Merum Priorati is one of the most important wine estates in Priorat, founded in 2004 by two Catalan families, and located in the east of the appellation around the pretty village of Porrera. The 3 vineyard plots (Les Foreses, Plana Marjot and Les Escomelles) cover a total of 103 hectares, but just 29ha are given over to vines, as this is one of the wildest, most rugged terrains, where few vines thrive and those that do produce less than 1 kg of grapes per vine (and as low as 250g per vine for the older Garnacha and CariÃ±ena plants). Vineyards here are not measured in hectares, but by numbers of vines planted, due to extreme terracing and contours on these stunning mountainsides. There isn't what you'd call soil more just a carpet of broken black slate called Licorella.
5 grape varieties still manage to thrive here on the estate: Garnacha, Carinena, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Winemaker Roger Oferill's impeccably made but not over polished wines are truly hand-made: fermentation is in small, open top vats with long cuvasion and the wines are intense and seriously complex against a backdrop of bright and vibrant modern fruit.
Grapes are harvested from a combination of premium vineyard sites, of both old and new vines, planted in terraces at 100-700m above sea level.
The fruit (Garnacha, Carinena, Cabernet Sauvignon, along with 10% Merlot and 5% Syrah) is fermented in 1.5t open top fermenters and hand plunged daily. Each parcel is matured separately for 12 months in used 225L French oak barrels.
A rich and intense aroma of black cherry, liquorice and toasty oak. Ripe plum, rosemary and vanilla characteristics on the poised palate with smooth yet powerful tannins. Notes of leather and spice on the finish.
Great matched with slow-cooked shoulder of lamb, or rabbit braised with olive and herbs.