July 2016 Selection

The llicorella mark

July 2016 Selection

La Petite Agnès 2014 (2 bottles)
Merum Priorati Inici 2013 (2 bottles)
Mas d'en Compte Negre 2013 (2 bottles)

Normal retail price: £80.04
Club Discount Price: £68.51
You save: £11.54 (14.41%)

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About this selection...

It's difficult to find in the Priorat a wine that doesn't bear the distinctive mark of llicorella, the slate soil, poor and hostile yet fostering such fantastic wines. Priorat wines have an easily recognisable personality, as they're sweet, robust, and all share that minerality. They are three characteristics which they have in common but that definitely doesn't make them all the same.

Nowadays in the Priorat we can find a great diversity of styles and also prices, since it's not true to say that Priorat wines are categorically expensive. The fact that it's virtually impossible to find a wine below a certain price is indeed the case, but the manual labour required in the vineyard, the at times heroic efforts to grow vines, and the constantly small yields mean there's a minimum cost factor. What this amounts to is shown in three wines that are very different from each other: La Petite Agnès 2014, a very pleasant young wine from the Compañía de Vinos Iberian, in El Molar, offering excellent value for money and very accessible, and two wines from Porrera, Merum Priorati Inici 2013, a lovely wine with a great personality which aims to open the doors for us to the fascinating richness of this region, and Mas d'en Compte Negre 2013, a real Priorat, serious, intense, seductive, or as we like to describe it, a four-wheel-drive.

We hope you enjoy them and wish you a happy summer!

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La Petite Agnès 2014 (2 bottles)

Young red Crianza. Cal Grau Priorat, Spain Grenache, Carignan

Bottle: £7.49 club members / £8.76 non-members


La Petite Agnès is the valiant venture of the Cal Grau winery, one of the projects run by the Compañía de Vinos Iberian, a wine group to which the Osborne Osborne family belongs and the producer of an extensive catalogue of wines in various Spanish denominations, with the common denominator being the creation of wines which demonstrate the identity of each place and provide a good price-quality ratio. In the case of La Petite Agnès, better than good, excellent!

Uncork the bottle, pour yourself a glass, and on entry its explosion of fruit will take you by surprise. By the second glass, you'll be seduced by its smoothness, its easy-drinking character, its typicity, because of both its varietal and terroir aromas, that Priorat minerality, its luscious whiff on the nose and its freshness, a balsamic sensation which seems to dispute the prominent role with a warmer undertone, revealing notes of toasted bread, cocoa and an earthy hint. The match is won by the overall composition, balanced and essentially fruit-driven. It also exhibits caramel and liqueur touches typical of the Garnacha, and the elegance and finesse of the Cariñena. On the palate it's medium-bodied, so don't expect a huge amount of volume, but it's certainly juicy. Any more reasons needed for enjoying a little Priorat at such an amazing price you'll have to check it twice? A good wine doesn't need to be expensive, and here's the proof: young, fruit-forward, a short stay in barrel which rounds it off and enough time in bottle right now to make it entirely perfect. Glasses at the ready!

Grills / tapas / cooked sausages / potato omelette / rice dishes

  • Wine Tasting Notes:
    • Colour
      Ruby red / opaque
    • Bouquet
      Fruit aromas / ripe red fruit / blackberries / mineral notes / slate / toasted bread
    • Palate
      Fresh / good acidity / velvety tannins / polished tannins / floral notes / mineral notes / fruit notes
  • Alcohol content: 14,0%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 16ºC and 17ºC
  • Drink now or keep until 2018.

La Petite Agnès 2014
Front and back

Merum Priorati Inici 2013 (2 bottles)

Red Crianza. Merum Priorati Priorat, Spain Grenache, Carignan, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon

Bottle: £10.73 club members / £12.55 non-members


The Merum Priorati winery offers a range of three red wines whose labels really do set out its objectives: Inici (the Catalan for 'beginning'), Destí ('destiny') and El Cel ('the sky' or 'heaven'). For this company, like for so many producers who intend their wines to be a true reflection of origin, something which can seem obvious to us but isn't always so easy to achieve, the earth is of paramount importance. As we're in the Priorat, the protagonist here is the 'llicorella', the slate, poor in nutrients and good for drainage, which forces the roots to descend to great depths in search of water and results in the favourably slow ripening of the grapes. It's the llicorella that conducts the orchestra in this wine, with the Garnacha (60%) playing first violin, accompanied harmoniously by the Cariñena (15%), Syrah (15%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (10%).

