The start of the year is always an extraordinarily busy time for every one at Graham’s and Symington Family Estates, as we travel to share our wines at many shows and exclusive tasting events around the world.
Dominic Symington has been in Vienna, at the Welt WeinFestival at the Palais Coburg, which rightly bills itself as “the meeting point of wine connoisseurs, wine experts and viniculturists from all over the world.” The four day event features a wine show of 250 fine wines from 50 makers across 12 countries, as well as Master Classes and fine wine dinners.
Dominic was one of a group of four winemakers whose Douro properties produce both Port and Douro DOC wines: Quinta do Crasto, Quinta do Vale do Meão, Quinta Vale Dona Maria and Dominic on this occasion represented Prats + Symington, which makes DOC wines under the names Chryseia, Post Scriptum and Prazo de Roriz, and Quinta de Roriz Port wines. As neighbours in the Douro, well familiar with one another’s wines and estates – as were generations of all our families before us – it was an extraordinary opportunity to show visitors to the Welt WeinFestival what the region can produce.
Cristiano van Zeller of Quinta Vale Dona Maria was asked by the organisers to present a selection of Douro wines, and among others showed the Douro DOC wines Chryseia 2008 and Quinta do Vesuvio 2008. He knows our wines very well and had no difficulty presenting and discussing them with the group.
Dominic wrote in to tell us more:
Having four of the top Douro wine producers all together created a lot of attention and as a group we were one of the most sought after tasting areas. This was fascinating for the visitors as they were able to cross taste at different quality levels and therefore better understand the nuances and unique flavours of Douro red wines. The guests were at times a little surprised to see us picking up bottles from each other’s tables and suggesting that they do mini comparative tastings across producers.
In addition, I was one of six producers who did Tasting Lessons with small groups of just 3 or 4 guests. We discussed with them how we the producers taste, what we look for ourselves. As Port is so different from dry wine I also discussed and explained the various flavour stages in the maturing cycle of Vintage Port.
For this lesson I showed Graham’s 1994 – currently at the secondary stage of maturity and showing quite superbly! – and the Post Scriptum 2009. This was very interesting because I could show how (essentially) exactly the same grape varieties make two such distinctive wines. The guests were intrigued to be taken through the wines in detail and to look for similarities of aroma and flavour within such distinctive styles, Port and dry Douro DOC wine. Fascinatingly some people found it easier to identify a particular character in the Graham’s ’94 first and then find it in the Post Scriptum, while others went the other way.
One question posed was, “would it be easier if the Post Scriptum was more mature?” to which I replied yes, as I believe the richness of the Douro wines evolve as they mature and take on a more “port-like” aromatic.