Priorat Seminar with Eric Solomon

Had a good time at an Eric Solomon event with a Priorat focus.
Quick notes on the line-up for the “Shiste Seminar” portion:

Closa Batllet 2006 Blanco
60% Escanyavella (translates as “chokes an old woman”) and 40% Garnacha Blanca

  • Aromas of ripe pear, flowers and some odd (starfruit?) expressive fruit start this wine. The body is round and juicy with good acidity, but not enough to keep the pear-flavored fruit from coming off a bit too juicy. This clings to the palate with a creamy texture.

Scala Dei 2007 Les Brugueres
100% Garnacha Blanco from 100+ year old vines

  • The aroma is showing off gobs of peachy fruit and dark slate. The wine tastes of very ripe pear and peach, but has bracing acidity. Very juicy, very dry.

Celler de l’Encastell 2002 Roquers de Porrera
80% Garnatxa and Carignan (70 - 100 year old vines), 20% Merlot and Syrah

  • Spiced purple fruit start the aromatic profile, but are quickly left behind by anise and alcohol. The body is very dry with rich red fruit characteristics, but the tannins and acidity are angular and weird.

Celler de l’Encastell 2005 Roquers de Porrera
same blend
Black raspberry aromas are augmented by those of violets. The profile of the body is more sleek and purple-tooth fruit. The finish is long, but has good acidity.

Celler del Pont 2005 Lo Givot
33% Carignan, 32% Grenache Noir, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Syrah

  • Funky aromas of roasted meats are coupled with flowers. Supple fruit makes the wine tasty, but not very interesting.

Mas Alta 2007 Els Pics
60 Grenache Noir, 35% Carignan, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon

  • The color is not opaque! WORD! The aromas are red, not purple. WOW! Anyway, enough sarcasm. This is actually a real treat to drink with its luscious red fruit profile. Sure, it’s not super serious, but for $25-ish I like it.

Mas Alta 2005 La Creu Alta
50% Carignan (100 year old vines), 35% Grenache, 15% Syrah

  • Whoa! Ok, I don’t mind this one being opaque purple in color. This is a slick, juicy, stony powerhouse. BIG aromas, BIG flavors, with charcoal-infused tannins. Priced accordingly: $150

Mas Doix 2005 Salanques
65% Garnacha, 15% Carinena, 10% Syrah, 5% Merlot

  • Very luscious and full, this wine has plenty of spectacular fruit. This is big, but elegant, with striking flavors of cassis, cocoa, slate, and a hint of leather. Best value of the tasting IMHO. $30ish

Mas Doix 2005 Costers de Vinyes Velles
48% Garnacha, 50% Carinena, 2% Merlot

  • Bulbously fat black and red fruit are balanced by slate and flowers in the aromatic profile of this wine. The body is high-toned with great verve and intensity. Complex and exciting, this is a balanced and great wine. Blueberries ftw!

Closa Batllet 2004 Tinto
60% Carinena, 20% Garnacha, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, 5% Syrah

  • Talk about being blown out by the competition. Soft, spicy aromas are followed by decently expressed red and black fruit. No thanks.

These were followed by a mini-vertical of Clos Erasmus. The blend changes, but is basically 80% Garnacha, 15% Syrah, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon

Clos Erasmus 2002
Chunky, funky aromas of shoe leather and dried tomatoes greet the nose. You might find some charred meat in there too! The body is fairly high in acid with soft, firm tannins surrounding a dense red fruit body. s’ok…

Clos Erasmus 2006
Aromas of Elmer’s Glue and volatile acidity are not what I expected. “Don’t worry, that blows off”
(Eventually, purple fruit does come out from under this wall of not-good-aroma.)
The body makes up for the nose with its very sweet purple and black fruit. It’s slick and juicy, but maintains a level of elegance behind the jam pot fruit.
Great acidity and tannins are here too. Someday all these things should come together and make a fine wine. Someday, not today.

Clos Erasmus 2005
Ok, this is seriously good. The aromas are complex and include a bevy of good stuff: black raspberry, chocolate, oil, spice, truffle, leather, violets. The body is equally compelling with clear, non-obtuse flavors of red and black fruit, dark slate, and bitter chocolate. Classy as hell, balanced, and polished despite its complexity and solid build. Still not the best Erasmus I’ve tasted.

Clos Erasmus 2004
This is the best Erasmus I’ve tasted. Seriously, I’ve purchased every single vintage and this blows the others away.
More, more, more than the 2005 with a “whammy” of a nose chock full of purple fruit, spice, leather, closet monster blood. It’s very big and powerful, yet supple and dangerously drinkable. Truly extraordinary wine. I’ll bring a magnum from my cellar to the next offline. It NEEDS to be shared!

That’s it. I had to get back to the store, so I skipped the walk-around portion of the tasting.

Thanks for the notes Peter, sounds like a lovely tasting. The Salanques sounded right up my alley…any idea how long these will last, and do you think there is room for improvement? TIA.

Who knows? The first “real” vintage of Priorat was 1989. Since then there have been significant improvements in local viticulture that would lead one to believe that the quality and longevity of these wines have also improved. However, there is no track record for this region by which we could extrapolate cellar potential.
The mega-fruit-bomb versions could very easily devolve into undrinkable swill with a decade of aging. Or the underlying minerality and acidity could hold them together well enough to have them evolve into masterpieces. Who knows?
I’m willing to wait to find out. :wink:

For now, that Salanques is darn tasty!

I think Salanques will improve with age - I can’t wait to try some of the 2004 I have of this wine around 2014.

If you can get your hands on some of the Mas Doix VV - it is some of my favorite wine!!

What was Priorat before 1989 - just a Spanish extension of the old Languedoc-Rousillon simple table wine? Or was it more Rioja-like and just a different style?" onclick=";return false;)

Not all the gory details, but enough to answer your question.