21-01-2013

The wines & oil of Gratavinum

Photo by Vinologue

It was one of those longer days of working on the Priorat guide that had us visiting several wineries in the morning. The afternoon though, had been cleared for Gratavinum several weeks previous though as they wanted us to visit while they were pressing their olive oil. Initially we were reluctant to wait, but after tasting more of the olives and their golden oil from the Priorat region, we really started to looking forward to it.

Perched out of the steep hills of Gratallops, the view from their vineyards is one of those rare ones that allows you to take in a great panorama of Priorat. From the start, they farmed all of their vineyards organically, gaining full certification in 2009. In 2012 they started the process to gain biodynamic certification as well. They’re also one of the few wineries that only dry farms all their vineyards, using no water other than what falls from the sky. The purpose for this being that it forces the vines to grow their roots deeper and produce more intensely flavorful grapes. It’s easier to do with old vines as their roots are already deep, but they apply this to their younger vines planted in 2004 as well.

Their cellar on the other side of Gratallops from the vineyards. It’s a curious location as you actually have to pass through la Vilella Baixa on a road that passes an old watermill to get there. But it’s there that they have their compact, productive winery as well as their olive oil press.

Photo by Vinologue

It’s quite important to note that they are only one of two independent olive oil makers in all of Priorat. What they produce is unadulterated, brilliant oil that literally shimmers like gold when you look at it straight out of the press. Naturally, the flavor is of as high a quality as their wines.

2piR 2008 has a nose of red fruits and a touch of fennel and other herbs from the vineyard. It’s strong in the body but quite balanced overall with a good deal of character that pulls through right in to the finish. It’s aged for 12 months in a mix of French and Hungarian oak. 14.5% 20€

GV5 2008 starts out with a nose of dark fruits with a hint of violet from the old Carignan and a nice, rounded minerality defining it. It’s nice and fresh in the body with a clean elegance that shows off the minerality very well in to the bright, wonderful finish that hints at a slightly buttery texture just at the end. The aging regimen is for 10 months in French and Hungarian barrels. 14.5% 40€

WINES

Álvaro Palacios - L’Ermita 2016
Very light red cherry, raspberry, tea leaves, dried fennel, light touch of anise, bay leaf, dried flowers, touch of fig compote, truffle. Exceptionally light and delicate on the palate, very very fine red fruits, integrated tannins, plush with a slightly buttery, velvety aspect, very long finish.
85% Grenache 14% Carignan 1% "Others" · 15% · 1160EUR
97+ 3 Stars

Ancestral Wine Cellar - Khikhvi 2014
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

Álvaro Palacios - Les Aubaguetes 2016
Linear plum and dark cherry notes, powdery cocoa, orange peel and blossom, raspberry at the base along with minor vanilla and dark spice touches. Delicate on the palate, light touches of dark fruit, good wealth of tannins yet held in check, medium plus acidity, very long finish. Needs much more time in the bottle.
77% Grenache 21% Carignan 1% Grenache Blanc 1% Macabeu · 14.5% · 455EUR
95+ 3 Stars

Petriaant Marani - Khikhvi 2015
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

Aquila del Torre - Primaluce 2015
Bruised yellow apple, bit of fig compote, chalky mineral notes, and hazelnut. Light oxidized touches that work to embellish the wine. Rich palate that carries lovely texture with the age of the wine.
100% Sauvignon Blanc · 13.5%
93 2 Stars

Domaine Augustin - Adéodat Blanc 2016
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
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
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

Terroir Sense Fronteres - Guix Vermell 2017
Crisp red cherry fruit, touch of spice, flecks of pepper, baking spice, compacted, wet earth. Delicate on the palate, stays fresh, surprising high wealth of tannins, long finish.
100% Grenache · 13% · 250EUR
93+ 3 Stars

Tchotiashvili - Khikhvi 2014
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