November 2014 Selection

The Priorat's Vi de Vila, a new commitment to authenticity and typicity

November 2014 Selection

Planetes de Nin 2012 (2 bottles)
Cims de Porrera Vi de Vila 2009 (2 bottles)
El Petit Artai Vi de Vila Gratallops 2011 (2 bottles)

Normal retail price: £101.84
Club Discount Price: £87.55
You save: £14.29 (14.03%)

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About this selection...

In 2009, the Regulatory Council of the Priorat DOQ introduced the concept of Vi de Vila (Town Wine). In the style of the Burgundy Crus, the new legislation recognised and accepted different sub-zones in the region, based on studies which brought to light a series of characteristics shared within each one, but not by all the rest; that is to say, that although it is possible to define a Priorat wine profile in general, the typicity and identity of each sub-zone is also patently obvious. It is a question of the distinctive features, of the winemaking, soil and climate; as a specific example, it has been possible to establish whether there is more of a predominance in a sub-zone of Garnacha or Cariñena, red fruit or black; whether the fruit offers a fresher profile or conversely a rather drier one, the quality of the tannins... Since then, we now don't just talk of wines from the Priorat, but also of wines from each of its towns: Porrera, Gratallops, Torroja, Poboleda, Bellmunt, Escaladei, Vilella Alta...; a total of twelve identities.

Does this mean that all the wines from the town of Porrera that are recognised as Vi de Vila wines, for example, are similar and in turn different from those of, to mention another location, Gratallops? Of course not. The vine grower's work, the winemaker's hand, each winery's own style... all have an influence on the character of the final wine. Basically, we have a new control mechanism that guarantees the product's quality and ratifies the richness of this extraordinary denomination.

For this month we are proposing two wines from Porrera and one from Gratallops, so that you can enjoy finding out the similarities and differences if you so wish, but above all, so that you can enjoy their fruitiness and minerality. You will encounter one of the Priorat's best wines in its price range, Planetes de Nin 2012, pure, elegant and direct; also from Porrera, one of the most emblematic wines, the historic Solanes now reworked and with greater typicity, Cims de Porrera Vi de Vila 2009, mature and a great classic; finishing with the vigorous, fresh and very easily drinkable Cal Batllet Gratallops Vi de Vila 2011.

Have a decanter at the ready, open them up in good time and enjoy them.

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Planetes de Nin 2012 (2 bottles)

Red Crianza. Família Nin-Ortiz Priorat, Spain Grenache, Carignan

Bottle: £21.70 club members / £25.26 non-members


Planetes is a coupage of Garnacha (60%) and Cariñena (40%), originating from the estate of the same name, covering an area of 4 ha and facing eastwards. Moreover, it is Porrera's first Vi de Vila (Town Wine); in the style of the Crus from France, the new legislation (2009) of the Priorat DOQ recognises and accepts the region's different climatic areas with the aim of highlighting each one's characteristics, of both the winemaking and also the soil and climate.

In the case of Porrera, this is a particularly cool area, with no over-ripening, and you only have to open a Planetes to check this out and enjoy its sincerity, purity and balance, a veritable wine of the terroir, a true expression of the Priorat's historic varieties: the Garnacha and Cariñena.

The vines on the Finca Planetes estate are still fairly young, planted at the end of the 1990s, but the excellent characteristics of the area and terroir, and the care that both Ester and Carles devote to their cultivation and the whole wine-making process (certified organic agriculture and biodynamic methods), allow us to take pleasure in a wine that is extremely fine, elegant and complex, among the best Priorat wines in this price range.

We can perceive the purity of the fruit in its bright cherry colour, of medium depth, and in its freshness, in its fruit complexity (strawberries, raspberries, redcurrants, even a touch of blood orange), its aromatic richness (nutmeg, balsamic hints, spices, fresh country herbs and flinty trace) and in its mineral character, so irrefutably typical of the area. It is pure and immediate but conceals a mysterious something, a special depth that we attribute to the intrinsic elegance of the Cariñena grapes and to Ester Nin's individual style - wines always feminine in essence, vigorous and delicate at the same time.

If you can get hold of a few bottles, don't think twice. Pure, elegant, fresh, direct and with a good life span, a wine that's none too easy to share. Always decant it and talk to it too.

Ox fillet / roast suckling pig / roast chicken / braised vegetables / lamb / brochette / Mediterranean cuisine / cooked sausages / to enjoy on its own

  • Alcohol content: 14,5%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 16ºC and 18ºC
  • Drink now or keep until 2021.

