Friday Feature – Priorats from Acústic Celler

Hello and Happy Friday!

There’s a lot happening at Perman Wine Selections these days.

Last week, I announced a new series of tastings being held at Perman Wine Selections.  I’ve teamed up with prominent wine writer Bill St. John to offer a wide range of classes and wine tastings.  Highlights include a winemaker tasting with Oregon superstar Marcus Goodfellow of Matello Wines, a tasting of the great distillates from St. George Distillery, and my new series on educating you on French wines entitled France A-to-Z.

Signing up for these tastings is easier than ever. Click here for further details (info and pricing) or visit http://stjohnonwine.permanwine.com to enroll today!  Regulars to wine tastings are rewarded as the more “tickets” you buy, the per class fee goes down.  This is also a great gift for your wine-loving loved ones!

In other news, I’m getting ready to travel to Italy at the end of the month (May 27th to June 7th).  I’m heading to Piedmont and Northern Tuscany for a wine and food adventure. I’ll be sure to bring back lots of new finds!

Please note that the store will still be open, albeit with limited hours.

1pm to 7pm – Weekdays from May 30 to June 7

11am to 7pm – Saturday, June 7

Regular hours will resume on Friday, June 8th.

Last but not least, today’s Friday Feature should excite any Spanish wine enthusiast.  You can be among the first to try the new wines from a project from my friend Albert Jané in the Priorat region.  These are truly exciting wines that offer tremendous value for their quality!

Have a great weekend,

Craig

2010 ACÚSTIC CELLER “RITME BLANC” PRIORAT

Albert Jané’s wines have a cult-like following here at my store, and they are gaining notoriety city-wide and nationally.

His story has been told many times before on these pages, so I will begin with the newest chapter.  A nice video has been posted which you can check out here – http://vimeo.com/39276231

Priorat is a magical land, so special it is one of two regions in Spain to have Denominació d’Origen Qualificada (D.O.Q.) status, with the other being Rioja.

How this relatively “newer” region achieved that status so quickly speaks volumes about the quality it has achieved in such a short time. Winemakers have flocked to the region because of its plethora of old-vines and ability to make truly rich and complex wines.

Before we talk about red wines, I must mention that Priorat is slowing becoming known for its white wines.  There is still less than 2% of white grape varietals planted, but the majority of those vines are Garnatxa Blanca and Macabeu (also known as White Grenache and Macabeo/Viura).

For Ritme Blanc, Albert blends 70% Garnatxa Blanca with 30% Macabeu.  Fermentation and aging is in a mixture of French oak and stainless steel tanks.

White Priorat is one of the most complex wines to make because the wine can easily get too big, too alcoholic and quite boring.  The answer lies in your terroir, your treatment of the vines, harvesting, and work in the cellar.  Albert is as adept with white wines as red, and his work to show the beauty of his old-vines doesn’t go unnoticed by this taster.

Very pretty aromatics, with waxy notes, hints at tropical fruit and citrus peel, wild thyme and spice.  Medium weight, while retaining freshness, the length on this wine really lasts.  This is a fantastic wine for the table, as its weight stands up to salty, cured meats or fish, and even veal.  A tremendous value for a white Priorat.

$28.99 BTL. / $173.94 SIX-PACK CASE

2010 ACÚSTIC CELLER “RITME NEGRE” PRIORAT

When you visit the region of Priorat you are stunned by its extremely steep slopes, sharp curves, and innate beauty.  Growing grapes here is like planting vines in Telluride or Whistler – it’s that dramatic.

Garnatxa and Carinyena (Grenache and Carignan) are the star red varietals in the region.  Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot are planted, but I have yet to be moved by their inclusion in the wines of the region.  The old-vines, clinging dramatically to the steep slopes often made of Llicorella, a soil that resembles slate, must dig deep into the soil for nutrients.  They are also naturally low-yielding, creating an intensity of fruit and earth that can’t be imitated by young vines.

Albert has sourced some very old Carinyena (70%) and Garnatxa (30%) vines for his Ritme red.  The vines come from different parts of the Priorat region, near the communes of Cornudella, Porrera, Poboleda, El Lloar, and Bellmunt.  The elevation of the vineyards range from 300 to 750 meters of altitude.

Like the Ritme Blanc, there is a severe selection of the hand-harvested grapes.  This wine was aged entirely in French oak barrels for 10 months.

I’ve sampled this wine a few times already, and each time it continues to evolve in bottle.  Very aromatic, with red berry aromas, and hints at savory herbs.  There is great purity of fruit and balance on the palate.  Red berry notes continue without ever getting heavy or candied.  It finishes fresh and long, and is the type of wine that you will want to stock up on.

There are very few wines from the Priorat that are offered in this price point.  It is a costly region to produce wine, and at this price, this is simply the best Priorat value available.  So break this out any time you are grilling up some duck breast, sausages or steak.  Get this while it lasts!

$23.99 BTL. / $287.88 CASE

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