Sold a bottle tonight to someone who was going to spend just £50 on a bottle, but I guess my enthusiasm won them over. I think the wine is still a bit young, but with decanting it opened out quite nicely and seemed to grow into the glass a bit.
The vineyards are in Gratallops in Priorato, sitting in an area no-one except Alvaro thought manageable. At an altitude of about 290 metres above sea level, the soil is a punishing layer of slate which Alvaro works over with a mule and tiller. Despite the seemingly unhospitable nature of the region, the vines have an average age of about 50 years (between 18 and 100 years old). The blend is a mixture of approximately 60% Garnacha, with the remainder being split of Cabernet Sauv, Merlot, Carinena and a touch of Syrah.
The colour is a deep lustrous purple colour with a fresh purple rim. On the nose it displays a complex range of aromas with garrigue herbs being fairly dominant, then dried stone fruit, spices, warming tobacco notes and a touch of cinnamon all vie for attention. As the wine settles in the glass it seems to rejuvinate the fruit and the aromas become more red berry, cherry like than dried fruits. There is no sense of oxidation that often shows in Spanish reds. On the palate it presents the same fruit and secondary flavours with the tannins coming together quite smoothly, despite its youth. This is a wine that would definately benifit from at least another five years in the cellar, but given the opportunity to be decanted an hour or so before dinner, actually is very drinkable. This was a lovely complement to a dish of venison with a juniper reduction and choucroute canneloni.