Vall Llach Embruix 2006
Other Red Blends from Priorat, Spain
The Vall Llach team has characterized the 2006 vintage as being a "year of contrasts," where a very cold and humid winter was followed by an almost complete lack of spring weather as the temperature jumped from very cold to very warm in a matter of days. The record high temperatures that occurred between April and June were replaced by unusually cool temperatures in July and August, even though all of the summer months were sunny and very dry. Harvest began on the 16th of September and ended much earlier than usual on the 22nd of October. The overall grape quality was said to be very good and the vines produced small grape clusters that were high in sugar concentration with a good phenolic maturation. Total production was similar to that of 2005, when around 1/3 less fruit was harvested than in previous years.
34% Garnacha, 22% Cariñena, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Syrah, 4% Merlot.
Sourced primarily from 10 to 15 year-old estate vines, Embruix (pronounced "Embroosh") de Vall Llach is Catalan for "bewitching." True to its name, the wine has an enchanting scarlet color with an amethyst halo. Full of succulent fruit, dark minerals and sweet spices, including nutmeg and fennel, this wine is complex and full-bodied. Meant to consume now or age for 20-25 years, this wine should be served between 58-60ºF.
Wine Enthusiast - "Rubbery and gaseous on first sniff, and then upon airing it shows pretty black fruit scents and richness. Forget about minerality and llicorela here; this wine is modern, lusty, big and dark, with licorice, blackberry and chocolately flavors. Finishes thick, long and tasty."
Wine Spectator - "Sleek and firm, this red offers black cherry, licorice and tobacco flavors. A bit austere, but well-integrated, with firm tannins and a smoky finish. For those who prefer bitter to sweet. Drink now through 2016."
International Wine Cellar - "Saturated ruby. Blackberry and candied cherry on the nose, with complicating notes of licorice and dried violet. Supple, forward and fruity, with gentle acidity adding lift and focus. This rather suave and already approachable wine finishes with lingering dark berry flavors and a kiss of herbs."
The Wine Advocate - "The 2006 Embruix uses all five varieties permitted in the Priorat DO sourced from the estate’s younger vines. Purple in color, it has an expressive perfume of cedar, spice box, mineral, damp earth, and black fruits that jump from the glass. On the palate, however, the wine is compact and reticent. The flavors are good but the wine lacks generosity. Drink it over the next eight years."
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Vall Llach Winery
From its founding in the early 1990s, by famed Spanish singer Lluís Llach and notary Enric Costa, Vall Llach winemaking has been governed by a commitment to rigor and quality. The winery lies in the tiny village of Porerra, in southern Catalonia, in the highly-acclaimed D.O.Q. Priorat. Here, the magnificent century-old vineyard estates of Vall Llach are home to 60- to 90-year-old Cariñena and Garnacha vines.
Old vines naturally produce low yields, and Vall Llach reduces yields even further through careful vineyard management for densely concentrated wines. Vineyards climb steep slate hillsides, receiving optimum sun exposure and beneficial water deprivation, further concentrating the fruit. Newer plantings of Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah add complexity to the old-vine character, and the resulting wines - Vall Llach, Idus, and Embruix - have received high critical acclaim. View all Vall Llach Wines
About PrioratView a map of Priorat wineries (pree-ohr-aht) Spain, sparking envy among collectors. The region has become something of a cult wine producer, creating wines that cost up to 5 times that of a quality Rioja. The region has a special soil, called llicorella made of a brown slate mixed together with rocks. Mountains surround the area and the vines are tended by hand.
Notable FactsThe red wines here are based on Garnacha, and produce inky wine with intense fruit flavors of blackberry and plums, not to mention a required minimum of 13.5% alcohol. The secondary grape of the region is Carinena (Carignan in France). This grape has lost favor in most parts of the world due to its rustic nature, but here in Priorat it's a welcome structural addition to the Garnacha based wines.
The most popular red varieties of Spain include Tempranillo and Garnacha (Grenache). Whites don't garner quite as much recognition, but there are some regional varieties not to be missed, like Albarino and Verdejo. The popular red regions of Spain include Rioja, known for its outstanding wines of the Tempranillo grape; Ribera del Duero, producing high quality reds from Tempranillo and Garnacha; Galacia, with the sub-region of Rias Baixas, home to the deliciously crisp and floral Albarino grape; and Priorat, a region increasing in popularity with its high-quality cult reds. Other regions of note are Rueda, growing the Verdejo grape, La Mancha, a wide desert region, covered in the most planted white variety in the world, Airen, and Jumilla, making wines based on Monastrell (Mourvedre).
Spain's wine laws are based on the Denominacion de Origen (DO) classification system, devised in the 1930's. A four tiered system, the most basic level is Vina de Mesa (table wine) followed by Vino de la Tierra (country wine), DO and at the top DOC. Currently, only Rioja and Priorat have DOC status, while over 65 DO's scatter the country.
Most DO regions are classified and regulated by how long they age the wines. On a red wine label, one may find the terms Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva, denoting the wine's barrel and bottle time. Crianza is usually two years between barrel and bottle (the time in each depends on the DO and/or the winemaker), Reserva up to 4 years and Gran Reserva 5 – 6 years. Classifications of each region and wine are controlled by the region's Consejo Regulador.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.