In The Glass: Toto Marqués – Prades 950 2016
by Miquel Hudin | 01-07-2020 | 2 Comments
There’s been a justified push to promote “terroir” insofar as it relates to wine. This French word, which means “sense of place” or more simply, “locale” is all fine and good unless it’s the case that your “terroir” doesn’t really have a name and the one most associated with it has no relation to where your wine comes from.
Such is the case that Toto Marqués found themselves in as they’re producing a wine in a cellar in the village of Prades from grapes they have nearby in the forests around the village of Poblet. I’m sure you’re thinking, “Ah yes, Prades, they do… well, I mean, they’re known for… sure, sure, the grape uh…” You’d not be remiss for drawing any number of blanks here. For those of us who live in Catalunya, the area is much better known for potatoes than anything else (Festa de la Patata every September!) and if you told someone good wine came from there, they’d most likely make a grown-worthy “dad joke” about it along the lines of, “What’s it called? Potato Noir?”
I was admittedly quite unaware of any wine action happening up there until Toto Marqués sent me a sample of this wine along with others from Priorat just to see what I thought. As they put it, “We make it without any DO or IGP. Yes, it’s in Baix Camp and could be DO Tarragona but there’s absolutely no correlation between our vineyards at 950m and the region of the region.”
My curiosity was piqued and upon first tasting it, I was duly impressed. While I wouldn’t say it’s a “mountain wine” (whatever that really means), there’s a very fine, very delicate finesse to it. A most curious blend of Grenache, Syrah, Pinot Noir, and Merlot, I have to say that it not only works but it’s damned good.
Apparently they’re hoping to someday have their own, separate DO, possibly administered by an established one like Conca de Barberà or Montsant. I’ve often heard this claim from people who really want to push something specific about their little chunk of the planet. Admittedly, I usually just nod in casual agreement as it’s often a touch over zealous. But in this case, I think they might be on to something as this really doesn’t taste like anything else I’ve had nearby.
I’d say run out and grab some it as it’s very fairly priced as well as low SO2 and certified organic. The problem is, they don’t make many bottles and as far as I’m aware, it’s not exported. If you do find it, enjoy this hidden, “region-less” gem!