Back in July, I wrote a quick review of Camins del Priorat, a bold and powerful wine from the Priorat region of Spain, just outside Barcelona. What I loved about it was its beastly combination of black cherry and flint, and how it mellowed into near perfection after an hour of oxygen. At $23, it was also an excellent introduction to the region’s often sky-high-expensive wines.
But within a day of posting the article, a reader named Miquel commented, essentially, “if you like Camins del Priorat, Nita is even better.”
And so, I found a bottle of Nita on wine.com and just got around to opening it this past weekend. Knowing a little bit about what I was dealing with, I felt it was best to uncork it with beef since Priorat can be so bold and oaky. But as I found out, this smooth and supple beauty — which is not aged in oak barrels at all, a rarity for the region — could complement anything from a carbonara to lamb sliders to pork tenderloin with a dark fruit compote. It’s highly versatile, in large part because of its youth, vibrancy, and lack of furry tannins.
The world needs more red wines that pack a punch, yet do it without oak. That’s a pretty clever trick.
As good as this wine is, it was made more special to me because it came from a reader recommendation. Keep them coming: I’ll probably buy what you recommend and profile it someday.
2011 Nita Priorat by Meritxell Pallejà
Priorat DOQ, Spain
Grapes: Grenache 45% / Carignan 35% / Cabernet Sauvignon 15% / Syrah 5%
Rating: ★★★★ 1/2 (out of five)
Profile: ★★★★ 1/2
Food Friendliness: ★★★★★
Value: ★★★ 1/2
Tasting notes: Nita Priorat opens up with elegant aromas of blackberry, dark cocoa, violets and walnut, and follows through with a similar profile on the palate. The texture of the wine is wonderfully silky, and the absence of oak makes it feel fresh and vibrant in a way that is original. A wonderful wine.
Recommended for: Lamb burgers, Mongolian barbecue, robust pastas.
- Nita by Meritxell Pallejà – Folio Wines profile of the wine
- Weight and Power of Priorat Wines Balanced by Elegance – Bill St. John, Chicago Tribune
Always happy to offer up suggestions and even happier when they turn out to be good. The Vi de Vila from Cims de Porrera has turned out really well this year also. Touch more expensive (maybe $5) than Nita, but a damned fine wine.
If you want something a bit different, take a look at Venus la Universal Dido Negre or anything from Orto Vins in neighboring DO Montsant. Joan d’Anguera has really kicked up a storm as well. All good stuff.
Thanks Miquel. Looks like Venus la Universal isn’t imported in the U.S. yet (or maybe I’m just not finding it), and what I found of the Cims de Porrera are older vintages, like a 1999 on K&L Wine Merchants. The 2011 Joan d’Anguera Planella is on wine.com however. I’ll add it to my basket next time I need to stock up. Either that, or just come to Catalunya someday!
Do you find Oregon wines in Spain? Let me know: I can pass along a few Pinot Noir and Riesling suggestions if you are interested, having just visited there. Wonderful, wonderful wines.
Yeah, Venus is pretty small production come to think of it. And sadly a lot of my favorites from DO Montsant don’t make it to the US so people only have a perception that it’s big, bulky stuff that’s produced there which is far from true.
We don’t really see any Oregon wines here and nearly nothing from California as well. This is pretty much true across the wine producing regions of Southern Europe where they feature more of the local bottles than anything imported. It’s only once you start going more north, especially in Scandinavia that you see more New World wines and a few Willamette and Walla Walla options arrive.
Interesting. I’ve added the Joan d’Anguera Planella to my wishlist on a wine website, and I’ll be sure to check it out. Thanks again for your recommendations.