Terroir Al Limit Soc. Lda. Les Tosses 2012
Les Tosses is a steep, 90 year-old vineyard of head-pruned Carinyena on llicorella soil that Dominik Huber discovered while riding his motorbike on the twisting and mountainous dirt roads around Torroja. While many growers in the Priorat preferred Garnatxa or were planting Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, Dominik saw the potential for pure, old-vine, Carinyena. Inspired by the Burgundian concept of terroir, the minuscule yields from Les Tosses are not blended with any other variety, or Carinyena from other sites. It is harvested by hand, with whole cluster native fermentations, infused rather than extracted, with only two weeks on the
skins before pressing. It finishes fermentation and malo in a single 1200L Stockinger fuder where it rests undisturbed for 18–24 months.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Complex aromas of blackberry, dried flower and stone. Full body, good clean fruit and a fresh finish. Straightforward.
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.
Beyond the usual suspects, there are hundreds of red grape varieties grown throughout the world. Some are indigenous specialties capable of producing excellent single varietal wines, while others are better suited for use as blending grapes. Each has its own distinct viticultural characteristics, as well as aroma and flavor profiles, offering much to be discovered by the curious wine lover. In particular, Portugal and Italy are known for having a multitude of unique varieties but they can really be found in any region.