For some weeks we have discussed the possibility that an important group of Alava wineries, led by Bodegas Artadi, are planning to leave the Rioja to create a new wine region, focused around the town of Laguardia and its surroundings, as in the words of the wineries themselves, “to belong to such a broad term as “Rioja” confuses consumers and dilutes the message.”
Certainly, the current classification of Rioja may not fully aligned with the times, the consumer looking more than ever for specific terroir and identity in their product. Bordeaux, for example, recognizes 58 specific names within a generic indication. The same happens in the Priorat, which despite being much smaller in area than the previous two, has recognised since 2010 wines from Villa and wines from Finca.
Vinyards in Gratallops (Priorat) © D.O.Q Priorat
It is the first time that Spain goes beyond generic names or, at most, giving legal recognition to municipalities which are members of the denomination.
There is a special mention for those recognised as “Wines from the country”, although in this case, vineyards belong to no superior entity, being considered as an appellation of origin itself.
D.O.Q Priorat has 11 different sub-regions in Vinos de Villa (vi de vila in Catalan). So that a wine can be labeled as such, if it meets certain conditions, such as a controlled origin of the grapes and the presence of a minimum of 60% Grenache and Carignan in the final blend of wine.
The rating of wines from Finca go a little further, yet still more restrictive. The yield per hectare is much lower than allowed in the denomination itself and winemaking with grapes from a single vinyard is required.
This decision by the Catalan DOQ has been an important step in strengthening linkages between a line of wines and their origin, on the basis that there are oenological, historical, social and economic differences between various subfields of the name.
Below we offer some of our favourites wines from Villa Finca:
La Carenyeta de Cal Pla 2012. A sweet wine of the town of Porrera prepared by Celler Cal Pla. A varietal Carignan from vineyards of very low performance. Very fruity and pleasant. Only 1,000 bottles are produced each year.
Manyetes 2010. A unique wine from Gratallops produced by one of the most iconic wineries in the appellation: Clos Mogador. Small contributions of Syrah and Grenache accompany Carignan to give us a very mineral and concentrated wine.
Torroja Vi de la Vila 2012. From the town of Torroja del Priorat, the winery Terroir al Límit presents this intense and enveloping blend of Grenache and Carignan prepared according to the guidelines of biodynamic viticulture. A magnificent example of the baptised “new Priorat”.
Clos Mogador 2012. The first wine from Finca in the DOQ Priorat wine is thrilling. It is a protagonist and leader together with other great wines such as L’Ermita or Clos Erasmus del renacimiento del Priorato in the early nineties. Immense. Wonderful.
Vall Llach Finca Mas de la Rosa 2012. Celler Vall Llach produces the second and last Finca wine in DOQ Priorat. A great blend of Carignan to be enjoyed slowly with some contribution from Cabernet Sauvignon. Concentration and minerality in abundance.
What’s stopping you from trying them?