2015 Black Slate "La Vilella Alta" Priorat

SKU #1390170 94 points Jeb Dunnuck

 Part of the Black Slate label that focused on the different villages of Priorat, the 2015 Black Slate La Vilella Alta is a blend of 39% Cariñena, 23% Garnacha, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Syrah and Merlot that spent 14 months in 30% new French oak, with a good portion of the blend brought up all in concrete. Incredible notes of blackcurrants, wood smoke, iris flowers, chocolate, and obvious minerality all emerge from this full-bodied, beautifully pure, elegant red that knocks it out of the park on the value front. You just don’t find this level of quality at this price point anywhere in the wine world today. There’s roughly 2,400 cases and readers should not miss this sensational wine.  (2/2018)

90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The custom cuvée 2015 Black Slate la Vilella Alta is a generous blend of 50% Garnacha, 30% Cariñena and 10% each Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah from purchased grapes and their own grapes on slate soils. It fermented in concrete vats after careful sorting to avoid grapes that would show the excess of the vintage in heat and drought, and then it matured in oak barrels for 16 months. This is quite modern, spicy with notes of cinnamon and vanilla, quite showy, developing balsamic aromas of cigar ash. There are some dusty tannins and plenty of spicy and smoky flavors. 15.5% alcohol. 21,170 bottles produced. It was bottled in July 2017. (LG)  (4/2018)

K&L Notes

The inspiration for the Black Slate Project is a Burgundian concept of village nomenclature, applied to the Priorat. One region, nine historic villages, each with its distinct character, but all unmistakably Priorat. Sun-scorched vines cling to breathtakingly steep hillsides with their roots deeply plunged in the llicorella soils of this pristine, ancient region. Bodegas Mas Alta is a joint project with renowned Rhone negociant and winemaker, Michel Tardieu, and noted French enologist, Philippe Cambie. It is located in the middle of D.O.C. Priorat, based in the village of Vilella Alta. The estate vineyards are high density plantings at approximately 1050 feet above sea level, in front of Serra del Montsant, a mountain range thatreaches 3300 feet. Very steep and abrupt, the altitude, inclination, and slopes make a decisive influence on grape's maturity. The vineyards of La Viella Alta are situated on steep slopes of slates alongside of what once was the river of Escaladei. The heat of south-facing vineyards combing with the cooler north-facing parcels to create a well-balanced wine with ripe fruit and softness.


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Price: $16.99
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By: Kirk Walker | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/1/2019 | Send Email
This is a crazy good deal. With a rich broad nose that opens with spice and earth and a mixed red fruits that build and builds as with wine opens. This is a hearty rich wine with layers of currant and cherries, peppered with spice all overlaying a fine mineral element. It is complex and nuanced. Best of all it is a unique expression of a single village Priorat that is affordable. We have emailed other Black Slates, this is a different village and a different animal. The Vi de la Vila project lets us really explore one of the most exciting wine regions in the world on a budget. It lets me think about the region like a combination of Southern Rhone with village Burgundy but on sites that are exponentially more dramatic; it is a unique blend of varietals grown in neighboring sites with unique soil compositions, and exposures. This line of wines a different, educational but most importantly delicious.

By: Scott Beckerley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/19/2019 | Send Email
This delicious little gem was quite a surprise with dinner last night. Rich and spicy, with a lush nose of black plums, currants and licorice. Plush mouthfeel with deep, dark, red and black fruits (black currant and black raspberry). Nice tarty finish with a hint of cranberry fruit. I don't usually like to carry on about prices but, this one really is a bargain!

By: Stefanie Juelsgaard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 12/4/2018 | Send Email
I have been impressed by all of the Black Slate offerings so far, but this might be my favorite yet. This wine definitely exhibits the classic, dark fruit, but features a medium weight body and a ton of acidity that keeps it fresh and juicy instead of heavy and brooding. This is a really great tasting wine and with the complexity it features I expect the price point to be a lot higher. Fantastic find from Priorat.
Top Value!

By: Joe Manekin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 12/4/2018 | Send Email
If the name "black slate," which refers to the predominant soil type of the Priorat, sounds familiar, it is probably due to our having emailed about a few other tasty, but very different bottlings from this producer. As delicious as the other two, single village bottlings of Black Slate were, we have one more for you this year, and the La Vilella Alta bottling just might be the most open knit, expressive, juicy and delicious Priorat we have featured all year. Loaded with blackberry fruit and subtly floral characteristics, balanced by a fresh line of acidity, this if terrific Priorat, and a real treat to have such a wonderful intro to the wines of this region for under $17.

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Additional Information:

Varietal:

Other Red Wines

Country:

Spain

- With more land under vine than any other country in the world, Spain is the great sleeping wine giant. In recent years, a great deal of money and passion has been poured in the burgeoning Spanish wine industry, helping to improve quality among its vast array of wines from sparkling Cava to Sherry to Rioja Gran Reserva. The most important red-wine-producing regions are Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Navarra in the north and Priorat and Penedes in the northeast.
Sub-Region:

Priorato

Alcohol Content (%): 15.5