Up from the Cellar #8

We are here with a new Up from the Cellar tasting! So in February my partner and I were in Spain visiting my grandparents. I thought to myself… well were here so we might as well grab a few bottles and see what we’re looking at. So we chose 3 Priorat wines supplied by the fabulous wine warehouse Jordi Grau. Seriously this place is massive so if you’re ever in or around the Costa Brava go and check it out.

A quick note on Priorat for those of you who aren’t familiar. So Priorat lies in the north east of Spain southwest of Barcelona. It is very rural (as you can imagine) and is extremely rugged with lots of hills, terraced hillsides and old bush vines. It gained the classification of DOC.a. which is the highest classification and the two main grape varieties used are Carignan and Grenache. Mechanization in the vineyard is extremely difficult due to the landscape and so nearly everything is done by hand. These wines are generally powerful, full-bodied and will give red and black fruit flavours, bold tannins and good, sometimes great, age ability. So… on to the wines!

Ferrer Bobet

Founded by two friends in 2004 Sergi Ferrer-Salat and Raul Bobet. Their first vintage was released in 2008 which was their old vine 2005 and their special selection old vine 2005. The estate is located in the Porrera region which is one of the coolest parts of Priorat. Their vineyards are particularly high altitude and very steep with the vineyards of Carignan and Grenache being over 100 years old. Further vineyards were planted in 2004 & 2005 near the winery which included Carignan, Grenache, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Viognier and Roussane. Incredibly only 15 hectares of the estates 70 is planted with vines. This is due to the respect that Ferrer Bobet has for the biodiversity in this area and how important they believe it is to their ethos. Fair play to them.

Mas Doix

Founded in 1998 by Valenti and Ramon Llagostera, the estate practices strictly organic viticulture with biodynamic practices. They cultivate low yielding vines that provide excellent quality grapes. Creating seven different wines in total, this estate has an excellent reputation of putting the vines and quality of grapes first. They are proud of their philosophy and have a great team of people who work behind the scenes to produce some great wines.

Cims de Porrera

Founded by Lluis Llach and Mas Martinet. Mas Martinet was created in 1981 when Josep Lluis Perez and his family settled in Priorat to make quality driven wines. At the very beginning Cims de Porrera was created with a sole objective: to offer vine growers a fair price for their crops which would be above the one that was being paid in the market at the time. Whilst later on Lluis Llach left to work on his own project at Vall Llach, Cims de Porrera is solely owned by the Perez Family. Working solely with Grenache and Carignan for their red wines it is fair to say that they are considered one of the best estates in the region for the wines they produce.

Now to the wines !

Ferrer Bobet Priorat 2018

48% Carignan, 20% Grenache, 20% Syrah & 12% Cabernet Sauvignon. Fermentation takes place in 15 and 30 Hectolitre barrels, steel and concrete vats. Aged in 50% new French oak barrels for 12 months.

Tasting Note – Rating 90

Powerful dark fruits on the nose with lots of pepper and herbaceous aromas. Very smooth on the palate with ppower and concentration of those dark fruit flavours. Gorgeous black cherries, plums and prunes with a thick, powerful body. There is some heat here but it’s not overpowering the gorgeous dark flavours. Dark fruit is king here with those peppery and herbaceous flavours adding texture and balance on the mid palate. Very good freshness with lovely acidity and a good, earthy finish. Drinking really well now and will continue to over the next 6-9 years.

Mas Doix Salanques 2016

70% Grenache, 20% Carignan, 10% Syrah. Fermentation in stainless steel tanks and French oak barrels. Aged for 12-14 months in new, second and third use French oak barrels.

Tasting Note – Rating 93

Gorgeous red and black cherries with lovely herbs, damson and blackcurrant. Elegant and supple in the mouth with several layers of fruit with rosemary and thyme nuances. Lovely vibrancy of fruit with lots of freshness and acidity coursing through. Good density and weighty body with those blackcurrants, cherries and black raspberries really juicy and fresh. So supple and elegant with so much more to give. There are seamless tannins with a great, long finish. Really top notch wine this, it will evolve gracefully over the next 10 years+.

Cims de Porrera Classic 2015

100% Carignan.

Tasting Note – Rating 94+

Dark fruit aromas with kirsch, damson, lots of juicy cherries, plums and prunes, almost stewed but we’re not quite there yet. Lovely and smooth on the palate with fine tannins and a pure, elegant body. This is elegance and power at its finest for Priorat. There is a great depth of flavour with excellent complexity and balance on this thick and luscious body. Lively acidity adding a certain freshness but concentration, depth and power rules supreme. This is a cracking wine and whilst it is drinking beautifully at the moment it will evolve ever so well over the next 8-10 years.

For anyone who has not experienced Priorat wines, I would highly recommend that you take a look. None of these were particularly expensive. The most expensive was the Cims de Porrera at 45 euros a bottle at Jordi Grau. These wines were certainly powerful, perfectly typifying the region, with robust flavours and long finishes. Certainly something to look at if you enjoy Southern Rhone wines and more powerful, full bodied reds.

Many thanks for reading as always and I hope you enjoyed this little snapshot of Priorat!

We’ll be back in two to three weeks with the first part of the Fells Tasting that I went to a few weeks ago! Lots to report on that one.

Harry Vernau

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