1/365 – Catalonia – DOQ Priorat – Porrera – Sangenís i Vaqué – Clos Monlleó 2000
It was the third of September! That day I’ll always remember, yes I will! The day I finally got to discover and appreciate Priorat wines, first hand! I’m rather excited, as I am joining into the wine blogging community, getting to write about my passion for wine. I won’t start with the first wine I ever tried but the wines from the areas where I live and work. The focus is Catalan wine and trying to present them in a basic way which I feel might appeal to many people, all wine lovers alike. Doing it the Sweet Easy way!
We, my wife and I, had recently moved to Barcelona and this was the day we would explore Priorat. As we were approaching the mythical and mystical region, we decided to get of the main road and the first sign said Porrera. That’s it! Only 6 kilometers from the main road but it took us 15 minutes to get there. The GPS, quite optimistically, wanted us to drive at the speed of 90 km/h but the windy roads wouldn’t allow more than 45 km/h. All good! All worth it! This, our first day in Priorat, we didn’t see much more than Porrera, knowing full well that we were going to be back!
Formerly called Vallporrera (twelfth century Valporriera) is a derivative of leek with a collective sense. Obviously, this is the edible leek, cultivated since ancient times. It is, therefore, a Roman name, from the Latin “porrum” and would have the meaning “(valley) where the leek is plentiful.” Now, the wines is plentiful. Porrera has 14 wine cellars, a few restaurants, B&B;s and a welcoming feel! As Priorat has its micro climate, Porrera displays yet another micro climate within the DOQ. Some say, you will be able to distinguish wines from Porrera in comparison to other wines from the region.
The Sangenis and the Vaques! The sign outside the winery, located on Placa Catalunya, only states DO, and the sign hasn’t changed since 1979. Priorat got it’s DOQ in 2000 and the fever started. By that time Pere Sangenis and Conxita Vaqué had been producing excellent wines for more than 20 years, although the history of winemaking runs for generations. The new generation, daughters Nuria and Maria, are now exploring historical vineyards with a modern touch. The labels stay the same, as the father still has his say so. Changing the sign, adding the Q, seems to be the least important thing for now.
Sangenís I Vaqué was founded in 1978 by Pere Sangenís and Conxita Vaqué. The vineyards are located in Porrera, famous for its llicorella (schist and slate) terraces and vines, all of which are venerable, and divided between Garnacha and Cariñena. Minimal intervention in the winery is the philosophy here and the wines are aged in a combination of French (85%) and American (15%) oak for 12months. They are then bottled unfined and unfiltered and can, as a result, be seen as amongst the purest and most traditional. This is and will be, for a very long time, my favorite winery!
The top wine at this wonderful Celler, Clos Monlleó, is a 50/50 blend of 80 year-old Carinena and 30 year-old Garnacha, aged for 18 months in new Allier oak and bottled unfined and unfiltered. The 2000 is beefy and carries a slight hint of smokiness. Gamey notes are clear and loads and loads of black fruit comes over the mouth. Spices and bell peppers are evident. Complex and long aftertaste. The tannins are soft, almost mellow, and the acidity, even thou noticeable, is quite low.
This is a very classy wine!
First day, first wine! More to come tomorrow!
Catalan Wine 365