24-07-2017 ~ 2 Comments

The story of Triaca

I can’t properly remember the first time nor even the first place that I bumped into Santi. I feel that it was in Falset during a Vi de Vila tasting was where we first met followed by breakfast at the Kabbalah Cafe in Falset–the name which of has nothing to do with Madonna’s wonky adopted religion.

“I feel like I’ve seen you around Priorat before.” he said to which I replied, “Most likely as I live in Porrera.”
“But I’m from Porrera and I’ve not seen you.”
“Well, I live right on square and my dog requires a great deal of visibility in crossing the crowds lazily passing their lives away in the bars. But you say that you’re from Porrera… you don’t live there?”
“Ah, well not all the time.”

And this was one of those moments that comes up often in that while Santi has another house elsewhere, he will always be from the village whereas me, despite having lived full time in the village for nearly three years, I will not, even if I were to die there, proclaiming my undying devotion to the place on my deathbed while reciting a poem that makes even the most hardened of viticulturists shed a tear. They might then erect a monument in my memory, but it would state that this Californian really quite liked living in our village and some of us might have even enjoyed him, a little. Such are the peculiarities of village life.

“So what do you do in Porrera?” he asked as we Americans are usually known for always “doing” something given that the stillness of ambition seen so often in those at the village bars is not often found in the United States.

“I’m a writer and I specialize in wine.”
“Oh, then you must try my wine!”
“By all means, do you have a bottle?”
“Ah, we’re just bottling it so I’ll get it to you later.”

And so it went, back and forth. I’d often bump into Santi in the village since that first encounter. Each time it was the same thing in that Santi either didn’t have a bottle or I was rushing off somewhere and this included the last Carignan Night where I was just too blown out after judging in London for a week to be of any use.

So last month my mother was visiting and we came back across the square on the evening walk with the dog. Cori, the ebullient proprietress of the wine shop/bar, Vinum yelled out, “Miquel, wait a minute!” Thinking it was just another letter or package that a carrier was too lazy to take up the stairs, I was surprised when she handed me a bottle of wine. “Santi told me, when you see him again, give him a bottle.”

And so we arrive to this moment, my finally having gotten around to tasting this wine which is a Vi de Vila from Porrera. It comes from a higher-altitude vineyard site call “Los Perers” (the pear trees) just northeast of the village. A number of other vineyard sites surround it where several other wineries source some of the grapes for their top wines.

I was duly impressed by this wine of “Ca l’Apotecari“. Of course it helps that it’s from the rather exalted 2013 vintage but still, the blend of Grenache and Merlot suit one another. It could potentially spend a bit more time in the bottle for the oak to integrate but I’m just nitpicking now. I do love the label with all the wine’s information upon it, although apparently this was problematic in terms of DOQ approval which is nothing new.

It’s a bottle that answers the question as to why I bother to live in such a doinky little village in the middle of nowhere–it makes chance encounters such as this possible.

Triaca 2013
Dark ruby hue with little variation at the rim. Big burst of fresh red fruit, light slatey notes, minor herbs, buttery oak notes, but generally integrated, alcohol a bit pronounced in the nose initially. Red fruit most prominent in the palate. Surprisingly light although it does betray the overall bass of Priorat. Quite dry tannins that linger well in to the finish. But very crisp, linear and tight on the palate, despite the immediate attack to it. Should cellar just a touch longer to enjoy fully.

65% Grenache, 35% Merlot 16% 30€
**+