Two Bottles Terroir al Límit

We drink from Priorat from the winery Terroir al Límit a bottle of Terroir Historic 2021 and a bottle of Terra de Cuques 2021.

Another blank spot on my wine map is Priorat. In the Priorat in the northeast of Spain, more precisely in Catalonia, mainly red wines are grown. Wikipedia says that the area, along with Rioja, is the only one in Spain that is allowed to carry the highest origin level, DOCa. In my head, the Priorat is also somehow associated with red wines, but honestly that was it with my knowledge and for some reason not a single wine from there has made it into the glass until now. We’ll change that today. The winery Terroir al Límit was founded in 2001 by Dominik Huber and Eben Sadie, who has been focusing exclusively on his winery in South Africa again since 2012. Dominik Huber entered the wine business as a career changer, having actually studied economics and wanted to learn Spanish when he got stuck in the Priorat. In the meantime, Terroir al Límit has become a pretty well-known winery and wines are also produced under the name Terroir Sense Fronteres in the direct area neighborhood in Montsant. All vineyards are organically farmed and above all there is always the goal of reflecting the terroir as well and elegantly as possible. The Terroir Historic line has been around since 2015. There is a variant in red, which we have in the glass today, and a variant in white. The grapes for these wines come from all over the Priorat and three quarters of Garnacha and one quarter of Cariñena are used, which are also known in France under the names Grenache Noir and Carignan. The wine is fermented spontaneously and then aged for half a year in stainless steel. The Terra de Cuques also consists of these two varieties, but in a one-to-one ratio. The vines for the wine stand at about 400 meters altitude. The whole grapes are fermented spontaneously in cement and stainless steel tanks for up to 10 days and then aged in cement and stainless steel for eight months. The Terroir Historic is as an entry into the range something like the estate wine and also the Terra de Cuques is at the lower end of the spectrum of wines from the winery, which does have quite a bunch of other offerings above those.

The Terroir Historic has a pretty intense stinker right out of the bottle. Some proper amount of oxygen is needed here, then it settles down. Behind that comes a lot of cherry and a bit of spicy structure in the nose. And fruity it is also when drinking, the tannin from skins, seeds and stems is very fine and wraps around the fruit and spice. That already has some warmth, but there is zero fat. Towards the end of the evening it is joined by a note of rooibos tea in the nose.

The stinker from the beginning does not come back. This has become an incredibly smooth wine after a day in the opened bottle. The tannin strokes along your tongue, it is spicy, a bit earthy and still very fruity. Plus a bit of etheric and a small note of iodine. I wish it was a bit cooler when we drink the wine, as it scratches at 30 degrees Celsius in the living room, and somehow I’m more into long drinks with lots of ice than red wine at those temperatures. But that’s my own bad planning and actually this still works really well. What I find exciting is that the wine seems to get fresher over time in the glass.

The Terra de Cuques feels much cooler in direct comparison. There are a lot more herbs and plant aromas in the nose, it is finer, more elegant. It does have nice fruit aromas as well, but those stand rather behind the spice than in the foreground. If there is tannin, then it sneaks past me very quietly at the moment. That is so soft when drinking that you want to lie down in it like in a freshly made, velvety soft bed. Although here for some reason the soft, velvety bedding never lands on my side of the bed but always on the side of the better half. The wine doesn’t let you puzzle over that for too long though. It just drinks beautifully.

A day later there is more fruit. That reminds me of Cherry-Banana-Juice by now, yes, also with the banana in it. Even though it is so very comforting, it is clearly the more complex wine of the two bottles. There are so many more nuances, more aroma depth, the fruit is finer, more elegant, the spice more defined. And very similar to the Terroir Historic you have the feeling that the wine gets fresher and fresher in the glass. Both wines make me want to try more Priorat in the future.

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