jamie goode's wine blog

Monday, July 27, 2009

Spanish whites, continued: amazing Priorat

Continuing with the theme of Spanish white wines, here's a really amazing example from Priorat. It's pretty serious, and justifies the high price tag.

Mas d'en Compte 2006 Priorat, Spain
50% old vine Garnacha Blanca, 20% Picapoll, 15% Pansal and 15% Macabeo from 'licorella' soils. Fermented in 3000 litre oak barrels. Very deep yellow/gold colour. Fantastic intense nose with complex sweet nuts, herbs, vanilla, spice and melon notes. The rich palate is bold but fresh with complex herb-tinged fruit character. Concentrated and bold with lots of flavour. Fantastic stuff. 94/100 (£17.99 Waitrose)

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Spain and Portugal: Priorat and Pegoes

Two very enjoyable reds this evening. A striking Priorat, in quite a different style to the blockbuster Torres reported a few other days (although, interestingly, this one comes from a guy called Fredi Torres), and a really nice inexpensive Portuguese red that's full of interest.

Sao del Coster Terram Priorat 2005
14% alcohol. Almost Italian in style, with a hint of the Douro, too. This is a superb expression of Priorat that really needs time. It is dark, with a gravelly, spicy, minerally nose showing taut, tarry plum, blackberry and raspberry fruit. The palate is fresh, focused and savoury with youthful fruit and good acidity. There's firm structure with spicy tannins and a bit of earthiness that reminds me a bit of a top Chianti. Real potential here, if you are patient: could be a 20 year wine. 92/100

Adega de Pegűes Colheita Seleccionada 2005 Terras do Sado, Portugal
13.5% alcohol. Touriga Nacional, Trincadeira, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah grown in the sandy soils of the Setķbal Peninsula near Lisbon. This has a lovely sweet, fresh, aromatic nose of cherries, plums and raspberries, with lovely fruit purity. The palate is bright and refreshing with tangy cherry and berry fruit, and a hint of plummy bitterness and savoury spiciness on the finish. This is really delicious, and great value for the 6 or 7 Euros it retails for in Portugal. Itís made by the over-performing co-op at Pegűes, which is probably Portugalís best. 88/100 (UK agent is Hallgarten)

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Priorat from Torres

Torres make some of Spain's best wine brands. I love Vin Sol, Vina Esmeralda is fun, and Sange de Toro isn't bad. They also make some impressive high-end wines, and this - the latest addition to their portfolio - is a rather impressive, if slightly 'modern' Priorat. Similar soils, and not all that dissimilar climate to the Douro in northern Portugal, and there's certainly a sort of kindred spirit here with high-end Douro wines. This is the top wine from their Priorat project - the regular Salmos was released a while back (see my review here).

Torres 'Perpetual' Salmos 2005 Priorat, Spain
Old vine Carignan and Grenache from steeply sloped schistous (licorella) soils, with 16 months in French oak, weighing in at 15% alcohol. This is quite delicious, although it currently shows itself in a ripe, 'modern', slightly oaky style (although there's certainly enough fruit here to stand up to the oak). Beautifully dense, quite complex black fruit character at its core, with ripeness yet freshness. There's a floral, mineral lift to the nose, as well as some oak spice, and the palate is dense and quite structured, with a chocolatey, spicy edge to the forward fruit. The tannins lurking under the fruit suggest that this is a wine with a good deal of evolution ahead of it. It's rich, likeable and a bit oaky now, but with a few years in bottle I reckon it will hit a point of beautiful balance. It's one of those wines you can drink very happily now, but wish you'd waited a few years before popping the cork. Serious. 93/100 (£17.99 Fareham Wine Cellar)
here's the wine on Torres' website

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

The raspberries are peaking

It's mid-June. My favourite time. The vines have flowered (early), the evenings are long, and the raspberries are peaking. It's going to be a good raspberry season, with ripening well spread out. Last year the three different varieties I planted all fruited at the same time (I chose a mix of early, normal and late, to extend the season). This year it's been a bit cooler with plenty of rain, so they are nicely spread out. I love wandering into the garden and grazing for 10 minutes on soft fruits (we also have strawberries). The secret to good grazing is to pick berries at optimal ripeness. Not too tart, but then not too sweet and flat. Appropriately ripe is best, a bit like grapes.

Two wines tonight. De Loach Pinot Noir 2005 California: this will be one of the wines in the Bibendum summer sale, and is a steal at the sale price of £6. It's quite rich - it reminded me a bit of a northern Rhone Syrah with it's meatiness and nice greeness - but it still tastes of Pinot Noir, with plenty of dark cherry fruit. Drinkable and moreish, which is not something I say often about cheap Pinot. I've got five more to try from the Bibendum sale - this looks like a good one if the samples I've been sent are anything to go by.

Torres Salmos 2005 Priorat: Torres first wine from the most famous of Catalan terroirs (see their description of it here). It's a fairly serious effort - it reminds me of a Douro wine. Dark and intense, with some new oak evident backing up the ripe, taut, leathery-edged fruit. Quite savoury and structured. Some minerality, too - or is this a suggestion prompted by the label image of terraced schistous vineyards. There's a fair bit of alcohol (14.5%). At the moment this isn't a wine that seduces: it's too big, tight and edgy, and I think it needs a few years of bottle age to show what it's capable of. A blend of four varieties - Cabernet, Syrah, Carignan and Grenache, I'd be curious to know what the components tasted like. This tastes quite Carignan dominated, but it could be that the distinctive terroir overrides the variety somewhat. Retail price £13.99, which for Priorat is pretty good value.

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