Posts Tagged ‘Priorat’

Esther Nin received degrees in both oeneology and biology before beginning her career supervising wine projects across Spain. Esther shares her time as Clos Erasmus winegrower icon Daphne Glorian’s right hand, as well as several additional consulting projects. She later bought a tiny parcel (less than 3 acres) of old vines on the steepest hillside slopes above the village of Porrera. The 2004 was her debut vintage, producing three barrels  from 80 to 100-year-old vines. Nit de Nin is 60% Garnacha and 40% Carinena aged for 18 month in French oak.

Deep, dark ruby/violet in color. Nose of dark fruit, plum, earth, and cocoa. Black cherry, blackberry and blueberry with kirsch, vanilla and spice. Plush, ripe and opulent — with a long finish. This bordered on being a bit much, though I did like it — just not sure it was worthy of all the critical acclaim. 15% alcohol. Imported by Eric Solomon.

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IMG_1694I learned late yesterday that Silvia Puig was pouring her wines at a dinner at Tallula in Northern Virginia last night. It wasn’t enough notice for me to make it and regretted not being able to attend.  Tonight, I came home and attempted to remedy the situation by opening a bottle of their Akyles.

The Akyles is a blend of 40% Garnatxa Negra & Peluda (Peluda is a variant of the Garnatxa grape so-called because the underside of the leaves have a hairy or “peluda” appearance) 45% Carinyena  and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. Vinification is done directly into 400 liter French oak casks with the skins, so that the never-ending stirring can be accomplished during fermentation with native yeast in order to get the rich tannins and color from the grapes.  Aged in the same barrels once topped off for 10-12 months.

Beautiful dark ruby in color. The nose is a packed with dark cherry and currant, violet and rose with a little vanilla, orange and cola. The color and the nose suggest another dense and extracted red wine from Priorat (not to mention weighing in at 15% alcohol), but this is actually quite graceful, finessed, supple and balanced. That all being said, there is a lot of fruit (dark and baked berry) with some fig, olive, green vegetable and vanilla. Nice minerality. Expansive with a big finish.

I was really impressed with the Odysseus Garnacha Blanca Priorat 2008, but this is a winner as well. Recommended — and a good value at $22 a bottle. Imported by Vinos Unico.

About Viñedos de Ithaca
The father and daughter team of Joseph and Silvia Puig named their winery Odysseus in honor of the Greeks who first brought vines to Spain. Odysseus makes Garnacha Tinta based reds, as virtually all of the producers in Priorat, but they have attracted the most attention for their Garnacha Blanca.

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IMG_1673The father and daughter team of Joseph and Silvia Puig named their winery Odysseus in honor of the Greeks who first brought vines to Spain. Odysseus makes Garnacha Tinta based reds, as virtually all of the producers in Priorat, but they have attracted the most attention for their Garnacha Blanca.

This is a White Priorat wine made from native Garnacha Blanca grapes from 80 year old vines. The wine is carefully fermented in the “old-style” without temperature control. A cold maceration for between 10 and 18 hours in new French oak barrels (which they later re-use for the red wines) is followed by native yeast fermentation in temperature controlled (frozen liter bottles of water are tossed in with the must) in stainless steel vats.

Light golden color. Pear, stone fruit and honeydew aromatics solid minerality with a touch of smoke. On the palate, pear, peach and nectarine with a spicy herbaceous quality and a little citrus and salt water. Rich, textured, with good acidity and loaded with minerality. Distinguished and strongly recommended — one of my favorite white wine discoveries of the year. 14 percent alcohol. Less than 500 cases produced.

This wine is available for $24-33 a bottle depending on the source. Imported by Vinos Unico.

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Les Terrasses is a blend of 60% Carignan, 30% Grenache and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon from Priorat. The wine is aged for 12 months in mostly French oak. Dark violet in color. Blackberry, blueberry, kirsch and crushed granite on the nose. Silky with deep, ripe dark cherry and dark fruit on the palate with some herbaceous, leather, dark chocolate, espresso and tobacco notes. Very lush and seductive. Soft tannins and a polished finish.  15,000 cases produced. 14% alcohol.

