Alfredo Arribas, That Old Black Magic in DOQ Priorat

339/365 – Catalonia – DOQ Priorat – Priorat – Clos del Portal – Negre de Negres 2012

That Old Black Magic……..,

DSC_0036

Negre de Negres 2012, Garnacha Tinta, Carignena, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah

Down and down I go, round and round I go, like a leaf that’s caught in a tide….., Black Magic is found in abundance in this Super Catalan that Alfredo Arribas had created by most probably using magic? This is a wine that shouldn’t exist, at least not in this region, because it defies all sensory logics when it comes to what the Priorat region equals and what wines from here in general are all about. Even the price is magical, an absolute value for money! And that, my friends, is why it is a Super Catalan.

Lovely, intense, dark cherry color. Clean and Bright. Nice slow tears. Intense and fresh aromas. A great background with notes of herbs and carob, it displayes an expressive minerality with a wide range of red and black, juicy and fresh fruit and abundant balsamic notes. After it opens up, elegant toasted notes appear, a lot of very creamy and spicy notes and chocolate that stands out. Negre de Negres (“Black of the Blacks”, referring to the red grape varieties being used) is a wine that is powerful on the palate, but gentle and kind at the same time. It has a silky and very tasty entry, sweet but with a freshness that is present at every level. In the mouth it reflects the same aromas which are found in the nose with a perfect harmony between fruit, toast, creamy balsamic and expressive minerality. Excellent acidity in perfect balance. Ripe tannins. Long finish with good persistence. If you are out to get something different from Priorat, you should keep this one in mind! Enjoy, enjoy and enjoy!

Maybe there are better ways to live life? I just feel good about the way I am living mine. Sun, great food, walk with the dogs and wonderful wine, not to mention the wonderful wife! Had a truly enjoyable wine tasting yesterday with a great bunch of wine lovers in Barcelona. Some of the usual suspects were there, together with some new prospects!

1507857_771783372838930_463148591_nOne of the new members is a passionate host within the community of EatWith! People with a passion for food and wine, cooking at home and inviting, in most cases, total strangers and preparing a dining experience in their own home. Yes, you’re right, couldn’t but join in and am now contemplating my own hosting of such an event! Let the passionate cooking begin!

ndn_08

The work of Alfredo Arribas begins in the DOQ Priorat during 2001. The Clos del Portal, estate wines project is located in the heart of Priorat, between the villages of El Lloar and Bellmunt, rising from the valley of the Siurana River to the foothills of the Sierra del Montsant.

Alfredo Arribas, architect come wine maker!

Throughout the years they have been recovering abandoned coster terraces, working with the diversity of grapes and clones present on these sites and outlining an advanced model of viticulture.

The architecture of the cellar integrates it nicely into the landscape!

Before long, their estate wines have managed to stand out as a clear example of the latest generation of Priorat wines, in pursuit of elegance and subtlety. Made with meticulous perfectionism, interpreting the extreme terroir, austere soil and climate, showing the way of the future for this wine growing area. Alfredo Arribas runs the winery with the support of Joan Asens.

One of Celler Clos de Portals many vineyards!

Clos Portal has 40 ha. of small plots. All of them bordering with each other, out of which 14 ha. are vineyards, half of the vineyards are coster and the remaining are terraces. The importance of the mineral soil, licorella slate base with subtle variations of different soil components that confer complexity to the whole, is the key factor of great harmony of these treasured wines made from different varieties and vineyards.

The label designs are amongst the coolest I have ever seen!

Grenache, Carignena, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Monastrell are the grapes grown along with some experimental varietals. They work on the basis of organic viticulture and are in the process of conversion to organic farming altogether. Estate wine meaning that all wines are produced with their own grapes, harvested manually, rigorously selected, cluster by cluster in the vineyard and not buying additional grapes.

The full range of wines from Alfredo Arribas, Portal del Priorat

49 to go!

 

Celler Sangenís i Vaqué – This day I’ll always remember!

The 2014 tasting adventure starts. 365 wines from Catalonia in 365 days!

The 2014 tasting adventure starts. 365 wines from Catalonia in 365 days!

1/365 – Catalonia – DOQ Priorat – Porrera – Sangenís i Vaqué – Clos Monlleó 2000

Does not look like much....., but to drink the wine it gives us is a unique experience.

Does not look like much….., but to drink the wine it gives us is a unique experience.

THE DAY!

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!

For a very reasonable cost, a visit with tasting is a must once in Porrera.

For a very reasonable cost, a visit with tasting is a must once in Porrera.

THE TRIPP!

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!

The mythical Priorat

THE VILLAGE!

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.

Pure gold!

THE WINERY!

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.

The new generation.

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 WINE!

Monlleo 2000 is a very classy wine

Monlleo 2000 is a very classy wine

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