We’re deep in the middle of harvest. This year it started a bit earlier and some wineries in Penedès and Empordà were picking their grapes at the beginning of August. As to when it will finish, that’s always impossible to tell as the weather dictates a great deal of what will happen. If there’s a big burst of heat, many will harvest earlier. If the year continues with alternating days of a little rain followed by good, abundant sun, it will be a very late harvest, possibly even later than last year. Most cellars are already declaring 2014 to be one of the best vintages on record.
Two wines that are part of this very late harvest are from DO Montsant in the Priorat comarca, which has that wonderful mix of heat and just the right amount of rain to avoid the mildew problems you see further north in Europe. This allows both of these cellars to harvest the grapes for these wines in the middle of November, making them special bottles that are definitely worth a look.
Vinyes Domènech Teixar 2010 €34
This wine is unique as it’s one of the few to be produced from 100 percent Garnatxa Peluda. Typically, this ‘hairy’ variant of the Grenache grape is aromatically mind-blowing, but often light in the body. This isn’t the case with this particular bottle which hits every point perfectly.
Amazing nose with aromas of forest fruits, ginger, thyme, fennel, as well as cloves and hazelnuts. Fresh and elegant in the body, it’s also ample and balanced with round tannins that lead to a lingering finish with notes of fruit and oak.
Ortovins Les Tallades de Cal Nicolau 2011 €52
Joan Asens is a famed enolog in the Priorat region and his Ortovins project demonstrates why. He claims the secret is the very late harvest, as seen with this wine produced from 100 percent Picapoll Negre (a rare grape to find these days) which is the ultimate balance of maturity and elegance in a Catalan red wine.
The red fruits in the nose intertwine with mature currants, liquorice, pepper, wild strawberries, pomegranate, and lilac notes. The body is fluid and light, but with well defined, delightful tannins. The finish is enveloping and expressive with light smoky notes at the very end.