The wine is made by Alvaro Palacios, who has worked in Rioja and Napa, as well as apprenticing at Petrus. This might be the entry level wine in his portfolio at $30 a bottle. Certainly not a great value, but I was quite impressed with the wine. I have 2 more bottles packed away for a special occasion in the next couple of years and would certainly buy the wine again given the opportunity. Recommended.

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35873.jpgThis was one of the shining stars of Priorat in 04. I have only had the 04, and have yet to purchase any of the 05 that is just hitting that market.

Violet, dark rapsberry, blueberry and some oak on the nose, not much of the grenache seems to come through — and the elements that do are quite soft. I get a little Twizzler and Bubbalicious (but very dry and clean) — nice balance and good structure — a little kirsch and charcoal — great acidity with a beautiful finish. Lots of fruit, but shows some restraint and elegance. One of the best wines from Spain in 2004 that I have had. This is a really beautiful wine……strongly recommended.

96 Points – Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

“The 2004 La Basseta is 50% old-vine Carinena, 40% Grenache, 5% Merlot, and 5% Syrah aged for 15 months in French oak, 50% new. Dark ruby/purple, the wine has a spectacular perfume of mineral, scorched earth, violets, lavender, kirsch, and blueberry pie. Full-bodied, the wine is opulent with a velvety texture, layered flavors, a beautiful integration of oak, tannin, and acidity, and a well-delineated, long finish. Drink this pleasure-filled wine over the next 10-12 years.”

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pinolet1.gifI was very excited about this wine — and though it was good, my high expectations were perhaps too unrealistic.

20% Cabernet, 20% Grenache (60 year old vines), 20% Merlot, 20% Tempranillo and 20% Syrah from Terra Alta (near Priorat). They make about 4,000 cases — 3,000 go to the U.S.

Nice color. White pepper, cherries, licorice, pencil box, mineral notes — good finish, not a lot of depth — but a nice enough wine for burgers, pizza, pasta — quite nice at the price point (around 10 dollars).

If I were rating this wine I would give it 87 or 88 points — it’s an interesting wine and a good value. Imported by Ole wines. Originally started by college students — they focus on bringing innovative and value wines from Spain to the U.S. market. They now import about 100 different wines.

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Nit de Nin 2004

Nit de Nin 2004This was one of my best finds of 2004. I was able to get my hands on some last year through Wine Library. I have not seen this wine at any other retailer — not sure how many of the 900 bottles were allocated to the U.S. market.Spain is hot — and Priorat is one of the hottest regions in Spain. Named for the “Prior” or head of the Cartesian Monks who planted the area’s original vines, Priorat is located in Catalonia, Spain, and is mostly about altitude – the region is mostly hilly, and in the extreme north of the comarca (county) is the Montsant mountain range, rising to over 1000m. The climate is continental: dry and hot in summer, cold in the winter – perfect for grapes. You can also still find great values from Priorat — and the wines are very compelling. Why? Spain has more than 600 indigenous varietals — it also has the highest percentage of lander under vine in the world and is the number 3 producer in terms of quantity.I paid $60 per bottle. The wine is currently selling on auction sites from three times that price. You may not find Nit De Nin 04, but be on the watch for the soon to be released 2005s……and seek out many of the other great wines of Priorat.

I still have some 04 Nit de Nin that I might be willing to sell or trade.

The wine is imported by Eric Solomon — and there are some rumors that some of his other wines have gotten preferential treatment from Parker.

Parker notes
98 Points – Jay Miller – The Wine Advocate
“Only three barrels are made of Nit de Nin, made by Ester Nin, the vineyard manager for Clos Erasmus. The 2004 is 60% Garnacha, 30% Carinena, and 10% Syrah aged for 18 months in French oak. Purple/black, the wine has a fragrant perfume of mineral, truffle, creme de cassis, kirsch, and blueberry. Super-rich and layered on the palate, this opulent wine has exceptional depth and impeccable balance as well as a 60-second finish. Drink it over the next 10-12 years.”

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