Priorat, a small region in Northern Spain, has only recently gained notoriety among critics and wine lovers. Though it’s home to some of the oldest vines in Spain, most of them weren’t being used to make premium wine until a few decades ago.
In telling the story of Priorat, Jonas Gustafsson of Vin de Terra Imports wove in the story of his own import company, as Priorat was the first region he began importing after falling in love with it and its singular wines. Though when he started his company he aimed for only two producers per region, for Priorat he had to make an exception. We tasted the wines of three different producers: Vinedos de Ithaca, Celler Cecilio, and Billo, and they all fit his more important criteria for each expressing something different about the region.
Though Priorat is known for its powerful reds, the evening started with two whites, one from the humble Macabeo grape, and the other a Garnacha Blanca that was like an even more mineral white Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Both whites were from Sylvia Puig of Vinedos de Ithaca.
From there we delved into the reds, starting with Sylvia’s purple label Priorat 2009, and following it up with a different take on the same vintage from Celler Cecilio. Though the two wineries are close to each other geographically, the similarities end there. The Vinedos de Ithaca Priorat was exuberantly lush and full bodied, while the Celler Cecilio was a leaner, earthier take on Priorat.
The wine of the night for many was the Vinedos de Ithaca Odysseus Black Label 2007. If you want to taste a wine that exemplifies the kind of power and concentration people associate with Priorat, this is the wine for you. Powerful and inky but never heavy, with a finish that just didn’t quit, it was a wonderful way to end the evening. Thanks to Jonas Gustafsson for sharing his expertise and beautiful wines – be sure to check out the links below to see what you missed!