Costers del Priorat 2019 'Blanc de Pissarres', Priorat, Spain
Blanc de Pissarres is derived from the word “pizarra” which is “slate” in Spanish. Made in small quantities, this white wine is sourced from selected parcels in the vineyards of Sant Martí and Mas Alsera. It is a blend of three local varieties: Garnacha Blanca, Macabeo, and Pedro Ximénez.
Winemaker: Jose Mas Barberà
Farming: Organic. Animal traction is used to work the soil on the steep terraces and chemicals are never used, only natural organic and biodynamic treatments are utilized, the winery is practicing organic.
Varieties: 55% Garnacha Blanca, 38% Macabeo, and 7% Pedro Ximénez
Terroir: Llicorella (black, decomposed slate) in Priorat zones Sant Martí and Mas Caldera at 300m to 375m elevation. Vines planted in 1950 and 1975
Vinification: Grapes are de-stemmed and crushed with 10 days of skin contact before fermentation in stainless steel tanks.
Aging: Finished in 1,000L foudres.
By utilizing only yeast from the vineyards for spontaneous fermentation and placing the wines in a multitude of vessels (amphora, cement, demi-muids and large foudres) that allow air exchange, Jose achieves power through elegance. This philosophy is the oppo- site of “one size fits all” winemaking.
October 2020 Wine Club Notes:
Located slightly inland and up in the winding hillside villages of Tarragona, Priorat is a wine-growing region seemingly cutoff from its bustling seaside neighbors less than 35 miles away. But up in the Montsant mountains, where the winding slopes (‘costers’) shelter the vines from cold ocean winds and the sun glows warmly, you can see the big blue in the distance and can’t help but feel like the next stop is the beach! It’s beauty cannot be overstated.
The reds of Priorat are most famous, and often display power and concentration, but the whites are rare, salty and gulpable, made for the troves of crab and cockles that come in from the Mediterranean Sea. Costers del Priorat has been producing wine here since the late 1930s and is a benchmark in every way for their farming and vinification practices. Their vineyards are planted on the steep slate-rich hillsides that crumble beneath your feet as you trudge up to catch the view from the top. If you ever find yourself in the area, definitely go out of your way to stop by.
The ‘Blanc de Pissares’ is an extremely limited production wine, blended from Garnacha Blanca (55%), Macabeo (38%), and Pedro Ximénez (7%), all grapes native to Catalonia. The grapes are harvested, destemmed and then macerated for three days. Then the must is pressed gently with the remaining stems, and fermentation begins spontaneously, partly in stainless steel tanks, partly in French oak barrels of 225-litres capacity. This helps to create a medium-bodied wine that zips with lime zest, mandarin orange, hints of lychee and intense wet river rocks. The acidity and ripe fruit transport you to sunshine in the mind’s eye, so pair it with some lemony and herb-covered seafood!