(2018) A rare example of a white wine from Priorat in northeast Spain, this is a blend of 50% white Grenache 25% Picapoll (Picpoul) and 25% Xa.rello, fermented and matured for seven months in barrels, 70% new French oak and 30% American oak. A hint of gold to the buttercup colour, there's plenty of toasty and oatmeal and almond creaminess on the nose and richness is evident with pear fruit and a hint of spice. In the mouth it's a substantial wine, the full oak treatment adding volume and texture, as well as that more overt oak character, which is perhaps just slightly overdone for me. Nevertheless, an interesting take on a Burgundian style, with good firm acids bringing up the finish.
(2018) Along with the dry Furmint, one of the stars of the line-up for me - though you have to like a fair thwack of charry, spicy oak in your wines. In this Priorat it is matched by plenty of berry fruit, smoky and mineral in its own way, and a hint of Parma violet to the aroma. It has excellent drinkability, made principally from Grenache with some Bordeaux varieties in the mix, giving a fruit freshness and silky richness to the palate. A grippy bite of tannin and good, clean acidity completes the picture of a wine that's a banker for barbies this summer.
(2015) And yes it's two in a row for Aldi with this 14.5% Garnacha (Grenache) based wine. Tight kirsch and blackcurrant, the fine spice suggesting Sandalwood and delighfully balanced aromatic character. On the palate it is composed and beautifully fruited with a cleansing, crisp finish showing copious fruit but such a precise structure of tannin and acidity. Could cellar for a few years too.
(2015) The Grenache-based wines of Priorat, grown at altitude on slate soils close to Barcelona, can be some of the most profound in Spain. Old vine Grenache is joined by Syrah and Mazuelo in this wine, which has a dense, intense purple/black saturation, and very vivid and velvety berry and spice aromas: hints of clove and cedar as well as plenty of dark bramble fruit. Despite the 14.5% alcohol there is a bit of cut and freshness on the palate. Tannins are pretty soft and fine, acidity is fresh and cherryish, all off-setting the ripe fruit concentration and spice.
(2015) A blend of Garnacha, Xarel.lo and Pedro Ximenez. 2,000 bottles are produced, and the wine is fermented in steel but aged in new French oak. When I previously tasted the 2006 vintage I found the oak a little too toasty and dominant. Here there is again a lot of charry toast and also oxidation that gives this a Sherried character - obviously it's a house style because the 2006 was so similar. In the mouth it is rich, ripe and intense, with an almost chewy character to the thick vanilla and toast in the finish, against some very good acidity. It's a curate's egg of a wine this, for me not quite in balance, and yet curiously fascinating, that oxidative style intriguing in the mould of a great Tondonia or Musar white perhaps. What there is, is obvious quality, and while it's a tough one to rate in some ways, I ended up understanding this wine much better than last time - and I really warmed to its singular style.
(2015) Made from 80-year old Garnacha and Cariñena, with a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, this is aged 10 months in French oak. It has a very dark, saturated and youthful colour. The nose is all cassis and glossy black berries, a sheen of graphite and dark cocoa adding to the plush appeal. With 14.5% alcohol it is big and generous stuff on the palate. a fantastically opulent sweep of ultra-sweet, ripe black fruit rushing across the tongue. It is big, but not clumsy, as liquorice and spice, and more of that bittersweet cocoa adds savoury depth, and a good level of tannin and acidity give it some energy and precision. The final impression is the fruit, in a fine Priorat that will surely age for a decade.
(2015) Only about 100 cases are produced of this blend of Garnacha, Cariñena, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. This 2009 is immediately more plummy, meaty and a touch pruney than the MIN 2013, with a stewed fruit compote note, loads of black fruit and a hint of menthol too; clearly super-ripe stuff, though again alcohol is 14.5%. In the mouth this has concentration and weight: extremely ripe and plush, with that baked plum pie and cherry sweetness, but a big meaty, chocolaty, rich and dense support from creamy oak and chunky tannins.
(2015) This is 100% Syrah from Berenguer's own vineyards, aged 15 months in Burgundian oak. It has 15% alcohol. Very dark, saturated crimson black, with a full, coffee, chocolate, ripe and sweet black plum and glossy cassis nose, again a bit of mint or menthol here, and just a background hint of something a little more gamy. Huge fruit sweetness and concentration on the palate: an enormously deep, glossy, smooth as velvet pool of ripe black berries, all beautifully merged with the svelte and creamy oak and tannins, a little spicy and cherry acidity leavening the picture. A massive, unctuous wine that some will like more than others, but a really good example of its style.
(2015) 'C.S.' stands for Cabernet Sauvignon, in this case 100% Cabernet from a single vineyard, which spent 16 months in new French oak, and only 1,000 bottles made. With 15% alcohol it is true to the house style and is massively ripe and spicy - no sign here of Cabernet Sauvignon's occasionally green note of savoury olive: this is a fruit bomb for sure, and yet there's a refinement too, graphite and cedar and very high quality and quite subtle French oak. In the mouth the tannins are fairly dusty at the moment, suggesting this perhaps needs a little time, the edge of acidity and tight tannin giving some liquorice and an endive-like bittersweetness to the long, spicy, spicy finish.
(2012) Focused, mineral nose, dense and meaty, big and chewy on the palate with smoky, bitter chocolate and plush black berry fruit. A touch of coffee and chunky gravelly, tannins. A big wine, but has a creamy plushness, even though the heat and almost raisiny ripeness is there.