Imagine a winemaker born in Napa... but who decided to flee for the wild, untamed vines of the Sierra Foothills; you'd call him a lunatic (or much worse, if you had an interest in his financial outcomes)! That's precisely what we have here with Joan Franquet, a Priorat-born winemaker who was bored with the idea of making big, dumb, blowsy, high-alcohol wines for a guy named Robert Parker and his friends?
Instead? He descended from the mountains of Priorat and headed for the wild, untamed, and ancient winemaking district of Conca de Barberà, closer to Tarragona and the coast, where a madman's project began: ancient, gnarled vines (over 100 years of age in some cases). Meticulous, chemical-free, biodynamic farming. Fermenting the wine on skins in ceramic amphorae, and then bottling in ceramic bottles ("they are conceived in clay, so they must gestate in clay, too"). Adding zero sulfur, not even at bottling, to preserve every last bit of the wine's vibrancy: this is a project of pure love and folly.
With notes of orange zest, apricot tea, white flowers, honeysuckle and some savory umami notes that appear the longer the wine is open. With eight weeks of skin contact, this is a rich amber wine with body and grip; as delicious as this is all by itself, this is a wonder to pair with at the dinner table (This wine loves oxygen, too, having been made in porous ceramic amphorae, so give it some decanting love!)
A hard-to-find, naturally made wonder brought back from the wildest parts of Catalonia; not much is made, and even less is imported: get it while we've got it!