2010 Terroir Al Limit Soc. Lda. Priorat L'Arbossar

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2010 Terroir Al Limit Soc. Lda. Priorat L'Arbossar

Single Bottle - Magnum - 1.5 Liters

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Tasting Notes:

The 2010 L’Arbossar is Carinena from a north facing, fresh vineyard in Torroja where there is some granite that could be responsible for some of the special character the wine has vintage after vintage. It’s very expressive, with clear, clean and intense red fruit, almost shiny, with notes of flowers and a Burgundian sensation in both nose and palate, with a super-fine, silky texture. An elegant Carinena that destroys the idea of rusticity you might have about the grape. Drink now-2020. South African Eben Sadie of Sadie Family winery (Columela) fame and German Dominik Huber are the names behind this outstanding tiny winery in the village of Torroja. They both arrived in Priorat and were captivated by the place. Sadie returned to his homeland, but Huber never did. In fact, his French wife lives and works with him in Torroja where they live with their two-year-old son. His motivation is food and gastronomy, so he needs to produce wines that go well with food. He gets ripe grapes without very high alcohol; all vineyards are worked organically and all wines are below 14% alcohol. While I tasted 2010 and 2011 it was impossible not to talk about 2012, and especially the recent 2013 which, despite being disastrous in many parts of Europe, seems to be nearly perfect in Priorat. According to Huber, 2013 is the best vintage he’s ever seen, very relaxed and long, with vineyards maturing little by little. In the last few years he has developed some very strong ideas, and I feel a big change in the wines starting with the 2010 vintage, with much more elegance, less wood (really imperceptible, very well-integrated): He does not believe in 225-liter barriques in Mediterranean regions, oak works better in bigger volumes in Priorat; they are progressively moving to foudres. Priorat has to be organic and the soils have to be alive. He reckons hydric stress is responsible for many of the harsh tannins that you find in many reds. There will be new wines offered in the future, a whole new line of wines, with more whites and light wines. You will see very little (if any) technical details in my tasting notes as basically all the reds are vinified with full clusters and aged in used 500-liter and foudres. I tasted a really breathtaking collection of wines here, both whites and reds. Terroir al Limit is one of the names that are defining the Priorats of the 21st century. Unfortunately the wines are produced in small quantities and the prices are high.

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In 2004 Eben Sadie and Dominik Hubre (below) started a new project in the trendy Catalan wine region of Priorat, called Terroir al Limit. They prospected the region for great old vines to work with, and then began taking a very un-Spanish approach in the cellar, avoiding small oak barrels and instead opting for inert tanks and larger foudres. The wines are made in quite a natural way, and the vineyards are managed biodynamically. Eben is now so busy he's not involved in any practical way with the project, so it's now Dominik's baby (although Eben remains a significant shareholder). These wines are stunning: so fresh and expressive, and are a unique expression of this dramatic region, whose wines are so often blighted by new oak and over-ripeness.