Monday, November 13, 2017

A Taste of Terroir

I know few people who are as keen to taste something different and new all the time as Gordy.  What makes him special is that he approaches each such wine with an open mind and a ‘glass half full’ attitude.  Too often, we come to see wines with preconceptions, and when wine doesn’t match up, it’s so easy to denigrate the new and unusual wine.  Not so Gordy, but it’s terrible playing wine options with him.  The wines are often so way out that variety and place are hard to pick.
So it was with his bottle of 2012 Terroir al Limit ‘Pedro de Guix Priorat.  Whio could pick it was from a blend of Pedro Ximinez, Macabeo and Garnacha Blanc, from clay, alluvial and schist soil respectively.  I’m sure Priorat has all those soil types, but it’s not what it is best known for, as one thinks of volcanic black slate, also known as ‘llicorella’.  On top of that, it’s indigenous yeast fermented and aged in neutral oak.  The old vine character of plants 50-80 y.o. must come through.

SWMBO and I were totally bamboozled by it.  It had the taste of old world.  It was soft and amorphous , and lacked acid freshness.  But it had weight, mouthfeel and presence.  No identifiable fruit character came through, so I said Garnacha Blanc, and lo-and-behold, I was one-third correct! 

What both SWMBO and I picked up was oxidation.  Researching the wine, winemaker Dominik Huber says this wine is “oxidative”, so we were on the right track.  But after these points we had no inkling at all.  We were somewhat glad when the identity was revealed and its make-up discussed.  It is a wine of terroir, but one of many facets.  The oxidation receded as it received more aeration and our attention.  I think Gordy was a little pleased and hopefully impressed with the wine and our limited, but perceptive performance.     

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