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La Cartuja Priorat 2011

Other Red Wine from Priorat, Spain
  • RP93
14.5% ABV
  • RP90
  • RP90
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14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The wine is made in an approachable style to be enjoyed young. It is neither alcoholic nor overly tannic. La Cartuja is an uncomplicated example of Priorat. Made with organic, estate-owned fruit, it is aged in oak barrels for only 6 months.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
A spectacular offering from Priorato that sells for a song (most wines from this region are in the $50-150 or higher range), the 2011 La Cartuja is a 4,000 case blend of 70% Garnacha and 30% Carinena (3,000 cases are being exported to the USA). It was aged for eight months in 50% new and 50% used French oak. The wine possesses phenomenal minerality along with notes of crushed rocks/wet steel, graphite, blueberries and raspberries, medium to full-bodied flavors, and sensational purity, texture and length. It should drink nicely for a decade or more.
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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 overly 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, namely old Carignan and Grenache blended with Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. When the demand arrived, 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.

Other Red Wine

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Beyond the usual suspects, there are hundreds of red grape varieties grown throughout the world. Some are regional indigenous specialties capable of producing excellent wines on their own, while others are better suited for use as blending grapes. Each has its own distinct viticultural characteristics and aroma and flavor profiles, offering much to be discovered by the curious wine lover. In particular, Portugal, Italy, and Greece are known for having a multitude of unique varieties.

AWACATAA11C_2011 Item# 120223