(2022) Garnacha Blanca, from a highly regarded small estate run by passionate academic, Miguel Pérez Cerrada. The colour and aroma suggests some sensitive oak ageing, a sheen of almond and oatmeal over pristine stone fruits. The palate has wonderful ripeness and a depth of juicy, succulent fruit, the texture quite rich and mouthfilling, the acid balance gently saline and citrussy into a long finish. Most impressive.
(2022) Made from 40-year-old vines and aged for 15 months in French oak barrels, this blends Grenache and Carignan with 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. All come from the high-elevation slate soils of the Priorat region, and synthetic chemicals are not used in the vineyards. It has a finely-wrought cherry, spice and floral nose, power beneath with more ripe black fruit character, but plenty of elegance. In the mouth an endive twist of liquoricy bitterness is lovely against sweetly ripe and intense, Amarone-like mid-palate fruit. The oak is polished and creamy, touching on chocolaty, and the finish with tight tannins and cherry acidity is lovely. One of the stars of this tasting.
(2022) Sara Perez is the second generation winemaker for her family estate - one of five families that pioneered DO Priorat, created only in 1989. This certified organic wine is mostly Garnacha (Grenache) blended with Carignan and Syrah, and just a dash of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. I note the modest 13.5% abv here; many Priorat wines hit 14.5% or more. The nose has a herbal, olive and forest floor aspect, though suffused with a ripe black berry fruitiness that has some lighter aspects too; liquorice perhaps adding an edge to the profile. Loads of spicy, tannic character on the palate, with a frisson of bittersweet, roughening plum and cherry skins adding a lip-smacking tartness. Oak supplies a cedary layer too, but the energy and drive of the acid core streaks to the finish.
(2021) The steep, slate vineyards of Priorat lie at high altitude close to Barcelona, and not too far from where Torres has its base. This is a blend of Cariñena, Garnacha and Syrah, aged 14 months in French oak. It has a refined, vinous nose, cherries and blackcurrants, touched by graphite and light, creamy, polished oak. There's something a little earthy and gravelly too, adding to the appeal. The palate has great energy: a lip-smacking burst of juicy black fruits and acidity fills the mouth, while smoky, bittersweet dark chocolate notes swirl around. Tannins are very plush and fine, and the length is excellent.
(2020) From the high quality Priorat region of northeast Spain, close to Barcelona, this is a typical blend of Carignan and Grenache, and at 'Crianza' level, will have seen some barrel ageing. There's a firm cherry fruited character on the nose, definitely a touch of tobacco spice and the whole picture quite taut and serious. In the mouth the cherry fruit becomes more fleshy, softened slightly by silky tannins and a pert but generous acidity. It stays savoury and dry, a really nicely balanced wine that's crying out for a bit of meaty protein to match. Part of Lidl's 'Wine Tour', May 2020.
(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.