Monday, January 16, 2012

Priorat = Good (better than my original headline which included a play on the word priority)

Last week The Essex County Wine Society hosted a tasting of wines from Priorat, a region in Northeastern Spain that is known for it's big, bold red wines. Wine from Priorat share a lot of characteristics with the Southern Rhone because most Priorats are blends consistng mostly of Syrah and/or Grenache (or as it's known in Spain, Garnacha). Merlot and Carignan (another grape commonly found in Rhone blends) are also often blended in Priorat.
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

South Africa is the next region that the Essex County Wine Society will be tasting.  Admittedly, this is one of my least favorite regions, BUT, I will be at that tasting and I will give it my best.  Yes, this is such a sacrifice!

Before then, I expect to have at least a few other wine encounters.

Until those next sniffs, sips or quaffs,

Alli M.


elliej said...

I think I had a Garnacha wine at Zahav (a Philadelphia Israeli restaurant) last night. I loved it.

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