Priorat of Catalonia is a wine region in Spain, I have heard of it but unfortunately not too familiar. Rioja, Cava, Ribera del Duero and Sherry are a little more familiar to me, although I am still exploring and have not had too much opportunity to taste them. It is a case of too much wine, too little time, one precious liver and the companies I keep tend to prefer more French, California and occasionally Italian.
When a group of wine friends suggested the wine theme for our next wine dinner gathering to be wines from Priorat, I thought….cool, I so gonna learn something if not everything. If you have been following me, you probably realised that I love older wine. And so my hunt began for older and interesting Priorat that I would be proud to share. It was not a difficult task considering that I know quite a few Spanish wine distributors, but confusing to me because I was not too sure about the selection available. But nonetheless, I made the decision.
There were several wines that night that drank well. Particularly impressive for me that Garnacha from this region were full-bodied, and showed candy-like sweet, red cherry notes, tart-like mineral and mocha-like flavours considering that the vines are grown on poor quality ground. For most the age of the vine (which I learnt are mostly pretty old) made the difference. But there were a couple of wines (young ones) that evening were quite new world in style with very forward primary fruit and one dimensional structure. May be due to the blending of old vine Granacha with new world varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.
But the evening didn’t disappoint because the last two stood out. They behaved and showed completely opposite to the few we had prior, not quite what we were expecting.
Both revealed deep amber hue with brick-like tint. They were matured and complex in structure, constantly evolving and changing. Cims De Porrera 1999 showed aromas of fat, burnt rubber, sun-baked straw and a drop of mint (my eyebrow raised when I noted it). Amadis 1996 Rotllan Torra had almost similar characters with added notes of wet cement (what?) and cherry liquorice. On the palate, the surprise was the slightly oxidised, old cigar, dried fruits and savoury finish that reminded me of sherry. Cims de Porrera was slightly more pronounced with notes of earth, autumn leaves, sour plum and olive. Both made a lasting impression in flavours and kept us intrigued.
Thank goodness we opened both bottles three hours earlier, they so needed it.