03-12-2012

Portal del Priorat: Siuralta 2008

One of the wineries we were really looking forward to visit during our research for the upcoming Vinologue Priorat guide was Portal del Priorat. It took some time to meet up with owner Alfredo Arribas, though, as he was constantly at various events throughout Europe. Given the awesome label designs and extremely positive reviews we had seen for his Gotes, Negre de Negres, Somni, and Tros de Clos, it’s not a surprise that the man was in high demand. It turns out that the wait was worth it as his wines are excellent and while not cheap, they are well priced for the style of wine that they represent.

So last week we happened to sit down for the tasting at the Portal del Priorat winery in Bellmunt at the same time an importer from Germany was there. Whereas we are focusing only on the DOQ Priorat wines, this fellow was also interested in those Alfredo Arribas produces in the neighboring DO Montsant appelation, just on the other side of the Siurana river (the Montsant region encircles Priorat.) This ended up being a stunning treat as those were some of the best Montsant wines we’ve tasted to date. All in all, Alfredo ended up opening 10+ bottles that we tasted and chatted about for more than three hours. The German importer even canceled a later appointment in order to take it all in (and boy did he take it all in…). Thankfully the trip back home was a short one for us…

While we had seen the Montsant wines and were aware of them, during this tasted an unknown surprise popped up: the Siuralta. This wine is from vineyards at an elevation of 750m that are at least 60 years old and growing on chalk soil near the small, stunning, cliff dwelling village of Siurana, thus the Siurana+Alta name (alta means high.) It’s part of an upcoming “Vins Nus” or “naked wines” project which, as the bottle showed has a goal of really showcasing the fruit, locale, and truly wonderful nature of these grapes. We can assure all of our grape-loving readers that this has most definitely been accomplished, although Alfredo stated this is the beginning of his experiments and he wants to push it further with future vintages. We await with glasses at the ready.

Siuralta 2008 has strawberries and sour cherries wafting throughout the nose. The body carries a great deal of this as well, but is fresh, uplifting, and bright. The finish is the same and is completely clean and invigorating. A true wine for sommeliers and wine lovers, but also one that most anyone else could completely enjoy. If encountered, make sure to check it out. 13% 28-35€