Elios Priorat 2011

Reviewed by Neil Morris - 1 April 2012

elios-prioratStyle: Red

Variety: 50% Carinena, 25% Garnacha, 20% Cabernet, 5% Syrah

Alcohol by volume: 14.5%

Year: 2011

Producer: Costers del Priorat

Region: Priorat D.O.Ca (Catalonia)

The region

almansa DOThe Priorat region is one of only two Spanish regions to be classified in the D.O.Ca quality category (the other being Rioja). The potential of Priorat was noted by a group of wine makers (René Barbier, Carles Pastrana, Alvaro Palacios and José Lluis Perez) in the 1980's and since then, the region has been transformed. It is now recognised as one of the best wine-growing regions in the world, constantly delivering award-winning wines of the very highest quality.

This tiny region is nestled within the Monsant region and offers wines of unique character that are appreciated as being amongst the world's elite. The secret lies in the unique terroir of black slate and quartz soil known locally as llicorella that, along with minimal rainfall and the rugged mountainous environment, provides very concentrated wines with mineral characteristics.

The main grape variety in red wine here is the native Garnacha, which is commonly blended with Cariñena, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. The main white varieties are Garnacha Blanca, Macabeo, Pedro Ximénez and Chenin.

The wine

When considering the low-yield to high-quality ratio, this Elios 2011 represents a great showcase of Priorat character at a very reasonable price. It is a blend of Carinena, Garnacha, Cabernet and Syrah, which is a very typical blend of this region, although in this case it is the savoury Carinena that dominates rather than the Garnacha.

The wine smells fresh, pure and concentrated with clean mineral and floral tones. The flavours are well-balanced and evolve with each mouthful; giving intriguing hints of raisin, gooseberry and plum mixed with a nice amount of savoury spice and a touch of mint. Finally, there is a crisp mineral finish that leads into soft vanilla, chocolate and mocha.

Easy to drink yet concentrated and full of character, this is a great way to get your foot in the door of the Priorat wine club without spending the earth.

Rating: 8.5/10 (info on scoring system)

Elios Priorat - 2011

Price: £11.75 - www.vi-vino.co.uk

(only UK supplier)

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