05-06-2017 ~ 1 Comment

The first “Tastets de Gratallops” village wine tasting

When it comes to the wine-producing villages of DOQ Priorat, Gratallops is by far the most dominant. With about 22 cellars located within the village boundaries, they have have over 25% of the registered cellars within the appellation. Also tossed into this is the fact that the original “Clos” wineries started in this village back in 1989 and makes it something of Ground Zero for the renewal of Modern Priorat.

This is why it’s been unfortunate that to date there hasn’t been a village wine tasting with the exception of Tast amb Llops that’s put on by the hotel, Cal Llop during the Fira del Vi. At 50€ a person, it’s something of a different affair though and is put on during the annual celebration of wine in both DOQ Priorat and DO Montsant when there is a tsunami of other events happening.

Thus it has been quite crucial for Gratallops to have an event like Tasta Porrera. For Porrera, it’s helped that there has been an active cellar association in the village for some time. In Gratallops, there hasn’t been that either, which to a large degree has held back annual events. I’ve been told in the past that the reason for this is the number of “personalities” which made it tricky to set up. Such is life in villages.

So we now see the birth of Tastets de Gratallops (little tastes of Gratallops) that happened this past Saturday. With 20 cellars in attendance it did indeed serve its purpose to be a proper village tasting, taking place in the church square in the center of the village. When asking the organizers why they chose the first weekend in June, they said that it was a generally quiet moment in the cellars and was before Sant Joan which essentially marks the beginning of summer in Spain and the end to getting people (meaning attendees) to do anything until after harvest in October.

They were a bit cursed to have much-needed rains decide to dump that morning which apparently delayed setting things up and so it started at 18h instead of the slated 17h, which is when I’d shown up. Despite this, people filled in quite quickly and moved through the tasting with gusto. One of the organizers told me that they’d had some 300 people reserve leading up to the day and when I left at 19:30h, I’d say a good 200 had already shown up. More probably came after as people like to get a little drink in before heading to dinner so it was undoubtedly quite full by the end.

I’m to understand that the proceeds from this (which at 20€ a person was considerably higher than other events) are going to be used to start up a cellar association properly, which will be a very good thing given that this event was put on by the village council. I was admittedly a little surprised that many wineries had older vintages only at the tasting which, while enjoyable to taste, was something of a surprise. They said it’s because they’d already sent off orders of the newest vintages and had to pull bottles from their archives. Hopefully next year can see some of the newer wines.

But for a first event, it went off well overall and I wholeheartedly welcome it to the annual calendar of events that allow people a little glimpse into the wonderful world of Priorat wines.

WINES

Ancestral Wine Cellar - Khikhvi 2014 95
First harvest of Khikhvi. Light apricot notes, peach skin, lemon peel. Citric in the mouth, fresh, lively acidity, vibrant. Very holistic, full and deliciously good.
100% Khikhvi · 12% · 30GEL
95 3 Stars

Petriaant Marani - Khikhvi 2015 94
Bruised red apple, touch of lemon peel, limestone minerality, and some white pepper notes at the back of it. High acidity and full in the mouth. Luscious, involving, elegant wine.
100% Khikhvi · 14% · 25GEL
94 3 Stars

Domaine of the Bee - Cuvée 2015 93
Ruby with minor garnet rim. Rich red fruits with an underpinning of ripe plum, orange peel, licorice, cocoa. Broad, round tannins with a touch of toast and sweet cocoa in a long finish. Manages to stay very light on the palate despite the higher alcohol.
50% Grenache 50% Carignan · 15% · 25EUR
93 2 Stars

Tchotiashvili - Khikhvi 2014 93
Apricot, yellow peach, orange peel, and a touch of honey. Quite complex aromatically. Orchard fruit much more prevalent in the mouth with young apricot notes. Rich and elegant, touch of astringency in the finish.
100% Khikhvi · 13.1% · 28GEL
93+ 3 Stars

Domaine Augustin - Adéodat Blanc 2016 93
Lemon and white peach, strong kick of salinity, and toasted notes. Very fleshy and full on the palate, peach notes more prominent as well as Meyer lemon, medium plus acidity and a lengthy finish.
100% Grenache Gris · 14.5% · 20EUR
93 2 Stars

AA Badenhorst - Secateurs Red Blend 2012 93
Forest bramble with ripe red fruit, touches of cherry, ripe red plum, tiny bit of prune, cumin, anise, black licorice, wet cement mineral note, underlying fig jam. Crisp medium plus acidity, medium tannins, medium plus length, medium alcohol, overall medium plus body that’s ripe and lively but super fresh and balanced at the same time. Bit of rugged wildness to it but doesn’t get out of hand. Easy to drink but with just enough underlying complexity so that it stays interesting.
56% Syrah 27% Cinsaut 6% Grenache 4% Cabernet Sauvignon 7% "Others" · 13.5% · 12EUR
93 2 Stars

Domaine Treloar - Motus 2015 93
Dark ruby, minor rim. Big, mighty bouquet of red cherry and other brambly forest fruit, vanilla, almond blossom, orange peel, and cocoa. Rich and full on the palate with a wealth of tannins still integrating, leading into a crunchy, lingering finish.
80% Mourvèdre 10% Syrah 10% Grenache · 14% · 14EUR
93 2 Stars

Clos Henri - Petit Clos Pinot Noir 2016 92
Earthy, red cherries, young, crisp cranberry, light herbal notes, leafy, minor chalk. Medium tannins and medium plus acidity as well as length. Light sweetness on the palate but with a very pleasant, lingering structure and lightness to it.
100% Pinot Noir · 13.5% · 16.50EUR
92 2 Stars

Domaine Augustin - Adéodat Rouge 2015 92
Medium ruby. Fresh red cherry, raspberry, and young strawberry, lifted and breathy, saline tinge along with light stoniness and rosemary and garrigue. Fresh red fruit on the palate, medium acidity but still light on the palate, fresh, and while the alcohol sticks out a little, holds and excellent, long finish.
Grenache Carignan Mourvèdre · 14.5% · 20EUR
92 2 Stars

Domaine Fontanel - Prieuré 2014 92
Dense ruby with brick flecks. Crisp red fruits, lifted by a waft of volatility making for a light nose with a spicy licorice and leather component. Crisp and lively with red cherry fruit in the mouth and a nudge over medium acidity. Nice, lingering finish.
50% Syrah 25% Grenache 25% Mourvèdre · 14.5%
92 2 Stars