2018 Clos de Bartolomé, Priorat
If after tasting the sumptuous 2018 Clos de Bartolomé you're not compelled to fire up the grill and slap on the sirloin steaks, this may only be because you have neither to hand. What you'll have in hand, however, is a glass of the most enchanting Spanish blend we've stumbled across for quite some time.
From Priorat, the only other region to share with Rioja, Spain's highest 'DOC' classification.
But Prior-what? Priorat, an exclusive, albeit rugged, high-altitude and highly sought-after Catalonian appellation just south-west of Barcelona where the Bartolomé-Vernet family at Cellar Bartolomé make a mere 10,850, hand-numbered bottles of this gorgeous blend of garnacha and cariñena (samsó in Catalan) and from old vines averaging between 40 and 80 years of age.
So, how gorgeous is the 2018 blend? Quite: hints of warm spice, dried fig notes, black cherry and vanilla on the nose; on the palate, richly fruited, textured, forceful and bold, with a dense core of ripe, black cherry, lip-smacking minerality and generous, mouth-coating sweetness of fruit.
Richly textured and intense, it really is this delicious. Which is why we think you should try Clos de Bartolomé, particularly if you've never savoured the cuvées of this wonderful region. Cuvées which do not come cheaply, owing to Priorats fine patchwork of tiny, slate-based vineyards and the labour-intensive viticultural methods its difficult terrain demands.
About the producer:
For many decades, the Bartolomé Vernet family have steadfastly and lovingly farmed their Trossos (plots of land), and produced excellent quality fruit from garnacha and cariñena (carignan) varieties. In 1997 they were able to go one step further and started bottling their own wine rather than sell it in bulk. Since then Josep Bartolomé and his son-in-law, Antonio Rodriguez have further raised the quality of the wines at this tiny (around 10,000 bottles produced annually) estate. The combination of very old vines and the attention to detail and dedication of the family combine to produce truly impressive wines.
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