Vall Llach Idus 2004
Other Red Blends from Priorat, Spain
Idus is the result of a close collaboration with local viticulturalists and owners of "trossos," or small vineyard blocks, who cultivate old-vine Cariñenas and Garnachas. These old-vine vineyards, which are located in the Porrera and Torroja municipalities, are the key to the character of this wine.
Deep cherry red in color, this wine has a provocative aroma that is slightly earthy and full of ripe berries, dried fruit, and forest herbs. On the palate it is perfectly balanced with undulating flavors of dark fruit and minerals, licorice and chocolate-covered cherries. Its great structure and long finish produce a truly extraordinary and modern wine.
45% Cariñena, 20% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Garnacha, 10% Syrah
Wine Enthusiast - "Deep and dark, this is an excellent kitchen-sink blend (it includes Carignan, Merlot, Cabernet, Garnacha and Syrah). For those who like expressive, fruity, no-holds-barred wines, you’re gonna swoon for this. The palate is super lush and full of dark cherry, tobacco, herbs and spice, while the finish is mile-long. Outwardly impressive in a modern style."
Wine Spectator - "A solid red, with plum, dark chocolate and mineral notes. The muscular tannins overshadow the fruit, but there's enough acidity for freshness and the fruit emerges on the finish. Cariñena, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha and Syrah. Best after 2008. 600 cases imported."
The Wine Advocate - "The 2004 Idus is made from fruit purchased from local growers cultivating small plots of old-vine Carinena and Garnacha. The wine consists of 45% Carinena, 20% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Garnacha, and 10% Syrah, a rather atypical blend for Priorat. Fifty percent of the wine went through malolactic fermentation in tank and 50% in barrel. Forty percent of the wine was then aged in new French oak and 60% in second year. The color is saturated purple and the aromatics quite restrained. With vigorous swirling, elements of smoke, earth, mineral, and blackberry reluctantly emerge. On the palate the wine is full-bodied and tightly wound although the raw materials are all there. The fruit is layered and concentrated, the components in balance, and there is enough structure for long-term cellaring. Give this wine 4-6 years of further bottle age and drink it through 2027. Although this wine is certain to have a long life, the real question is how much pleasure it will ultimately provide."
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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 & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.