Other Red Blends from Priorat, Spain
Akin to a bright red ruby in its color and rarity, Nita is a unique gem from the Spanish appellation of Priorat. From a region typically known for its concentrated barrel-aged reds, this wine is one of only a few jovenes, or non-barrel aged wines, produced within this celebrated appellation. Unaffected by the excessive toasted notes that barrel aging can produce, the 2011 Nita is perfect for those who want to taste the fruit and terroir of a wine in its purest form. Brain child of young female winemaker Meritxell Pallejà, this wine retains all of the characteristic minerality of Priorat, while better preserving the complex fruit flavors of old-vine Garnacha and Cariñena. Bright red in color and clean on the palate, this wine has a juicy entry that is supported by delicate minerality and notes of ripe cherries.
Meant to drink now or age up to five years, this enjoyable wine is the perfect accompaniment to a variety of dishes including BBQ, Chinese, Italian and American cuisine.
Blend: 45% Garnacha, 35% Cariñena, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Syrah
Wine Enthusiast - "A wiry, minty nose with aromas of herbs, compost and strawberry is pushy and direct. In the mouth, this feels grabby and tight, with driving tannins. Flavors of baked berry, carob and herbs finish with a prune-driven character, heat and choppy tannins."
Nita is a rare gem from Priorat, a region typically known for its concentrated barrel-aged reds, because it is one of the only unoaked "vino jovens," or young wines, made in this famous appellation. The creation of young winemaker Maritxell Palleja, Nita retains all the characteristic minerality of a Priorat wine, while showcasing the dense fruit flavors of old-vine Garnacha and Cariñena.
Maritxell Palleja is the third generation of her family to have been raised in Priorat, where her great-grandmother Anita built their first family home, “Cal Nita,” the namesake of this wine. After finishing her undergraduate degree in agricultural engineering, Palleja spent a harvest and crush in the Napa Valley and in Bordeaux. She then returned to Priorat and became assistant enologist for Alvaro Palacios, before obtaining her graduate degree in enology and creating her own label, Nita. Palleja carefully selects old-vine Garnacha and Cariñena grapes from the steep, slate-covered vineyards, where low yields produce wines of great expression and complexity. A biodynamic producer, Palleja aligns her vineyard management with lunar and seasonal cycles. View all Nita 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.