In The Mood For Priorat

So, the wine conversation goes like this.

“I fancy something fabulous to drink tonight,” says Mr. SipSwoosh (as if we never have anything even half decent in house to drink).

“What do you mean by ‘fabulous’?” I ask.

“Oooh, something gorgeous,” comes the helpful reply.

Priorat wine from Cellers Scala Dei in CataloniaHmmmm, so let’s see. It’s been a great weekend and Mr. SipSwoosh wants to kick back before returning to the Monday morning coalface. We’re planning a dinner of slow-cooked pig’s cheek ragu and then we’ll settle down and watch a film.

What could fit the fabulous category tonight is something dark and velvety that will go well with food but be pretty good without. A bit of a treat.

I remember I’ve just been sent a Priorat by a PR for Grupo Codorníu – a Scala Dei Cartoxia 2005. Priorat is a small region in Catalonia which produces big reds from vines grown on heat-trapping slate called licorella. Just over half of the Cartoixa blend is the traditional Priorat varieties Garnacha (Grenache) and Cariñena (Carignan). The rest is Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, probably to give it more international appeal.

It smells of black, juicy plums with hints of mocha, violets and herbs. It tastes of silky, perfumed deep red and black fruits, which linger in your mouth. There’s also vanilla, a slick of tar and a good handful of stones. While the alcohol level is high (15% ABV), it stops short of being spirity, the tannins are soft and the perky acidity holds back any jaminess.

It’s tasty and well made wine. But is it fabulous? For the time, the place, the food and the mood we were in when we drank it – yes. It’s got a fabulous price too, retailing at Tesco Wine online for £28.50 if you buy six.


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