeaux.
The company also produces a third wine, Prazo de Roriz that sells for about $16. It is another beautifully rich, fruit forward wine.
Winery: Prats & Symington is a wedding of two traditions: outstanding grapes of the Douro and modern techniques used to produce some of the best wines in the world in Bordeaux.
The Symington family has been involved in grape growing in the Douro for five generations, dating to 1882. Through the current generation’s great grandmother, the family’s links to the wines of the Douro span 14 generations to the mid-17th century and to the very beginnings of the history of port.
During that time the family has become experts in the grapes and terroir of the Douro. They now own more than 2,600 acres of vineyards, the largest vineyard holding in the Upper Douro Valley, and indeed in Portugal.
The Symingtons started with their port business. Symington Family Estates is an entirely family-owned and managed company and is one of the leading quality port producers, responsible for the making of approximately 32 percent of all premium port categories. Members of the family now own Warre’s, Dow’s and Graham’s, among the leading port producers.
Their Dow’s 2007 Vintage Port is the only port in the 21st century to earn a perfect 100 points from Wine Spectator. Dow’s 2011 Vintage Port was ranked by Wine Spectator the number one Wine of the Year in 2014, the same year Chryseia Douro DOC 2011 was rated number three wine of the year.
Spectator’s high ranking for Chryseia gave all Douro DOC wines a shot in the arm, and wine drinkers all over the world have been enjoying them ever since.
Bruno Prats brought his winemaking skills from the Bordeaux and other regions to take grapes usually bound for port production and make them into first class dinner wines.
He brought out a wine of balance and finesse by using the Bordeaux techniques of prolonged maceration and gentle and gradual extraction of tannins.
Goes with: We had this wine one Saturday night when I got too busy to cook and we decided to order pizza from Marco’s, which just opened a store near us. My favorite pizza in town is still Giuseppe’s, but we’re always trying new things.
Besides, I’m trying to give up as many carbs as possible, and Marco’s offers a thin-crust pizza, which has much less dough than most pizzas. It was perfect, and it reminded me of thin crust pizzas I used to get in Chicago before I discovered the delights of deep dish.
The wine was a great partner to the sausage and tomato pizza, providing enough power to stand up to the spicy sausage, but not enough to overpower the food. It was the kind of pairing I especially like, where each partner adds something special to the meal.
This versatile wine would pair with the same kinds of things you would eat with a Bordeaux, from fine meals like veal or steak to hearty soups and stews, or strong cheeses. It also is a great wine to just sip by itself.
Portugal's Post Scriptum Tastes Like A Bordeaux
Prats + Symington Post Scriptum 2016, Portugal