Priorat, Red blends, Red wine, Spain

Bodegas La Cartuja 2008

Winemaker: Miquel Pinyol
Grape: 50% Garnacha, 30% Mazuelo (or Cariñena), 10% Cabernet Sauvignon,10% Syrah
Region: Priorat, Spain

90 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate:

“This is as good a deal as you are going to get from Priorat. The deep purple-colored 2007 La Cartuja is 50% Garnacha, 30% Carinena and the balance Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. It offers up an enticing nose of roasted minerals, lavender, incense, black cherry, and blueberry. On the palate it has good grip, savory flavors, and a lengthy finish.” (06/09)

This new wine project in the heart of Priorat, was founded by Borja Osborne, Alberto Orte and Patrick Mata. The single estate of 59 acres is called La Solana and located between the towns of El Molar and El Lloar, 820 ft above sea level.

As its producers proclaim, “La Cartuja is a small production estate-bottled cuvee that intends to show the mineral and spice of Priorat in a youthful style.” And the wine does just that. Organically grown, the winemaker’s team paid personal attention to every detail in the vineyard. After a harvest, wine was fermented with its crushed skin and than aged for 8 months in French oak barrels.

La Cartuja is a very modern wine that is intended to be enjoyed now – unlike most of the (much more expensive) Priorat production, that needs to lay down for a few years. Yet it still shows great structure and mineral complexity, that is so typical and unique for this famous Spanish wine region.

Tasting notes:
Intense aroma of dark fruit as blackberries, red and black cherries and dried plum combined with spices. On the palate it’s medium – to full body red, with lovely layers of clean fruit. Gentle oaky notes, velvety tannins and Priorat’s typical mineral complexity make this wine perfectly balanced.
The sweetness of the rich fruit is mixed with light nutmeg or tobacco hints on the palate. Generous long finish. One glass of this sexy red isn’t going to be enough. Superb value for the quality of the wine!

Dry – Off dry – Medium sweet – Sweet
Light – Medium – Full body
No oak – Aged in oak
Organically grown
Retail price: under $ 17.00

Ideal food pairing:
Shish kebab, grilled meats, Flank steak with shitakee sauce, BBQ, Beef Bourguignon and many more

Montsant, Red blends, Red wine, Spain

Can Blau 2008

Winemaker: Sarah Morris (Australia)
Grapes: 40% Cariñena (aka Carignan or Mazuelo), 40% Syrah and 20% Garnacha
Region: D.O. Montsant, Spain

See other wines from these producers:
Juan Gil

One of many unique projects, started not long ago in Spain, as a cooperation of Jumilla based Gil family and Jorge Ordóñez. Their join mission is to find an unique land, with great vine potential and use the maximum knowledge, technology and personal effort to bring the best out of that region to the light.

D.O.Montsant was supposed to be included on the Priorat appellation (it is in fact a horse shoe shaped appellation that surrounds the D.O.C. Priorat on three sides). This appellation business has certain great advantages for us, consumers: knowing the right D.O. so closed to an outstanding D.O.C. such as Priorat, you can buy super high quality wines, having the advantage of similar soil and very similar terroire with its expensive cousin – but paying much more affordable price for it.
(By the way, there are only 2 regions in Spain awarded DOC (Denominacion de Origen Calificada) so far – and that’s Rioja and Priorat).

Celler Can Blau is one of those unbelievably good bargains. The winery purchased 60 acres of vineyards planted around 1975 in the village of Mas Roig with vines that averages 37 years of age. Cariñena (Mazuelo) planted on snady clay soil, Syrah on chalky soils and the Garnacha on slate.

Harvest here is done by hand, strict selection of grapes follows in the winery. After a fermentation, the wine then rests for 10 months in new French oak barrels.

The composition of different soils helps to create a very unique blend of wines. Combined with the perfection that each Sarah, Jorge and Gil brothers brings to the table, you have a recipe for success. This wine is a true flagship of Montsant and its varietals.

Jorge Ordóñez’s passion for Spanish wines doesn’t end at the winery. His development of artistically beautiful labels has became another signature style of his company. Just look at this label!


Tasting notes:
Dark purple wine with aroma of ripe blueberries or dark jammy fruit. Give this wine time to open up! It will reward you with rich flavors of dark fruit, coffee and spices. What started like medium body wine, becomes heavy duty fruit bomb an hour later, in the most positive way. Almost nonexistent, silky tannins and lovely, long and attractive finish.

Dry – Off dry – Medium sweet – Sweet
Light – Medium – Full body
No oak – Aged in oak
Retail price: around $ 18.00!!!

Ideal food pairing:
Beef or lamb burgers, beef or venison stew, Flank steak fajitas, Pistachio crusted rack of lamb, Beef Bourguignon, Not so Greek musaka and more…