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Two Wines From Priorat

For those who pay attention to where I purchase my wine you will have noticed that yesterday’s tasting notes included a bottle sourced from Chain Bridge Cellars.  I do try to stop by this store from time to time.  It is located in McLean not far from the Beltway and Tysons Corner.  Having the need to purchase a few bottles of wine one recent Sunday and having not been to the store since it expanded, I decided to stop by.  As far-reaching as the wine market is in Washington, DC just a quick trip over the Potomac River can yield unfamliar bottles from other importers.  Chain Bridge Cellars carries an extensive selection of wines imported by Vin de Terra Imports which is based out of Springfield, Virginia.  On this visit I purchased several bottles from their all-Spanish portfolio.

Gratallops, Image by Maria Rosa Ferre (flickr)

It was Jan and Rick’s recent Spanish Wine Dinner that I was first introduced to Cellar Cecilio through their bottles off 2008 Negre.  By coincidence a few years ago I had purchased a bottle from Vinedos de Ithaca which we also drank with Jan and Rick.  Both of these wineries are based in Gratallops which is located north-west of Tarragona in Catalonia.  It was with great interest that I tried these wines.

Catalonia, Willem Janszoon Blaue, Amsterdam, 1624, Image from Barry Lawrence Ruderman Antique Maps

The Cellar Cecilio, Billo cost $17 and the Vinedos de Ithaca, Akyles cost $27.  I recommend both of these wines as they are interesting and well priced.  The Cellar Cecilio is slow to unveil but after several hours becomes an strong valued wine.  The Vinedos de Ithaca opens after a few hours with strong interest and balance that does not reveal its 15% ABV.  While the Vinedos de Itaca was our preferred wine, the price is $10 more per bottle.

2008 Cellar Cecilio, Billo, Priorat
This wine is a blend of 35% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 20% Carignan, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon from fruit sourced from the Mas del Billo vineyard in Falset.  This vineyard was planted in 1999.   The wine was aged for six months in 50% used oak and 50% stainless steel.  This wine has good blue and red fruits which are flavorful but show control.  There are flavors of roasted meats, red fruit, and some sweet cocoa.  The initial fruit is a tad soft then it fills out in the midpalate as barrel notes, smoke, and a wee bit of heat develop. ** Now-2015.

2008 Vinedos de Ithaca, Akyles, Priorat
This wine is mostly Grenache with a good dose of Carignan and the remainder a blend of Garnacha Peluda and Cabernet Sauvignon.  I believe their vineyards were planted in 2001.  The fruit is riper than the Billo.  There is a good combination of fruit, stones, and scented herbs.  The gravelly red fruit has strong personality.  With air purer notes of dusty stones and raspberries develop as the fine, drying tannins and plenty of acidity come out to play in the back-end.  The aftertaste leaves the impression of what may be tar. *** Now-2015.

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