Vinos Pinol Portal 2010 – 91 pts Wine Advocate / 91 pts Int’l Wine Cellar
Obscene Deals to Follow!
I have a lot to say about this wine. It was originally slated to be in the Case of the Year, but I couldn’t source 100 cases… I actually bought everything they had left in the country and still came up short!
At any rate, I have a lot to say… but I know many of you have already taken a spin around the CHWC Spanish block… all you need is a “click here” link… so here’s the bare bones, followed by a bunch more info for you…
50% Garnacha (Grenache), 20% Cariñena (Carignan), 10% Merlot, 10% Syrah and 10% Tempranillo. Six Months in oak.
This wine bares more than a passing resemblance to a top-notch Cotes du Rhone, thanks to the Grenache, Carignan and Syrah, yet with a seeming juxtaposition of darker fruit and yet brighter acidity. (More on that below). Ridiculously exotic and expressive aromas practically jump from the glass – boysenberry, blackberries, cherries, anise and flowers – a veritable potpourri of all things good! Then more of that dark, luscious fruit follows, all balanced by bright acidity and fine tannins that cut like a laser through the wine. Simply, this is a spectacular wine, and an amazingly versatile one at that. Medium plus in body, with fine tannins and good acidity, this is an easy match for easy foods – burgers, roast chicken, burritos – yet you can “dress it up” and pair wonderfully with rustic fare like grilled lamb or braised short ribs…. Hmm…
“It has a very fresh, vibrant bouquet that “bursts” from the glass – boysenberry, blueberry, vanilla and a touch of limestone that is well-defined and very focused. The palate is medium-bodied, with racy acidity slicing through its ripe layer of sweet red currant, raspberry and fresh strawberries. The finish is beautifully defined and persistent with a dash of dark chocolate on the aftertaste.” WA
“Glass-staining ruby. An explosive bouquet of dark berry liqueur, cherry, licorice and rose oil. Lush and expansive black and blue fruit flavors show good vivacity, with lively black pepper and floral qualities emerging with aeration. Closes smoky and long, with lingering licorice and violet nuances.” IWC
Sound good? Want some? I thought you might…
Or read on for more info...
The vineyards of Vinyos Pinol are located in the up and coming region of Terra Alta. The region actually possesses a long and distinguished history of wine production, with the region a preferred source for the Templar Knights in the Middle Ages. So why have you never heard of it? And why is it just now coming to the attention of the world?
Easy if you know a little Spanish… “Terra Alta” means “high land.” This place is isolated. It lies to the southwest of Priorat, surrounded by jagged mountain peaks, at a high elevation. Not exactly a recipe for a thriving population or commercial center. But tucked away in these mountains lies the cellars of Vinos Pinol, who have been living here and making wine for generations. International demand for unique, high-quality wines at reasonable prices, combined with the fancy trappings of modernity (like cars and tunnels), has thrust the spotlight on the region.
Though located a mere handful of kilometers from the famed region of Priorat, Terra Alta is wildly different. Hotter and drier than Priorat or Montsant, the grapes obtain a high level of ripeness and concentration. Pinol accentuates this by organically dry-farming their vineyards – no irrigation – forcing the vines to dig deep into the earth to find water and nutrients.
Sounds like a recipe for deep, dark and massive… BUT… here’s where things get interesting. The soil is almost entirely limestone. This is the same famous soil of Chablis, Sancerre and the Grand Crus of Burgundy and is responsible for delivering bright acidity and minerality to a wine. Just the sort of balancing ingredients needed here!
It’s this juxtaposition of natural ripeness and concentration, combined with bright acidity and minerality, that makes this such a special region. It’s the care and attention this fourth generation of the Pinol family takes in the vineyards that provides such special grapes. And it’s the talent and dedication of winemaker Toni Coca that produces such a special wine. Toni is widely considered one of the top winemakers in all of Catalonia and his services are in high demand.