Quinta de Roriz Post Scriptum de Chryseia 2010
Although I have a feeling I should really be looking to the present with my weekend wine notes now, and perhaps getting back to Muscadet, the Médoc and other more familiar haunts, I simply can’t help throwing the spotlight back a few weeks to one final bottle that I encountered during my time on Madeira this summer. As it happens there is a Bordeaux connection, the wine a product of two famous families, one based in Portugal (their name has been associated with the wines of that country for a very long time), the other also well-known and long-associated with Bordeaux.
The Bordeaux name in question is Prats, in the shape of Bruno Prats. Bruno was for many years proprietor of Château Cos d’Estournel, but after the Prats family sold up Bruno was free to look further afield, for new projects. His son, Jean-Guillaume, stayed on as manager under the new owner Michel Reybier, and he remained until his departure for a new post with LVMH last year. Bruno developed several foreign ventures, usually in combination with contacts back in Bordeaux; he established Viña Aquitania in Chile, in partnership with (among others) Paul Pontallier of Château Margaux, and he was also behind Anwilka in South Africa, set up with Hubert de Boüard de Laforest of Château d’Angélus.
Through the group Primum Familiae Vini, a network of famed family-owned estates (of which Cos d’Estournel had been a member) Prats knew the Symington family, and it was with them that he entered into a Douro project, named Chryseia. The idea was, in essence, to bring the Symington family’s knowledge of the local terroir and climate together with Bruno’s experience of winemaking in Bordeaux to produce a top-quality red table wine – made with local varieties but perhaps with more than a touch of Bordeaux style to it – on the banks of the Douro. The project was launched with the 2000 vintage, following a trial run in 1999 which was not released. Curiously, the earlier vintages were not sourced from one specific vineyard, but seem to have come from a variety of quintas owned by the Symingtons, including Quinta da Perdiz and Quinta do Bomfim. The second wine, Post Scriptum de Chryseia, which I taste here, was first released in the 2002 vintage.
The wine has evolved somewhat since those early vintages. Chryseia is now principally sourced from two quintas, the aforementioned Perdiz and the more recently acquired Quinta de Roriz. Post Scriptum is apparently sourced mostly from the first of these two, although the label (as shown above) still declares Quinta de Roriz as the estate of origin. This quinta was bought by the Symington family in 2009, and it enjoys a commanding position looking down over the Douro. The varieties employed in Chryseia are unsurprisingly led by the Douro’s gem, Touriga Nacional, in most vintages blended only with Touriga Franca, the proportions varying with the vintage. Post Scriptum might see Touriga Nacional play a lesser role, and other varieties such as Tinta Barroca make an appearance.
The 2010 Post Scriptum de Chryseia is a blend of 60% Touriga Franca, 35% Touriga Nacional and 5% Tinta Barroca. The fruit is manually sorted over a triage table before a subsequent mechanical selection, and then a light crushing. The fruit is fed to the stainless steel vats by gravity, inoculated with yeast and then fermented with the temperature controlled to 27ºC. It sees a short maceration before going into French 400-litre oak barrels for just ten months. The result is naturally intended to be approachable sooner than the grand vin. In the glass the wine has a dark, concentrated, rather claretty hue, is obviously youthful, still with plenty of bright pigment. It has fresh and open fruit on the nose, all blackberry and cranberry, with some white truffle nuances and also some sweet honeyed oak in evidence. It feels very pure, cool and polished on entry, with a very supple and elegant character through the middle, although with plenty of fleshy fruit and a spicy, well concealed seam of tannins too. It remains fresh, but does have a quite stern, spicy and grippy style evident in the end, and the tannins that bring this sensation are a little robust, albeit ripe and velvety. It has a good length. My only negative feeling is that the wine has a remarkable degree of polish and modern slickness to it. I find myself wondering how representative of the Douro it is (it feels more lushly New World and, it has to be said, rather anonymous in style) and I am not certain that I would ever want to go back for more. As a one-off bottle, though, this was certainly enjoyable. 16/20 (12/8/13)