Priorat, a tiny, once forgotten region in north east Spain is now the source of some of the most exciting and sought after wines in Spain. The Pérez family, one of the pioneers of the area, produce the wines of Cims de Porrera – all are glorious wines of terroir that combine great drinkability with a satisfyingly full bodied complexity at a very decent price!
This isolated wildly rugged and mountainous area was highly regarded in over a hundred years ago for its dark powerful wines – more recently however the region had slipped into obscurity, growers faced with declining sales were grubbing up their vines and planting more profitable hazelnut groves instead. The vineyard are had shrunk to less than a thousand hectares and only the highest and most inaccesible vineyards survived – In some ways this was the saving of the area, these stunted ancient bush vines produced a tiny crop of exceptional fruit. The concerted efforts of a few enterprising families in the early 1990s turned its fortunes around, people started to notice the extra ordinary quality of the wines being produced, now there are many more producers and each year we see more and more exciting and individual wines are being produced here.
The accolades they are gaining has raised this tiny region’s profile enormously over the following decades to the extent that now Priorat stands at the pinnacle of Spanish wine hierarchy as one of only two DOCa areas (Denominación de Origen Calificada – Denominació d’Origen Qualificada [DOQ] in Catalan) . This classification is reserved for regions that have the potential to produce wines of the very highest quality. Priorat when compared to Rioja (the only other DOCa), has a miniscule vineyard area but one with a surprising variety of climates due to the topography – very small plots of loose weathered shale and mica (called llicorella locally) at different altitudes cling to vertiginous slopes by means of narrow terraces a few feet wide. This unique terroir produces deep coloured, full bodied wines of complexity from Grenache (Garnatxa in Catalan) and Carignan (Carinyena), with some international varieties also grown.
Cims de Porrera
The Pérez family, one of the five families responsible for transforming the fortunes of the region. They make the wines at the renovated co-operative winery under an agreement with many local growers who own and tend small plots of vines around the village of Porrera. Unusually for Priorat the local vineyards are planted with more Carignan than Grenache, in such poor soils these vines grow deep in their search for nutrients, the wines are darker, more complex and ageworthy than most.
The entry level wine is Solanes is a full bodied but supple blend of Carignan and Grenache from vines between 40-100 years old with a splash or two of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot. The premium wine Cims de Porrera Clàssic is also well worth checking out, made in only exceptional years from pure Carignan from 100 year old vines, it’s arguably Priorat’s most elegant wine and offers exceptional drinking and value even if the price is just over £45 per bottle.
Prices at 23rd March 2012 (subject to change with out notice)
|‘Solanes’ Cims de Porrera, Priorat||2006||£215.72 per dozen, £17.98 each including VAT|
|Cims de Porrera Clàssic, Priorat||2005||£544.39 per dozen, £45.36 each including VAT|
|Cims de Porrera Clàssic, Priorat||2006||£566.78 per dozen, £47.20 each including VAT|
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