2013 Terroir al Limit "Terra de Cuques" Priorat
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The third edition of this white, 2013 Terra de Cuques, comes from a late vintage when the grapes had the chance to ripen slowly and perfectly in a very long harvest (from the end of August until the second half of November!). It is a blend of Pedro Ximénez and Moscatel from chalk and slate soils respectively. This wine has definitively grown up in this vintage and feels more serious and mineral than previous editions. As most, if not all wines here, it fermented with full-clusters and indigenous yeasts and the wine matured in tank for 18 months before bottling. Putting my nose in the glass made me think of a serious Sancerre, with a super mineral side and also something herbal and balsamic, with some bay leaf and hints of mistletoe; Dominik tells me some people mention basil leaves too. You do not feel the varieties at all. The Pedro Ximenez was brought to the region by Andalusian workers in the lead mines and they planted it in chalky soils that were really like the albariza soils from Jerez. He's using less and less Moscatel (no more than 10% of Muscat from Porrera on slate soils by the river, but harvested very early). The palate is really straight and with high minerality, vertical with great acidity.
Based in the village of Torroja, Terroir al Limit represents the vanguard in a newly energized Priorat. Proprietor Dominik Huber produces bright, expressive, mineral drenched wines that are powerful and representative of Priorat, yet somehow altogether something different due to their acidity and relatively lighter, more tense style. These are wines made from grapes picked on the earlier side, that are fermented with whole clusters and then allowed to age in anything other than a stainless steel tank or new wooden vessel.