I Can’t Wait to Read: Long Way Home by Eva Dolan

Eva Dolan is the alter ego of an Essex-based copywriter and intermittently successful poker player. She blogs, she writes, she talks about herself in the third person and feels vaguely uncomfortable about it. Shortlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association Dagger for unpublished authors when she was just a teenager, Long Way Home is her debut novel and the start of a major new crime series.

OT: Clos del Mas 2011 (DOQ Priorat)

Spanish wine laws created the Denominación de Origen (DO) system in 1932 and were later revised in 1970. The system shares many similarities with the hierarchical Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) system of France, Portugal’s Denominação de Origem Controlada (DOC) and Italy’s Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) system. As of 2009, there were 79 Quality Wine areas across Spain. In addition there is Denominación de Origen Calificada (DOCa or DOQ in Catalan) status for DOs that have a consistent track record for quality. There are currently two DOCa/DOQ regions: Rioja and Priorat. (Source: Wikipedia)

20150116_195156 It is of interest to note that while Rioja is one of the oldest Spanish wine regions, Priorat is a relatively new one. Generally speaking Priorat produces high-end wines (the exclusive Clos Erasmus 2012 sells at € 975.00 and l’Ermita 2013 above € 1.055.00), for this reason I’m bringing today to your attention an excellent Priorat with a good value for money (my understanding is that it can be available below € 10.00).

  • Winery: Bodegas Pinord S. A. Doctor Pasteur, 6. Vilafranca del Penedès, Catalunya, España. The history of Bodegas Pinord can be traced back to the time when, over one hundred and fifty years ago, the Tetas family began making white and red wines on their estate in Sant Cugat Sesgarrigues from grapes they themselves had grown. Even at that time, they produced and aged the wines using the most traditional methods employed in the region. In 1942, Josep Maria Tetas set up the current winery in Vilafranca del Penedès, just four kilometres from the original estate. It is the name of this vineyard in actual fact which inspired the family to create the company’s name: “Pi del Nord” (Pine of the North) In the decade of the Nineties, Pinord embarked on a new phase of growth when the company decided to expand beyond its native Penedès and acquired a property in Priorat known as Mas Blanc.
  • Phone: +34 93 890 30 66
  • Winemaker: Carles Playà
  • Website: www.pinord.com/product/clos-del-mas/
  • Brand: Clos del Mas – Finca Mas Blanc 14.5 % Cosecha: 2011
  • DOQ: Priorat
  • Type: Red wine with more than a year of ageing in French and American oak barrels, this wine was bottled to continue to its ageing and fining process.
  • Grapes Variety: 50% Garnatxa (Grenache), 35% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Samsó (Cariñena or Carignan)
  • Vineyards: In the heart of D.O.Q. Priorat (wine appellation), between the villages of Bellmunt and Falset, Pinord makes its wines from the grapes grown on the 18 hectares (44 acres) of vineyard of their Mas Blanc property. Due to its special location, the Mas Blanc property has been caringly transformed by building various kilometres of vine terraces and by planting, cultivating and looking after the traditional grape varieties of Grenache and Carignan (Garnatxa and Carinyena or Samsó as they are known locally) as well as introducing new varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot.
  • Soil: The area is of volcanic origin which confers interesting characteristics to the soil. The basis (called llicorella in Catalán) comprises reddish and black slate with small particles of mica, which reflects the sunlight and conserves heat. The 50 cm thick topsoil is formed of decomposed slate and mica. These characteristics force the roots of the vines to reach the base for water, nutrition and minerals. These soil characteristics confer special quality to the wine and keep the vines firmly anchored to the earth during the strong winds and storms which are common to the area.
  • Bottle Size: 75.0 cl.
  • Price: Available at around € 10,00 (?)
  • My wine rating: 9.0/10

