Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Vinicola del Priorat

Wow it has been a long time since I've posted. Not only that, I need to get back to the whole reason I started this blog, to learn more about wines through tasting them.

I am on a Spain kick, so bear with me. I do it because I know very little about Spanish wines and I think the best way for me to learn (and anyone to learn for that matter) is to taste the wines and try to find out as much information about it as I can.

So, without further ado… Priorat.

Priorat is a county in Catalonia, Spain located in the South West corner of the country. It covers 1,800 hectares (almost 4448 acres) with 74 wineries, producing 2.5 million liters of wine annually.

The wine I chose to help me along, the Onix Classic 2006, made by Vinicola del Priorat. (I try and include the company name as much as possible, even if it is just a corporate designation.) This wine is 50% Garnacha (Grenache) and 50% CariƱena (Caringan).

I looked so hard to find information on this wine, this region, The most I have found is that Priorat produces Quality Wines Produced in Specified Regions (QWPSR). Isn’t that one of those acronyms that you’ll instantly remember? SHEESH!

The QWPSR are governed by the Consejos Reguladores, which oversee all aspects of winemaking in their designated area. QWPSR are broken down into several groups (from top quality to bottom quality): Vinos de Pago (Estate Wines), Denominacion de Origen Calificada – DOCa (Qualified Denomination of Origin), Denominacion de Origen – DO, Vinos de Calidad con Indicacion Geografica (Quality Wines with a Geographical Indication), Vinos de la Tierra – VT (Country Wines), and Table wine. It so happens that the region is what is being classified, so in this case, wines from Priorat are DOCa.

A strange observation on this particular bottle, it says Denominacio D’Origen Qualificada. My understanding is that this is a regional dialect translation of DOCa.

Will all wines from this area be of high quality? No. But if the Consejo Reguladors are doing their job, and the winery is doing its job, then the wines from this area has a fighting chance to be decent.

Ok, enough academic gabbing and more about this wine.

It was good. Not amazing, but I didn’t expect to be knocked out by a $15 wine. There was definitely some oak aging on the wine since I found a lot of vanilla and cedar wood on the nose. There was also some brighter notes of strawberry with a little bit of black pepper. It tasted of bright red fruits, cherries and strawberries. But quite a bit of tannin, with more pepper on the mid palate. At the finish I got a hit of vanilla and cinamon.

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