Three wine kings
In countries where Christmas is celebrated there seems to be a split based upon whether you think gifts should be exchanged on Jesus’s birthday, December 25th or likely when the Three Kings showed up to give him said gifts on January 6th. However it may be for where you are, in Spain the 6th is the big day and so I feel like taking the opportunity to go hog wild and pick out three “kings” from the wines of Catalonia. Basically these three wines that moved me in the last few years and maybe even touched my soul which naturally borderlines lines on asshole wine writing but hey, ’tis the season!
If you’re going to be the most expensive bottle in DO Montsant, then you better damned well be worth it. From a single vineyard perched above La Figuera this 125+ year-old (the vines are ungrafted so no one knows for sure) Grenache shows it is not to be toyed with. The aromas are robust with forest fruits, blueberries, and graphite minerality as well as toasted hazelnuts in a luscious, full nose. Large and wonderful in the mouth, it manages to still be fresh and complete with a lingering, elegant finish that hangs beautifully on the palate.
100% Grenache 15% 110€
Vall Llach Mas de la Rosa 2010
This wine has a special place in my leg as I learned in the 2014 vintage just how damned difficult this steep, craggy, 110 year-old vineyard of Carignan is to harvest. One wrong step landed me on a sharp piece of licorella with a bruise that lasted weeks but I looked upon fondly any time I’ve had the chance to taste this Vi de Finca wine. Dark chocolate notes are predominant along with beautiful minerality that peels apart like the most delicious onion you’ll ever find while you drink it and dig down through the layers. Despite the robust, very Priorat aspects, it is very able to hold acidity and not overpower meals to just be refined as hell.
90% Carignan, 5% Cab Sauvignon, 5% Merlot 15.5% 90€
Clos Erasmus 2010
Daphne Glorian’s cellar’s de facto namesake wine (it’s actually the cellar of Clos i Terrasses) is high on my list of “You’re opening it? I’m there!” wines. The wine is electric and alive with the red fruit notes seeming to pulse as you inhale it. Naturally a full-bodied wine, it fills in the mouth with plush, lovely tannins and as it opens, floral notes appear in the form of violets eventually giving way to mineral notes that linger in to the finish. Delicious, exciting, vivacious, and not to be missed if you can find it.
70% Grenache, 30% Syrah 15% 140€
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
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
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
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
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%
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
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
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
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
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