02-11-2012 ~ 4 Comments

The Torroja harvest tasting

We were fortunate enough to be in Priorat during the fall harvest party (or festa de la verema) that was put on by Trio Infernal and Terroir al Límit this last week, in the small village of Torroja del Priorat. While the gathering included people who flew in from Madrid and other parts of Europe, it seemed like a great wide swath of winemakers from all over the Priorat county came to taste the new bottles in attendance.

It was held at Cal Compte, a quite exquisite old house in the heart of the village that’s been converted in to an eight room hotel. In addition to the two host wineries, they invited several of their winemaker friends from other regions including: Emmanuel Brochet, Jiménez Landi, Cos, and Weingut Peter J. Kühn. There were German Rieslings alongside Champagne, reds from Toledo (D.O Méntrida) and amphora wines from Southern Italy. Eclectic to say the least. Of course, while everyone was dutifully taking notes, swirling and spitting, in short order it became readily apparent what people were holding out for.

The outdoors part of the event took place in a small square by a fountain on the lower side of the village. They’d set up tables, drinks, and all manner of things to hold the several hundred strong crowd that quickly arrived from the tasting to have lunch and taste some more wines. Naturally though, it didn’t officially become a party until one member of the “els Torrassos” group couldn’t find a bottle opener and tried to open a wine bottle with his shoe, not understanding that you bang the bottle contained within the shoe and not the bottle against the shoe. This incorrect manner resulted in smashing the bottle in an unfortunate, yet glorious explosion of juice and glass. Thankfully, there were no injuries other than pride. That group was nuts and so naturally we gravitated towards the “ridiculous insanity” of this wine club from Girona.

It seemed that most of the winemakers in attendance brought some of their wines for everyone to taste alongside the Catalan grilled sausages, meatballs in tomato sauce and rice with mushrooms and seafood that was being served. The sheer number of bottles to try was massive and took some time as it was damned cold that day which meant really warming up each glass to taste all the succulence contained within. But, out of everything, probably the most interesting were a Pinot Noir and Riesling grown at high altitudes up near the Pyrenees and produced by the two enologs of Trio Infernal under the name Batlliu de Sort, as well as a humorously named Grenache from the DO Vinos de Madrid (our first from there) made from grapes grown at nearly 1000m of altitude in the Sierra de Gredos. It was called, La Bruja Avería and made by a group of three enologs under the name Comando G, but only a small 2000 bottle production. A very interesting wine indeed.

We had previous obligations and had to leave just as the magnums were coming out and the dancing was starting to be widespread. Apparently, the party went late in to the night with more wine brought out, more chilly ass weather to “enjoy” and a huge escudella (Catalan comfort soup) finally made at the end by one of the enologs so that people could “safely” drive home. It would easy to say that there were many sore heads the next day, but most likely not as searing hangovers don’t seem to be a feature of drinking Priorat wines.