Mission Codename Señoras y Señores
While the top cult reds of next-door neighbor Priorat fetch $100s per bottle, the lesser-known Terra Alta with comparable varietals, altitude, and terroir, amazes us with the tremendous quality-price ratio (that’d be QPR for acronym fans) through this ‘Portal’ to great value. The deliciousness factor here is through the roof, Operatives, and with accolades to back, this The Wine Spies exclusive 2015 Spanish secret is irresistible.
An attractive and radiant ruby, with slivers of garnet and purple churning in the glass, greet the eye. Gorgeous raspberry ganache and spice aromas give way to richly layered dark berries on the redolent nose. Silky smooth notes of blackberry, boysenberry, date, fig, mocha, licorice, and minerals join the party on the palate. Long and plush on the seamless finish, with a pure beam of fruit that resonates wonderful finesse and purity. What else to pair with this exotic Mediterranean beauty but a traditional paella rich in saffron, smoky paprika, sausage, and seafood.
Vineyards and wines have thrived in this region for nearly 2,000 years dating back to Ancient Rome. You can smell and feel the history, and taste the deep root flavors of old vine Garnacha and Cariñena in this wholesome red. While the quality here is easily worth the original suggested retail price, with a 40% discount bringing it to $25 and change, it’s a no brainer.
Here’s what the wine press has to say:
92 points – Robert Parker - “A blend of 50% Grenache, 20% Carignan and the rest equal parts Merlot, Syrah and Tempranillo, the Portal Tinto was aged one year in primarily French barrels, although American oak was also used. This is a terrific example of how much wine one can buy for so little. This deep ruby / purple wine offers notes of black truffles and blackberry. Extravagantly rich with terrific fruit intensity, dense color, and loads of spice box and blackcurrant and black cherry fruit, this is a beauty to drink over the next 5-6 years.”
91 points – Josh Reynolds, Vinous - “Bright ruby. Powerful black/blue fruit, licorice and woodsmoke aromas, along with cola and dark chocolate notes that gain power as the wine opens up. Brawny, fleshy and appealingly sweet, offering ripe boysenberry and cherry liqueur flavors that firm up slowly on the back half. Rich yet surprisingly vibrant in character, with chewy tannins adding grip to a long, smoke-tinged finish.”
What the Winery Says
2015 Nuestra Señora del Portal Terra Alta DO
- Juanjo Piñol
- 50% Garnacha, 20% Carignan, 10% Merlot, 10% Syrah, 10% Tempranillo
- Terra Alta DO, Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain
- Vineyard age
- 30-45 years
- Calcareous clay, chalky and poor in organic matter
- 1,168 ft
- 4 days in stainless steel
- 22-28 days
- 12 months in 300-liter French and American oak barrels