A Douro Red Wine Partnership

Prats & Symington brings together two traditional winemakers producing high-quality red wines in the Douro Valley of Portugal. A comparison of their Post Scriptum de Chryseia 2019 and Prazo de Roriz 2019.

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Douro Valley wine region
The Symington Family Estates has long produced some of the most well-known Portuguese wines in the world, especially port, many of which are household names, such as Graham’s, Dow’s, and Warre’s.  It’s also one the magazine Drinks International‘s “Most Admired Wine Brands.” In 2000, Symington partnered with Bruno Prats, a French winemaker with his own family history in wine, to form the new label Prats & Symington (P + S) and began making the award-winning Chryseia red. Two years later, P + S expanded into their Post Scriptum de Chryseia label, what they refer to as a “partner wine” of Chryseia. Both Chryseia and Post Scriptum are made with grapes from the same P + S vineyards in the Douro Valley, one of the most important wine regions in Portugal.  However, the grapes for Chryseia are harvested from the first selection (i.e., the best ones) while the grapes for Post Scriptum come from the second selection (i.e., the ones that didn’t make the first cut but that are still good).  Hence, the name Post Scriptum, the Latin version of the English “postscript” or PS in a letter.
Prazo de Roriz is a more recent addition to the P + S portfolio. This label aims slightly down market in terms of price relative to Post Scriptum.  Still, both Prazo de Roriz and Post Scriptum would be considered above the average for what a typical Portuguese spends on a bottle of wine.

First Up: Post Scriptum de Chryseia 2019

  • Ageing: 12 months in French oak barrels
  • Alcohol Content: 14.2% vol.
  • Average Price: US $36.99
Post Scriptum de Chryseia Douro 2019
The Post Scriptum starts off with a leathery bouquet, which pairs well with its deep magenta color.  It’s silky going in but hits the palette with more intensity and a strong, peppery finish.  This is a dry, complex wine – Douro wines tended to be drier because of the climate – so for those who prefer a softer tannin, you might want to leave the bottle open for a while to let it breathe or decant it.  I let my glass sit for about ten minutes before my first taste, but then I waited another 45 minutes for a second taste when the bouquet became fuller and more red fruit notes came through.
Post Scriptum de Chryseia Douro 2019 glass
For deliveries in the United States, find the Post Scriptum de Chryseia 2019 here at wine.com.
UPDATE: As of the current date, wine.com is out of stock for the 2019 vintage and only has the 2020 vintage for sale here. I have not personally tried the 2020, but knowing P + S, I’m confident you’d be well served with either.

Next Up: Prazo de Roriz 2019

  • Ageing: 6 months in French oak barrels
  • Alcohol Content: 13.6% vol.
  • Average Price: US $17.99
Prazo de Roriz 2019
The Prazo de Roriz doesn’t have much of a nose right at first, but after being open for a while gave off a leathery aroma as well.  This is also a drier wine with a peppery finish, but offers more berry notes, though I would not describe it as fruity or fruit-forward per se.  I let my glass sit for about ten minutes before my first taste, then I waited another 45 minutes for a second taste when the wine seemed to open up much more than the Post Scriptum did, bringing out even more red berries and softening the tannins.
Prazo de Roriz 2019 glass
For deliveries in the United States, find the Prazo de Roriz 2019 here at wine.com.

How the Wines Are Similar

Both the Post Scriptum and the Prazo de Roriz are produced with grapes from the same Prats & Symington vineyards: Quinta de Roriz and Quinta da Perdiz.  Both wines are good for drinking young – you don’t have to wait a few years to open them – and both are Douro DOC.  DOC stands for denominação de origem controlada (protected designation of origin) and means that wines produced in a particular DOC region in Portugal, such as the Douro Valley, meet rigorous quality standards not required of regular table wine.
Both wines have a tight, dry, peppery flavor profile that benefits from some aeration.
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How the Wines Are Different

The main differences are the number of grapes used in the blends and the aging time.  It’s more production intensive – and, therefore, more expensive – for wine producers to make single-varietal wines and to let them age for an extended period of time.  We can see that reflected in our two wines here. 
The Post Scriptum is a blend of 56% Touriga Franca grapes, 33% Touriga Nacional, 7% Tinta Roriz, and 4% Tinta Barroca.  By contrast, the Prazo de Roriz contains a much wider variety of grapes: 35% Touriga Nacional, 20% Touriga Franca, 15% Tinta Roriz, 10% Tinta Barroca, plus another 20% that are not identified.  This is quite common in Portuguese wine, as many vineyards are centuries old and not every grape varietal growing in the vineyards can be reliably identified due to intermixing over the years. 
As a point of comparison, the 2019 Chryseia is 75% Touriga Nacional and 25% Touriga Franca, and retails for around US $100.  Touriga Nacional is widely considered to be a “noble” Portuguese grape and forms the basis of many ports.  Mono-varietal Portuguese wines, though not common – most Portuguese wines are blends – are often 100% Touriga Nacional.  For these reasons, wines with a high concentration of Touriga Nacional, like Chryseia, are often considered to be high-quality.
The Prazo de Roriz ages 6 months in oak, but the Post Scriptum 12 months.  You can get a sense of the difference this makes just by looking at the color of the corks. The Post Scriptum displays a much deeper, darker ruby.
Prats Symington corks

The Takeaway

If you’re usually a California red drinker, and aren’t certain you’re up for a drier red from Portugal, the Prazo de Roriz is a gentle introduction to the genre.  If you already know these complex wines are more your speed, the Post Scriptum is a good bridge to the Chryseia, when you’re ready to splurge.
Now, you be the judge!
For more wine comparisons like this one, check out our other posts in the Same Maker, Different Wine series.
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