2010 Bodegas Mas Alta "Black Slate La Viella Alta" Priorat
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
When’s the last time anyone found a Priorat rated over 90 points for under $25 a bottle? A project of acclaimed Rhone Valley winemakers Philippe Cambie and Michel Tardieu from one of Priorat’s nine villages, La Vilella Alta, the 2010 Black Slate was fashioned from 60% Garnacha, 35% Carignan and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, aged 12 months in French oak, and bottled unfined and unfiltered. Notes of graphite, blueberry liqueur, raspberries, crushed rocks and spring flowers jump from the glass of this inky/purple-colored wine. It possesses fabulous intensity, a multidimensional mouthfeel, supple tannins and a long finish. The natural alcohol pushes 16%, and there are 1,000 cases exported to the United States. It should keep for 5-10+ years. Priorat wines such as this normally sell for over $100 a bottle.
With the expertise of Rhone negociant and winemaker Michel Tardieu and esteemed French enologist Philippe Cambie, (whom Robert Parker flagged as "wine consultant of the year"), Bodegas Mas Alta crafts powerful, expressive wines from their dramatic vineyards in Vilella Alta, located in the foothills of the Serra del Montsant at the heart of the Priorat. The 2010 "Black Slate La Viella Alta" is 60% Grenache Noir, 35% Carignan and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon from younger vines in Mas Alta's sustainably farmed vineyards. Elevations range from 150-1050 ft above sea level between the hillside vineyards and the valley floor, which consist of dark flat licorella (slate) stone soils (hence the name "Black Slate") and clay soils respectively. Aged for 12 months in 60% new French oak (40% 1 year old), the 2010 is concentrated and pure, with intense blackberry and redcurrant aromas and flavors punctuated by notes of pepper and exotic spice. There is a tight core of minerals on the nicely fleshed palate, with grippy tannins on the finish. Vibrant acidity keeps the wine lively and fresh. Enjoy with grilled steak.