After two drought vintages, 2013 marks the year the rains arrived in Priorat. “The wines taste of relief and joy” Sara Perez told us at the estate “they are absolutely beautiful”. Of course, a rainy vintage in Priorat is a relative thing, so one should not doubt the concentration and complexity of the cuvees on offer, but what they also have is an inner freshness, a sense of lift and perfume that isn’t always immediately appreciable in the wines from this extreme region.
These three cuvees sing very different tunes. Not only are the terroirs and blends entirely different, but Sara vinifies each according to how she feels it will best articulate the individual vineyard voice. Els Escurcons (100% Grenache, from one of the highest vineyards in the region) is now fermented and aged entirely in clay Amphora and glass demijohns, de-stemmed, but with stalks included to give tension and lift; Cami Pesseroles (predominantly 100 year old Carignan, with Garnacha from a much lower vineyard) is co-fermented and then aged in barrel, while Clos Martinet (Grenache, Carignan, and a smattering of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot; one of the original five Clos from the late 1980s) sees a mixture of concrete, clay amphora and large old fuders. And of course, the single vineyards are rare. A mere 650 cases of Clos Martinet were produced in 2013, while Els Escurcons and Cami Pesseroles amount to just 65 and 165 cases respectively.
Combine this thoughtful winemaking with such excellent viticulture, top vineyards, and a small family team ever hungry for better ways to grow ripe grapes while retaining freshness, and you end up with an estate that ranks as one of Spain’s greatest little known gems.