As the saying goes in Catalan, ‘Al pot petit hi ha la bona confitura’, meaning ‘big things come in small packages’. I bring this up as every waking moment of the last two months has been consumed with the wines of DOQ Priorat whilst I have been busy preparing the second edition of the Vinologue series.
Priorat is a small region with even smaller cellars. In fact, there are single cellars in Penedès that produce more wine than the entire region of Priorat. Nestled amongst the slate and 13th-century villages, these small cellars produce their small quantities of wine, meticulously cared for to ensure that quality really is more important than quantity. And so, we find these hidden little gems tucked away...
Escoda Pallejà – Palet Most de Flor 2013
The owner of this cellar, Pere Escoda, has an incredible knowledge of all things related to the tiny village of Torroja del Priorat. Get him started and he’ll tell you all manner of history and local politics, but he can also make a hell of a wine in his 3,000 bottle-a-year cellar and this new, rustic, more ‘ancestral’ wine is worth a taste.
Strong notes of orange peel, lilies, earthy slate, figs, wild bramble, clove, cumin and dark fruits in the nose. The body is big and rustic with hearty tannins. €18
Solà d’Ares - Bessons 2012
Antoni Sánchez-Ortiz and David Barriche are two seasoned oenologists that have worked at various cellars in Catalunya as well as around the world (Antoni is currently in New Zealand working the harvest) and together they create this line of wines and have another under DO Montsant. Bessons has gotten to be one of my favourites, although with only 1,200 bottles made each year, it’s tricky, albeit worth the trouble, to get your hands on.
Dark fruits with notes of plums, figs, lactic, and smooth. Good acidity in the mouth, relatively fresh with good aging notes and a persistent finish. €18