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La Cartuja Priorat 2008

Grenache from Priorat, Spain
  • RP90
0% ABV
  • RP93
  • RP90
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3.5 2 Ratings
0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

La Cartuja is a blend of 50% Garnacha, 30% Mazuelo, 10% Cabernet and 10% Syrah. Garnacha (aka Grenache) provides the bright red berry flavors, the Mazuelo (aka Cariñena or Carignane) the inky color, the cabernet the structure (body) and the Syrah the spice.

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
RP 90
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Bodegas La Cartuja's 2008 La Cartuja is a blend of 50% Garnacha, 30% Carinena with the balance Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah from organically farmed estate fruit aged in French oak for 8 months. It offers up a reticent nose of graphite, spice box, underbrush, lavender, black cherry, and plum. This leads to a plush, sweetly-fruited, concentrated, mouth-filling wine for drinking over the next 5-6 years. It is an amazing value and a great introduction to Priorat.
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La Cartuja

La Cartuja

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La Cartuja, Priorat, Spain
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La Cartuja was founded in 2007 by Borja Osborne (from the Osborne family), Alberto Orte and Patrick Mata with the purpose in mind of making an estate-bottled wine showing the mineral complexity of Priorat at an inconceivable price (one of Ole's fortes. The single estate of 24 ha (59 acres) by the name La Solana ("Les Solanes" in Catatalan) is located in the very heart of Priorat between the towns of El Molar and El Lloar, just south west of the town of Gratallops. La Solana vineyard sits at 250m elevation with south-east facing slopes.

La Cartuja was the name assigned during medieval times, to a large geographical area governed by the Cartussian monks. This geographical area had its own code of law (similar to the Vatican estates). During medieval times Priorat as a whole was a "Cartuja". It wasn't a civil domain but a religious state. Needless to say that Priorat's winemaking heritage belongs to the Cartussian monks who tended these difficult isolated vineyards for centuries. As a side note, if you are looking for the oldest vines in Spain and the best areas to make wine look for the areas where the monks established themselves during medieval times.

What makes La Cartuja Unique?
Estate-owned small production wine; a singular location at the heart of Priorat; Organic viticulture; oak ageing is short, a Priorat wine that shows depth but drinkability while young; an extraordinary value!

Photo Credit: Friederike Paetzold, Vinimenta.com

Tiny and entirely composed of craggy, jagged and deeply terraced vineyards, Priorat is a Catalan wine-producing region that was virtually abandoned until the early 1990s. Its renaissance came with the arrival of one man, René Barbier, who recognized the region’s forgotten potential. He banded with five friends to create five “Clos” in the village of Gratallops. Their aim was to revive some of Priorat’s ancient Carignan vines, as well as plant new—mainly French—varieties. These winemakers were technically skilled, well-trained and locally inspired; not surprisingly their results were a far cry from the few rustic and fermented wines already produced.

This movement escalated Priorat’s popularity for a few reasons. Its new wines were modern and made with well-recognized varieties (old Carignan and Grenache blended with Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot). When demand came, scarcity commanded higher prices and as the region discovered its new acclaim, investors came running from near and far. Within ten years the area under vine practically doubled.

Priorat’s steep slopes of licorella (brown and black slate) and quartzite soils, protection from the cold winds of the Siera de Monstant and a lack of water, leading to incredibly low vine yields, all work together to make the region’s wines unique. While similar blends could and are produced elsewhere, the mineral essence and unprecedented concentration of a Priorat wine is unmistakable.

Grenache

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Full-bodied but light in both color and tannin, Grenache loves the sun. It thrives in hot climates where it can easily achieve full ripeness. Grenache is best known in the Southern Rhône, where its plush texture and ample alcohol are tamed by savory Syrah and structured Mourvèdre, most notably in Côtes du Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Grenache originates in Spain, where it is known as Garnacha and is important throughout the country, particularly in Rioja, where it is blended with the more austere Tempranillo, and in Priorat in tandem with savory Cariñena (Carignan). It is also responsible for dry, fruity rosés in Navarra. In Sardinia, the variety is known as Cannonau and produces bold, rustic reds. In California, Grenache has achieved popularity both flying solo and playing a supporting role in Rhône-style blends.

In the Glass

In sufficiently warm conditions, Grenache produces smooth and generous wines that are loaded with red fruit flavors ranging from strawberry to cherry to dark berry. Richer examples can also show plum, chocolate, and licorice.

Perfect Pairings

Despite its bold flavors, Grenache has very mild-mannered tannins, which makes it eminently quaffable on its own, yet easy to match with food. With its uncomplicated, friendly nature, Grenache is the ultimate barbecue red, pairing happily with lamb loin chops or spicy Italian sausages. Unlike most other full-bodied reds, Grenache’s low tannin level ensures that it will not be fazed by a good chili kick.

Sommelier Secret

Sardinia’s Cannonau is often revered for its association with a long, healthy life. Residents of the Italian island often live well into their 90s and beyond, and they credit this antioxidant-rich wine—along with their healthy Mediterranean diet—for their impressive longevity.

AWACATAA08C_2008 Item# 104545