262/365 – Catalonia – DOQ Priorat – El Lloar – Celler Clos 93 – L’Interrogant 2013
L’Interrogant 2013, 45% Carinyena, 43% Garnacha and 12% Cabernet Sauvignon
………..addicted to the shindig. Chop top, he says I’m gonna win big. Choose not a life of imitation, choose a bottle of the 2013 Question mark! Look at the new kid on the block, all grown up and, for good or bad, a little more Priorat-like, a little bit more mature. The third vintage is a shining star. How can I not like a wine that shows quality, potential and usefulness!
If this fine product is any kind of indication of what we can expect from Priorat 2013 vintages, I’d say we’re all in for a treat. I did hear, from both wine makers and vintners, that the 2013 harvest was looking promising at the time, but as we all know, it is one thing to predict and another story when it comes to the actual opening and tasting of the wine at hand! This is my first 2013 Priorat that I am trying and I can’t wait to try the rest!
They have used a slightly different blend, but not by much. Added 2% of the Cabernet and reduced the same of the Garnacha. I couldn’t notice, good thin I can read the back label! What I did notice was the fine ruby red colour with cherry red rims, lovely with some nice and dense tears falling trickling slowly down the side of the glass. Wonderful array of sweet red and black fruits, some green pepper and light notes of coffee. On the palate there’s some sweet dark chocolate. The wine is fresh and very tasty, with a nice entrance leading to a long silky travel. Contrast of bitter cocoa and sweet toffee interact with the fleshy and tasty fruit, good acidity gives freshness and liveliness and soft tannins. Long and intense finish that leaves many memories. I am grateful they have managed to keep up the quality but at the same time allowing it an identity of its own, also very happy they have managed to step up the production to 8.000 bottles!
L’Interrogant is Catalan, meaning question mark. ? = a highly recognizable symbol around the world. This is what they decided to put on the label of their first and, for now, only wine! So very clever! It stands out on the shelves, it is noticed at any tasting and the wine is good! I am very happy to have helped in getting this wine to Sweden!
The Priorat New Age Renaissance took of in 1979 by five wine making veterans! Their project started and evolved in Gratallops in Priorat. The gang of five consists of Rene Barbier, Carles Pastrana, Josep Lluís Pérez, Daphné Glorian and Alvaro Palacios–each built a winery that brought the Priorat to world prominence. Bringing a sleeping wine giant to life. That was only 35 years ago!
Priorat was almost dead as a wine region with only 8 active cellars at the time, most of them cooperatives making bulk wine. Today we count 104 and I believe that figure is growing by the day. They founded the optimism and made it possible for cellars like Clos 93 to exists today. Priorat has a lot to thank these guys for!
Gratallops was the village around which they saw the potential of the vineyards and got the ball rolling. During these days there was basically no life in Priorat and certainly not in Gratallops. Most days they would eat, drink and sleep at the Hotel-Hostal Sport in Falset, This was also the breeding ground for their ideas and land purchases. How nice it would be if walls indeed could talk!
In and around Gratallops there are nowadays around 22 cellars, in the much smaller village of El Lloar there are 2! One is the smallest in Priorat, with one wine label and 8,000 bottles produced annually. The other one is slightly larger, with around 250,000 bottles annually. Which one do you think article is about? Please don’t get me wrong, the larger one does make outstanding wine!
Out of the 126 inhabitants living in El Lloar there are three that are my heros. Their family project works because they are passionate about their land and vines and surely because they have other day jobs! Two brothers and an uncle! That’s the team. Ruben, the younger brother, being the enologist. Josep in charge of sales and marketing and owner of the house/garage which constitutes the cellar. Pepo is the viticulturist and the one driving the four-wheel motorbike! All three together is to be experienced! After a day with them you are leaving family, not only friends. Passion!
Once in Priorat, it is very easy to find both El Lloar and the house of Clos 93, no question mark! One thing though. Make sure you calculate additional time for the roads of Priorat. Passing Gratallops, there are signs for El Lloar and the cellar/house is quite easy to find. The reception is in their living room and then you are shown to the basement, show time! Having said that, most if not all visits start in the vineyards. With the motto “where the wine is born, is where it should be enjoyed”
The vines are between 18 and 25 years old planted on licorella (slate) and red clay and cultured without intervention, with the utmost respect for the nature. Each variety is vinified separately and not until about 5-6 weeks before bottling the final blend is made. The grapes are harvested manually and transported to the winery where they are de-stemmed during reception and allowed to stand for three days in cold small stainless steel tubs.On the third day, yeast is added to start the fermentation, with a temperature of 18-25 ° and daily pigeage. After fermentation, the wine is pressed gently and moved to 300 liter French oak barrels for a repose for about 9 months. After many tastings the blend is decided and allowed to rest in the same tank for about 5 weeks to stabilize naturally. Finally it is bottled and labeled with the simple and clear ?.
Thousand questions that arise and that are answered only by opening one of the just over 8,000 bottles of this young and tasty red wine from Priorat. A wine to share and enjoy with friends and family!
122 to go!