Planetes de Nin 2012
Front and back

Cims de Porrera Vi de Vila 2009 (2 bottles)

Red Crianza. Cims de Porrera Priorat, Spain Carignan, Grenache

Bottle: £11.12 club members / £12.94 non-members


The Vi de Vila of the emblematic cooperative winery, Cims de Porrera, which Marc and Adrià Pérez now run, succeeds in being a real classic despite its newness. Classic because of its coupage, Cariñena and Garnacha; classic because, although a new creation, it provides continuity with the historic Solanes and upholds the identity of the entry wine, the one which enables a winery's work to be appreciated at a good price, essential for a reference point, as Cims is in the Priorat's present-day history; and classic too because of its style, robust, Priorat, yet accessible, mature and easy to drink.

With their Vi de Vila, Marc and Adrià present their interpretation of what is a Porrera wine; and this they do with a synthesis of various terroirs and grapes, fruit from the parcels of the different vine growers who belong to the cooperative, young vines of varying ages, planted too on soils varied in their composition and orientation. This diversity gives rise to a complex wine, by means of which its makers draw attention to the freshness and fruitiness of Porrera's Garnachas and Cariñenas.

Cims de Porrera Vi de Vila is a complex wine, vigorous and genial too, most pleasurable, and not put on the market until it has matured for at least three or four years in bottle and achieved a good integration of that complexity and polished tannins. It is lively and intense in colour, of medium depth, and mature and fresh in aromas, classic in fact, as we pointed out at the beginning. The ripeness of the red fruit and wild berries is accompanied by subtle liquorice notes and touches of dampness, of undergrowth, making it a wonderfully easy wine. Its freshness invites us to take another sip, to discover greater complexity with some interesting black pepper and balsamic notes. It's a wine with plenty of volume on the palate, fruit-driven, fresh, intense, powerful yet always, and we'll say it once again, with such a pleasant feeling overall; it glides easily over the tongue, with a creamy sensation, yet with a certain dryness too, and a seemingly bitter trace which fades away quite harmlessly; an earthy touch, mineral, unmistakeably Priorat is also present. Don't forget to decant it and let it talk to you. A wine for very different occasions and dishes.

Cannelloni / stews / venison / veal with mushrooms / peppered steak / oxtail / rice with truffles / stewed meats with mushrooms / cooked sausages

  • Alcohol content: 14,5%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 16ºC and 18ºC
  • For drinking this year.

Cims de Porrera Vi de Vila 2009
Front and back

El Petit Artai Vi de Vila Gratallops 2011 (2 bottles)

Red Crianza. Cal Batllet Priorat, Spain Carignan, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot

Bottle: £10.95 club members / £12.72 non-members


Cal Batllet Vi de Vila Gratallops 2011 is the Gratallops Vi de Vila (Town Wine) made by the Ripoll family's Cal Batllet, a winery which has made a clear commitment to terroir wine and to a sustainable viticulture that allows expression of the soils' singularity. To reinforce that identity, in 2009 the winery decided to go one step further in its support for terroir wine and began to produce its earlier Closa Batllet and Petit Batllet as 'Vins de Vila'.

The Gratallops sub-zone is characterised by a warmth that is generally a few degrees higher than that of the other sub-zones. That's why what most surprised us to start off with when tasting this wine was its great freshness and how easy it was to drink. A suggestion: decant it and don't be alarmed when you see its high alcohol content, as you won't notice it, though you ought to bear it in mind before finishing the bottle, as it is so easily drinkable!

It has the innocence, liveliness and vigour of the young chap on the label, the little Artai. It's a wine full of fruit, cherries, plums, blackberries..., ripe fruits with a hint of liquorice enveloped in a tremendous, and surprising, freshness. The sweetness of the fruit and some chocolatey notes prove perfectly balanced and accompanied by mild menthol notes and some very obvious balsamic touches; there is minerality from certain typically Priorat earthy notes, abounding especially on the palate, and not lacking too are the warm notes of dry herbs from the countryside surrounding the vineyards; the smell is like taking a breath of fresh mountain air.

On the palate, Artai is pleasant, fresh, with very obvious acidity, and fruit-forward, with certainly black fruit, blackberries, and the warmth again in the background. It is a polished Priorat, very well-made, with sinew but with balance too. It is fairly immediate, yet we would recommend decanting it to release all its energy.

NOTE. At the time of confirming the selection which we suggested to you this month, the Gratallops Vi de Vila from the Cal Batllet Winery was registered as 'Artai Vi de Vila Gratallops 2011' and this is the name which appears on the labels of the first consignment which the winery sent over to us so that we could prepare some of the shipments to our members. However, a few days before the publication of our November Club and due to a conflict of brands, the remaining bottles of this wine, still presently in the winery, have had to be re-labelled with a new name, El Petit Artai. We wish to inform you that, whatever label it bears, it is nevertheless the same wine. We would like to apologise in advance for any possible confusion.

Cannelloni / venison stew / game birds / roast suckling pig / rice dishes / sweet and sour chicken / Peppercorn steak / brownie

  • Alcohol content: 16,5%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 16ºC and 18ºC
  • For drinking this year.

Cal Batllet Vi de Vila Gratallops 2011
Front and back

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