As is typical of the Essex County Wine society tastings, we blind tasted 10 wines and rated them in three different groups. Yes, that is a lot of wine, but if you can contain yourself and stick to a few sips of each wine, you'll get through it fine. And if you can't, this is why you leave me to do the tasting and writing!
I hadn't had a lot of exposure to Priorat, but I enjoy Southern Rhone wines so I liked a lot of what I tasted. These are big, dry wines with a lot of alcohol (thanks to the Garnacha), so you don't want to serve these with appetizers or a light snack. Also, a lot of these wines had some interesting rubber and smoke scents on the nose. These often dissipated after a good 10 minutes, but I could asee how this might be off putting to some. That said, I think these are really interesting, complex and flavorful wines and worth the risk.
The three wines that were my favorite of the evening:
Ardiles Merum 2004: Bright berry on the nose and palate; Slight rubber smell on the nose that I didn't get on the palate; Subtle mineral and herbal notes; Nice tannic structure
Salanques 2006: Gamey nose with some cherry notes; Velevety mouth feel with bright berry flavor and savory notes
Vall Llach Idus 2006: Bright berry nose with leather and earth notes; Nice balance of fruit and minerality on the palate; Flavors stick around for awhile (a.k.a. medium to long finish); Favorite of the evening