Prior Terra "On the QT" Bin 21: Open Barrel Fermented Garnatxa Negra & Bin 22: Barrel Aged Garnatxa Blanca,
Made by Judit Llop Gasull in Priorat, Spain
"It looked like Eden," said Xenia, as she stood in Judit Llop Gasull's compact, remote - and very experimental - vineyard in the hills west of Barcelona. "There were wildflowers, orchids and butterflies... it felt alive and vibrant." It's here the red and white Garnatxa (also known as Garnacha or Grenache) grapes thrive.
Judit's pioneering idea to use probiotics in the organic fertiliser on this tiny patch of Catalonia was inspired by her own recovery from an auto-immune condition which left her exhausted - much like the soil in many non-organic vineyards. Her idea flourished, as did the mini ecosystem around the plants. Other winemakers around the world are discovering similar probiotic techniques to restore the nutrients in the earth and produce healthier vines - and amazing, exciting wines.
Only a small amount of the red Garnatxa Negra was hand-harvested, crushed and fermented in three open barrels, which is a very natural, traditional way to produce wine. It was then left to mature for 12 months in the same three barrels before being lightly fined and bottled. The result is a unique, full-bodied wine with ripe black-fruit flavour and wonderful intensity. It’s also a wine made all the more special because it's so rare and Xenia was delighted to come across it after a mutual acquaintance introduced her to Judit.
In the same tiny winery, Xenia also tasted the Garnatxa Blanca. The region's intensely hot summers mean this variety is rarely used to make wine in Priorat, so Judit decided to experiment by partly fermenting the grapes in oak-aged barrels and partly in stainless steel barrels. She then handed the blending to (a very excited!) Xenia who came up with a 50/50 mix of the two. The result is a wine with the freshness of green apple, tropical citrus and a creamy, toasty complexity.