1998 Cellers Fuentes "Gran Clos" Priorat
For a prime example of how a well made, impeccably balanced Priorat ages, look no further than this wine. Do not confuse this with the good, but less interesting 2000 vintage of this same wine (available elsewhere for $48 and up). A beautiful nose of wild strawberry confit leads to intense, ripe, sun-drenched red fruit, that manages to be generously openly knit, remarkably fresh, and possessing of a beguiling mineral quality. Great attack on the palate, but with a persistence and balance that complement the fruit intensity. Composed of 70% Garnacha, 20% Cariñena and 10% Cabernet, I would confidently put this up against any 1998 Châteauneuf-du-Pape and expect it to compare very favorably. I don't know what else to say, other than the fact that, yes, now I am a believer; good Priorat ages very nicely. I would highly recommend this wine to anyone looking for a beautiful, affordable, mature Spanish gem to drink now. Below is a review from Robert Parker himself, before he began to hire other writers to cover more winegrowing regions. Keep in mind that the wine was reviewed in August 2001, so that it has evolved into something different (and in my opinion, much better) than when this was first reviewed. 90 points from Robert Parker: "This internationally-styled effort from Priorato is a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Carignan, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. It displays aggressive levels of toasty new oak as well as concentrated black currant and kirsch liqueur characteristics."