Recently, a few members of The Estates Group – the fine wine division of Young’s Market Company – visited Spain to learn about some of the excellent Spanish wines represented by Folio Fine Wine Partners.
Celler Vall Llach – Porrera
The trip began in the tiny town of Porrera in Priorat County – home to Celler Vall Llach. The century-old estate vineyards boast 60- to 90-year-old Cariñena and Garnacha vines, along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah. The winery’s flagship wine – Mas de la Rosa – takes fruit from up to 8 old vines to create, and is matured for 5 years in the bottle. The wine, with tasting notes of black licorice and espresso, is one of very few Vi de Finca Qualificadas that has been certified in Spain.
What is Priorat Wine?
Priorat is a Spanish Denominació d’Origen Qualificada (DOQ) for wines produced in Priorat County. It’s also one of two wine-producing regions in Spain to qualify as DOCa, the highest qualification level for a wine region according to Spanish wine regulations. The region is of volcanic origin and therefore, characterized by a unique terroir of soil consisting of largely slate – known as llicorella. The llicorella, along with the rocky geography of the region, forces the grape vines to grow their roots deep into the terrain to search for water and nutrients, giving Priorat wines their distinct taste.
Palacios Redomondo – Rioja
Next up was Palacios Redmondo in Rioja, where they met renowned winemaker Alvaro Palacios. Alavaro makes wine in three different Spanish appelations: Priorat, Bierzo, and Rioja – two of which qualify as DOCa (Priorat and Rioja). Alvaro’s flagship wine L’Ermita, a Priorat, is one of the most coveted wines in all of Spain. In his Rioja wines, Alvaro focuses on Garnacha-driven wines authentic to the Eastern Rioja region (Rioja Oriental). La Montesa, Propiedad, Plácet Valtomelloso and La Vendimia are among the finest of the Rioja Oriental.
Grupo Pesquera – Ribera del Duero
The last stop was Ribera del Duero to visit Grupo Pesquera, which is comprised of four bodegas (the Spanish word for a winery/wine shop): Tinto Pesquera, Condado de Haza, El Vinculo and Dehesa La Granja. The four bodegas comprising Alejandro Fernández’s wine legacy feature 100% Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) grapes, known typically for their elegance but in Ribera del Duero burst with power and smoky oak influence. A few wines were recently featured on Wine Spectator and earned excellent scores: Tinto Pesquera Millenium 2009 (94), Alenza Gran Reserva 2009 (93), and Condado de Haza 2015 (90).
Special thanks to Marcos Mizzau, Import Wine Specialist for sharing details and experiences from the trip.