Wine of the Week: 2014 Salmos, Priorat Uncorked

“The Roman belief that wine was a daily necessity made the drink "democratic" and ubiquitous: wine was available to slaves, peasants and aristocrats alike.” ~ Unknown

It's a new week, Monday has come and gone, so what will you uncork when you get home? How about something a bit different, and really altogether the same. The different factor arrives via the fact that it's an import, and it's from Spain. But its difference does not end there, no this wine is from a wine region not far from one of most travelers' favorite cities, Barcelona. There's is much to see in this region, as many say "come for the wine stay for the culture."

Just a short two-hour train ride and you could find yourself smack dab in the middle of one of Spain's most stunning vineyard landscapes on the planet. The Priorat is a DOQ which fits nicely inside the Monstant DO, which means the qualified controlled appellation of origin, similar to AVA, American Viticultural Area but still different. Yields are low, the overall quality is high, and the prices are surprisingly reasonable given the difficult growing conditions, from a region which somehow still manages to fly under the radar. 

The same arrives via the opaque extracted color, and the hedonistic style of the wine, echoing its new world flair from rim to rim in the glass and on the palate. So new world wine fans, you're in for a real treat, this wine 'wows' on every level, you'll be blown away by how big of a wine it's and quite surprised it's not a big fat-nosed Cabernet Sauvignon from one of your favorite valley floor producers off highway 29 in the Napa Valley.

Salmos 2014 Priorat: In the glass, the color depth and appearance are medium to deep, the color is a dusty red to dark purple, and at the core, it's opaque. The aromas of this wine, are very pleasing and aromatic. Aromas of dark, ripe summer cherries, broken rock, dry earth, tobacco and a wee bit of nail polish. On the taste profile, the wine is fermented dry, and the acidity is balanced. The textures are round and opulent, inviting sip after sip and pour after pour. The body is medium-plus and the tannin level is strong, but delightfully well integrated.

Flavor descriptors wise, roasted plum, dark summer ripe cherries, espresso beans, and cocoa dust. The long, lasting finish is memorable. The blend of Carignan, Garnacha, Syrah poured into a one hundred percent new French oak barrel, delivered some of them over the top toast nuances, but with another year in bottle, those issues should right themselves nicely. Decanting is recommended for early drinking, to release some of the unattractive acidic acid, nail polish aromas. I'm very familiar with this wine, as I had sold many cases of it in my capacity as the buyer and wine steward for the Vons in La Jolla.

In 1835 the Carthusian order monks had their Monastery sacked by an angry mob and their land violently stolen from them via an auction known as "Desamortización de Mendizábal."  Fast forward, many years later, in 1996 Torres, which has its hands on many wine properties throughout Spain, decided they would buy the land where the monks had once planted vines. Cariñena, Syrah, and Grenache are now planted in the famous black slate-like "Licorella" stone, producing amazing wines of premium quality.

Salmos is an homage to the work of those monks and the beautiful community they created on those same hard black slate soils.  As you can see from the image on the label, those breakneck hard slate hills are terraced, which makes harvesting the grapes by machine impossible. Torres is a major player in the Spanish wine scene, because of this, they're able to offer this Salmos Priorat for a very reasonable price.

Torres also has what some would consider a green-streak, investing heavily in renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, and as builders of new construction. They keep their properties focused on biodiversity and energy optimization. They're on the cutting edge in Spain, and a welcomed partner in creating employment opportunities for many of their citizens.

My score for this wine is 92 points, a reliable 'buy' recommendation and be sure to check out many of the other producers from that region making some fantastic wines you should have in your cellar. Until next time folks, remember life is short, sip long and prosper cheers!


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