From the steep slopes of the Priorat region of Spain comes the 2007 Onix Priorat Classic ($17). The primary grapes of Garnacha (Grenahce) and Carinena (Carignan) are grown on steep rocky terrraced slopes that make for very difficult hand harvesting. Next to the slope of the vineyards in Priorat, the soil is what really makes the wines of this region shine. The rich granite soils known locally as the licorella is comprised of slate and shale with thin bands of red clay, and provide for rich and mineral driven red wines. With the distinct terroir of the region, crop yields on the head pruned vines are naturally kept low helping to achieve the quality that the Priorat wines garner. One of the two regions in Spain to have DOC or DOCa status, the other being Rioja, Priorat has great opportunites for value and quality.
Unfortunately Onix doesn’t have a website that I could find so my info on the wine is limited, except for the fact that it is 50% Garnacha and 50% Carinena and was aged entirely in stainless steel.
Nose: boysenberry, leather, black tea, pomegranate, rosemary
Taste: blackberry, tea, black cherry, cinnamon
Mouthfeel: full bodied, smooth and round with intense leather tannins that creep up at the finish
Finish: Long and fruity
At under $20 this is a screaming value, with rich full bodied mouthfeel and intense back ended tannic structure. Definitely, more new world style with it’s intense dark fruit flavors but the notes of tea and dried herbs reflect the terroir of the Priorat region.
Without question, that is a great value. I picked up several bottles a few years back at a retailer in Fredericksburg and should have bought a case. Thanks for reminding me about this unassuming gem.
Poor Priorat, getting attention for all the wrong reasons. Take this wine for example, does not represent Spain at all, you said it yourself, more new world than anything. These classic muscular wine regions are perverting themselves to compete with Australia and Napa. Wines like Chateauneuf du Pape, Amarone, Gigondas, Priorat , Barolo have become overextracted, no structured, professional body builders on roids. For classic, rustic Spanish wine check out Bierzo. There is still some honesty there.
I had the same problem when I was looking for their website in doing my own blog post.
HI All thanks for the comments – nice post Rob!
Tugboat – while I agree that the some wineries in the “old world” producing areas are crossing the boundary into the “new world” I don’t think Priorat has ever produced wines that are distinctly rustic like that of Rioja or Ribera del Duero. I mean as early as the 90’s the wines coming out Priorat were close to 18% alcohol, blowing away the high octane Zins of California. IMHO with the climate, terroir and low yields of the Grenache vines in the Priorat region, they will inevitably produce big bold fruit driven wines. Either way, new or old world, good juice is coming out of the region!
Thanks again for the comment
I couldn’t agree with you more about this wine! It’s a great value that really showcases what Spain has to offer.
You can find a bit more information about the producer on their website at http://www.vinicoladelpriorat.com/. Ònix Clàssic is the brand name and the producer is Vinícola del Priorat.