We should take this wine Inici as the first movement for getting acquainted with the essence of the Priorat, from the perspective of a singular wine that has its own personality yet makes its place of origin patently clear, and for enjoying a wine in which, although some of the Garnacha features are predominant, the most important element is the composition's great balance. Inici is a delicate Priorat —within the usual potency of this denomination's wines— and citrusy, refreshing on the nose, with crunchy fruit and nerve, meaty on the palate. It's accessible in its youth, with lovely ripe tannins, but don't forget to open it in good time or decant it, in order to get rid of any first reductive notes which may appear on uncorking the bottle, only to give way immediately to intense aromas of red woodland fruits, raspberries, redcurrants, notes of dried herbs, eucalyptus and the odd hint of an old tome's yellowing pages— such remarkable complexity for a wine in this price range. It conceals a slightly dusty undertone of dry earth, yet without any rusticity and quite the contrary, refined, which emphasises even more the soil's minerality and the delightful balance with the fruit's creaminess and sweetness. As we pointed out at the beginning, the llicorella is the protagonist, the one calling the tune, although to its credit, the voice that's singing loud and clear is the Garnacha.

Partridge / dishes with truffles / magret of duck / eggs / cheeses / stewed meats with mushrooms / meats cooked on hot stone / to enjoy on its own / with a good book

  • Wine Tasting Notes:
    • Colour
      Ripe picota cherry red / intense / clean / bright
    • Bouquet
      Fresh / fruit aromas / red fruit / mineral
    • Palate
      Fleshy / structured / ripe tannins / good acidity / red fruit / forest fruits / redcurrant / eucalyptus / long finish / elegant
  • Alcohol content: 15,0%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 16ºC and 18ºC
  • Drink now or keep until 2021.

Merum Priorati Inici 2013
Front and back

Mas d'en Compte Negre 2013 (2 bottles)

Red Crianza. Celler Cal Pla Priorat, Spain Carignan, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon

Bottle: £16.04 club members / £18.71 non-members


When tasting a bottle of Mas d'en Compte for the first time, the most immediate image that springs to mind is that of a four-wheel-drive. A powerful wine, robust but also lovely and supple thanks to its freshness, which is surely all down to those old Porrera Cariñenas and to the minerality in the soil, with a silky texture and ripe fruit that's full of sun and energy. Having that austere undertone but without lacking elegance, Mas d'en Compte figures among those Priorat wines that have the most typicity, a wine that's seductive, serious, intense, juicy... One to get to know better.

With origins dating back to 1814 and seven generations to look back on, Celler Cal Pla can count on some exceptional vineyards, with both old and very old vines. Figuring conspicuously among them is a highly-prized vineyard aged over a hundred years old, which they set aside for the production of their most special wine, Planots. For Mas d'en Compte, this is their most representative wine, with the same unfailing quality.

Cal Pla is located in Porrera, one of the Priorat's most esteemed districts and particularly noted for the high quality of its old Cariñenas, like the ones contributing to the production of this wine: Cariñena (50%) from vines more than 60 years old, accompanied by Garnacha (40%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (10%) from vines around 15 years old. Mas d'en Compte is aged for 14 months in new and semi-new French (90%) and American oak barrels, and its personality is defined by the ripeness of the fruit, with a rich complexity of flavours embracing red and black fruits, some juicier, others in compote. Its Priorat character is unquestionable too, with the customary minerality and depth conferred by the slate soils to all wines emanating from this remarkable denomination; it is juicy and expressive, with a powerful, meaty entry and some very definite spicy aromas, a rich and intense wine. An elegant, precise, persistent Priorat that has great cellaring potential. Don't be in a rush to open the bottle and you'll enjoy it all the more.

Roast lamb / meats cooked on hot stone / veal with mushrooms / beef

  • Alcohol content: 14,5%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 16ºC and 18ºC
  • Drink now or keep until 2023.

Mas d'en Compte Negre 2013
Front and back

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