History: DOQ Priorat is located in the South of Catalonia, within the province of Tarragona. It is nestled in the dip of the mountains, at the foot of Sierra del Monsant and irrigated by the Siuranan River and its tributaries. The history of the production of the wines is this area dates back to the beginning of the twelfth century, when the Carthusian monks from the Provence took techniques and knowledge needed for the production of wines from these lands. King Alfonso I was in charge of finding a suitable place for the monks to settle in Catalonia, with the purpose of establishing a settlement on the lands that he had gained. He sent two men across the territory, when they reached the foot of the Sierra del Monsant they fell in love with its beauty. Additionally, there was a legend that said the highest point in the valley was a ladder where the angels could ascend into heaven. The men told the King about their discovery; he did not hesitate that it would be an ideal place for the monks so he told them. The Carthusian monks were happy with the proposal and decided to build a monastery there, Scala Dei, in honour of the ladder used by the angels to ascend into heaven and a temple dedicated to Santa María at the place where the tree of this legend is placed. Throughout the centuries, the monks were responsible for taking care of the vineyards and protect the towns in the area, who were growing them. The vines were gradually extended and the eventually came to occupy virtually every corner of those mountains, grown in little plots but the villagers. In the late nineteenth century, phylloxera arrived in Priorat, which caused most of the vines to disappear. It was a big blow and it meant that the fields were replanted with almond, hazelnut and olive trees as an alternative to vineyards. It was not until the 50s, and the twentieth century, when they returned and bet on replanting new vines and tried to remake the great vines that had once been grown in the area. On 23rd July 1954, Priorat gained the first regulation as a Denomination of Origin, a regulation which would later ratify the first year, 1959, and then May 1975. A few years later, in the early 80s they began to relaunch DO Priorat. It all began with René Barbier, until that moment he was unknown, a French vintner who could see the potential of the old Garnacha and Cariñena vines that were planted on the hillside in slate soil and diverse plots. In 1989, René Barbier convinced 4 friends (Carles Pastrana, Josep-Lluís Pérez, Daphne Glorian and Álvaro Palacios) that DO Priorat had potential and together they decided to produce a great wine harnessing the great potential that was offered in this denomination. The following year they decided to produce one each, and therefore this would lead to some great wines that today are known from this denomination like Clos Martinet, Clos Mogador, Clos Erasmus or the famous and coveted L’Ermita de Álvaro Palacios. Today Priorat is a denomination that is known internationally for its great personality and complexity of its wines.

Character: Grape, Soil and Climate: DOQ Priorat is divided into 12 areas of production. 12 villas with different nuances in their geography and climate. Bellmunt del Priorat, Scala Dei, Gratallops, El Lloar, La Morera de Montsant, Poboleda, Porrera, Torroja del Priorat, La Vilella Alta, La Vilella Baixa, Masos de Falset and Solanes del Molar. From these “Vi de Vila” (Village wines) was born. This wine was produced from grapes uniquely grown at the villa, creating a strong link between the grapes and the land on which it grows. Authenticity, identity and terroir. DOQ Priorat is located at the foot of Sierra de Montsant. The main feature is the orography if the large steep slopes called “costers”. It is pronounced in some places and requires terracing so that they can be cultivated. Some terraces are so narrow that it is difficult to carry out mechanical work, forcing all tasks to be completed, in the vineyard, by hand. The soils are another sign of the Denomination of Origin. Shallow, formed mainly by the disintegration of shale soils, in the area they are called “licorellas”, the roots slip between them to search for water and nutrients. This “Licorella” is what gives wines from Priorat those mineral notes, blackboard, so much character. DOQ Priorat is still relatively close to the Mediterranean Sea, the vines are isolate from the sea by the influence from Sierra de Montsant, which also offers protection from cold winds from the north. It has optimum conditions for grape ripening, marked by the high temperature differences between night and day. In the summer, the maximum daytime temperatures can reach 40 degrees, while at night they can drop to 12 degrees. The summers are long and dry and the cold winters bring frost and hail. The average temperature throughout the year is around 15 degrees and precipitation is between 400 to 600 liters per square meter. The main variety in DOQ Priorat is the Garnacha Tinta, however they also grow other varieties that are permitted in the denomination: Mazuelo, Garnacha Peluda, Tempranillo, Picapoll Tinto, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Syrah. Additionally, they have planted white varieties like Garnacha Blanca, Macabeo, Pedro Ximénez, Chenin, Moscatel de Alejandría, Moscatel de grano menudo, Blanquilla, Picapoll Blanco and Viognier. (Source: Decántalo)

Read more at www.doqpriorat.org/en

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