2006 L'Ermita, Alvaro Palacios

2006 L'Ermita, Alvaro Palacios

Product: 944014
 
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2006 L'Ermita, Alvaro Palacios

Description

100% Garnacha in 2006, L’Ermita is made from 60-100 year old vines, farmed at 15 hl/hectare and then aged for 18-19 months in new French barrels. 2006 is the first time that the wine is made exclusively from Garnacha; for me the result is surprisingly supple and approachable. In anticipation of a monolithic monster, a rock of mistanthropic certitude, one is astonished to taste a soft and wonderfully fruity wine, its tannins tightly woven, its colour gently warming and its personality far from hermitic.
Simon Field MW, Fine Wine Buyer A jaw-dropping price for Palacios’ Grand Vin, but my God it is a beauty. Pure, tight, and seemingly rather light on the nose at first, the concentration of mineral-infused, slightly smoky red fruit begins to come into focus. The palate has fantastic natural concentration with a great core of intense minerality, around which is layered the sweet fruit and shimmering acidity. Wearing its oak and structure lightly, this is serious stuff and probably fairly invincible.
The Wine Gang - Top 20 BBR Wines - July 09
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About this WINE

Priorat

Priorat

Priorato, or Priorat, is one of the stand-out Spanish wine regions, with an extraordinary leap in wine quality, reputation and price over the 1990s. This small wine appellation, with 1,700 hectares of vines and just over 60 bodegas, lies to the west of the province of Tarragona in Catalonia

It includes the municipalities of Scala Dei, Gratallops and Falset, where vines grow on steep terraces at varying altitudes of 100 to 700 metres. The climate is continental, and the region blessed with an exceptional schistous terroir (mostly llicorella with layers of slate and quartz). This schist is part of the same stratum found in the finest vineyards of the Douro, Toro and Ribera del Duero. It provides ideal conditions for growing vines and also contributes to the much-lauded mineral-rich character of Priorato’s wines.

The region’s wines were revolutionised through the efforts of René Barbier. In 1989 he joined forces with a group of eight other winemakers to produce wine from eight plots (or clos), planting the best grapes using modern methods, and harvesting at extremely low yields. This original group included such distinguished bodegas as Alvaro Palacios (Finca Dofi), Costers del Siurana and Mas Martinet. 

The group later split up, but the legacy and the international acclaim their wines generated has attracted significant interest and investment in the Priorato region. It is now recognised as one of the great fine wine regions in Spain, rivalling Rioja and Ribera del Duero. The Priorat wines are typically powerful and full-bodied, with a warm, ripe fruitiness and impressive levels of concentration and minerality. The wines are made in all categories from Joven to Gran Reserva, undergoing the same oak ageing as Rioja.

The efforts of the Barbier group proved that old-vine, low-yielding Cariñena and Garnacha is the most planted variety here, followed by Garnacha. Both provide the backbone of the region’s wines, augmented by international varieties such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.  

White varieties (i.e. Chenin Blanc, Macabeo, Garnacha Blanca, Viognier and Pedro Ximénez) occupy less than five percent of the vineyard area.

Recommended Producers:
Combier Fischer Gerin (Trio Infernal), Clos Figueres, Alvaro Palacios (Finca Dofi)

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Grenache/Garnacha

Grenache/Garnacha

Grenache (Noir) is widely grown and comes in a variety of styles. Believed to originate in Spain, it was, in the late 20th century, the most widely planted black grape variety in the world. Today it hovers around seventh in the pecking order. It tends to produce very fruity, rich wines that can range quite widely in their level of tannin.

In many regions – most famously the Southern Rhône, where it complements Syrah and Mourvèdre, among other grapes – it adds backbone and colour to blends, but some of the most notable Châteauneuf du Pape producers (such as Château Rayas) make 100 percent Grenache wines. The grape is a component in many wines of the Languedoc (where you’ll also find its lighter-coloured forms, Grenache Gris and Blanc) and is responsible for much southern French rosé – taking the lead in most Provence styles.

Found all over Spain as Garnacha Tinta (spelt Garnaxa in Catalonia), the grape variety is increasingly detailed on wine labels there. Along with Tempranillo, it forms the majority of the blend for Rioja’s reds and has been adopted widely in Navarra, where it produces lighter styles of red and rosado (rosé). It can also be found operating under a pseudonym, Cannonau, in Sardinia.

 

Beyond Europe, Grenache is widely planted in California and Australia, largely thanks to its ability to operate in high temperatures and without much water. Particularly in the Barossa Valley, there are some extraordinary dry-farmed bush vines, some of which are centuries old and produce wines of startling intensity.

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Reviews

Customer reviews

jancisrobinson.com18/20

Critic reviews

jancisrobinson.com18/20
100% Garnacha. Sweet oak, soft red fruit, delicate spices, but overall extremely tight on the nose. A kernel of concentrated pure fruit on the palate, savoury spices, leather, liquorice, dried red fruit too, and a meat juice scent. Concentrated but not heavy. Just barely evolving now, very dense and immensely lengthy.
Richard Hemming - jancisrobinson.com - 16-Jan-2008 Read more