2018 Bon Mas Priorat
In the rugged landscape in the northeast corner of Spain lies the tiny village of Priorat. The Priorat, or Priorato to the Catalans, is one of the oldest vine growing areas in the Mediterranean. Here viticulture dates back almost two millennia, with the ancient varieties of Garnacha, Mazuelo and Syrah playing their harmonious symphony much like they do in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, France, to make powerful and utterly delicious wine.
Yet for all its history, this region remains relatively unknown. But for those willing to explore, much wine-drinking drama can be had.
Priorat was “rediscovered” in the early 1990s by a group of pioneering vintners, known as the Vinya del Vuit, or “The 8” – all youngsters who recognized the greatness that these parched hills held, and started making wine. Now all of those vintners are famous and in their wake followed an entire generation of other vintners, a few of whom chose a lower-key, in-the-background, let-the-wine-speak-for-itself tradition. One of those producers is Bon Mas, a joint partnership of six families from the province of Poboleda, in Priorat.
In 2002, these families decided that instead of continuing to farm their very old vineyards and sell off the fruit to famous producers, they would set up their own shop and make wine. To do so, they dismantled one of their homes (yes, literally!) and rebuilt their living space around a small, modern cellar. And Bon Mas was born – Bon meaning good, Mas meaning the country family home – Bon Mas.
The vineyard is all of 2.5 hectares on a steep slope with the vines being 60 to 90 years old and mostly Garnacha and Carinyena. They grow in entirely licorella soils, a type of dark slate. When you see the site (pictures don’t do it justice) you will understand how extremely rugged this place is. I’ll try and describe it – imagine walking up a set of stairs. Now double the rate of incline. Now change the stairs from wood to charcoal chunks. Now think of 90-year-old vines growing in the charcoal. Strap on a massive grape bucket to your back, and start climbing while picking fruit!
Why would anyone farm in these extreme conditions? Because the results are extraordinary:
Here is a delicious Priorat—a big, gutsy, powerful Spanish wine that is sure to please any Cabernet lover, or anyone who relishes bold red wine. If you haven’t tried Priorat before, here is your chance – because this example is simply stunning.
The nose opens with loads of blueberry, black raspberry and black cherry fruit, crushed rock, and floral notes that are so obvious in many Priorats. You will detect that the palate was dense and full-structured when the wine was young, but now it has blossomed into a glorious middle age, where all the ripe fruit is utterly delicious. The palate doesn’t lack for structure or weight either—every Cabernet lover will be thrilled with how massive this wine is. Given that the wine is 10 years old, it’s ready to drink now … but it will certainly also last in your cellar.
Best of all, we got it at one heck of a price. If you love bold red wine, don’t hesitate for a moment.