Portugal hopes to repeat Super Tuscan feat

12th June, 2014 by Gabriel Stone

Portuguese wine is “on the cusp” of breaking into the fine wine market, just as the Super Tuscans did during the 1980s, believes one major Douro producer.

Quinta de Roriz, home to the Prats & Symington Chryseia brand

Quinta de Roriz, home to the Prats & Symington Chryseia brand

“We’re a long way from having a cult wine like Sassicaia or Ornellaia, but I think it will happen,” predicted Paul Symington, joint managing director of major Douro wine and Port producer Symington Family Estates.

Looking back on the environment required for this Tuscan break through, he told the drinks business: “It needed critical mass, the economy had to be strong in the US, the wine culture needed to be developed and you needed a catalyst to light the spark.”

Transposing this to the Douro today, Symington reported: “There’s a whole bunch of people making really good wines. They didn’t all get it right to begin with – there was too much oak, decisions about treading or not treading, which grape varieties to use. Now there’s a new generation of winemakers all coming on and you find some phenomenal wines being made.”

Nevertheless, he acknowledged: “Still the Douro is not a default. The average shopper doesn’t know the Douro yet, but we do believe it’s on the cusp and sometime in the next few years there will be a catalyst. A lot of the boxes are already ticked.”

Despite the UK’s significant position within the global fine wine market and historic connection to the Port trade, Symington believes that, just as with the Super Tuscans the catalyst will come from the US. “The US is such a wealthy and diverse country,” he explained, adding: “Europeans are more sceptical of wine writing, but the US does take those suggestions.”

What’s more, Symington noted: “In the UK there’s so much in the big five retailers, but in the US you don’t have that. The US tiers are very complicated but it does mean there’s no massive buying power because it’s such a huge, complex system.”

Although the Symington family is most closely associated with Port through ownership of houses including Warre’s, Dow’s, Graham’s and Cockburn’s, its also produce a range of Douro DOC wines, as well as partnering in the high end Chryseia project with Bordeaux’s Bruno Prats.

While the core DOC range has “evolved quite a lot” in recent years, according to Symington, he noted that the major step forward for Chryseia in recent years has been the sharper focus on what was previous more of a symbolic home at Quinta de Roriz. “Chryseia is now anchored in Roriz,” confirms Symington. “All the wine is now made there from one property.”

A more detailed look at developments within Portugal’s wine industry will appear in July’s issue of the drinks business.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Job vacancies

Sales Account Manager

Jascots Wine Merchants
London, UK

Marylebone Sales Manager

Philglas & Swiggot
Marylebone, London, UK

Area Sales Manager

Bon Coeur Fine Wines
North England, UK

Procurement Assistant – Wine

Adnams PLC
Southwold, UK

Account Manager Central London

Speciality Drinks Ltd
London, UK

Brand Ambassador

Speciality Drinks Ltd
London, UK

National Business Development Manager

Speciality Drinks Ltd
London, UK

Marketing Assistant

Hatch Mansfield
Ascot, Berkshire, UK

Marketing Manager

Bancroft Wines
London, UK

Regional Sales Manager – Scotland

Bancroft Wines
London, UK

Sales Manager – London On-Trade

Bancroft Wines
London, UK

Customer Service & Sales Support Executive

Jascots Wine Merchants
London, UK

Market Insight Analyst

Conviviality PLC
London, UK

Technical Manager

Enotria&Coe
Park Royal, London, GB

The Global Sparkling Masters 2017

Deadline : 25th August 2017

The Global Malbec Masters 2017

Deadline : 25th August 2017

Global Chardonnay Masters 2017

Deadline : 1st September 2017

The Global Sauvignon Blanc Masters 2017

Deadline : 1st September 2017

Click to view more

The Global Rosé Masters 2017

With wines from the palest of pink to almost ruby red, bone dry to almost cloyingly sweet, reductively handled to barrel-aged, as well as gently spritzy to fully sparkling.

The Global Organic Masters 2017

The drinks business is thrilled to announce the launch of The Global Organic Masters

The Drinks Business Awards 2017

Now in its 15th year, the db awards have become the most authoritative, internationally respected badge of achievement in the alcoholic drinks industry.

The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters 2017

the drinks business Hong Kong announces its first year of The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters.

Click to view more