Respect your elders: Scala Dei’s Cartoixa 1975
It’s not often that that chance arrives to taste a wine that predates your arrival on this planet by several years and would have been a wine your parents would have drank in their 30s, had they been in Catalonia and known the good shit at the time. So when one of our favorite wineries in Priorat, Cellers de Scala Dei tweeted that they were having tastes of their 1975 vintage on offer from the “taste-o-matic” at their shop, we jumped at the chance.
It needs to be noted that 1974 was actually the first vintage of the Cartoixa, making it the first bottled wine in Priorat ever. It was a wine responsible for attracting the “original rebels” that set up their cellars in Priorat in the early 1980’s thus eventually establishing the greatness of the region on a world scale. This 1975 vintage is naturally not the vintage you taste today. With 37 years in the bottle it’s had a lengthy time for the tannins to wind down and that old juice to generally chill out after being bottled in an era of disco balls and the former Spanish dictator, Francisco Franco kicking the bucket.
Cartoixa 1975 is officially 100% Grenache, but probably has a small amount of Carignan in it as was the custom. The enolog at the time was Jaume Mussons, who these days produces his own wines in Poboleda with his son. We were told by the knowledgeable Yuri Mestres (who co-leads visits and tastings at Cellers de Scala Dei with his brother Ferran) that the wine was aged in the first stainless-steel tanks of Priorat. The wine has a pleasant, light and fruity nose with subtle touches of leather. Large amount of acidity present but the strength of the body has dropped off considerably over the years. Has a rather smooth buttery aspect that carries in to the relatively dry finish. 13.5% 150€ (very few bottles left and only available at the winery)