2006 Vall Llach Idus Priorat

Vall Llach Idus Priorat It's a recurring theme, the most disturbing of all story lines. There are several reasons for the international collapse of the high-end wine market. The first features hundreds of new wineries, pouring zillions into cellars and land-rippers in a cynical effort to cash in on an overheated market. For these players, we have little sympathy. But what about the truly brilliant small estates, producing wines from amazing, singular vineyards at gargantuan cost, wineries that now find themselves being pulled down by the undertow?

A viticultural tragedy is being played out on many of the world's greatest wine trails, but nowhere is this drama more calamitous than Spain's Priorato: the land of ancient terraced vineyards, tiny yields and schist soil.

For the very best of these estates, even those putting out 92-point masterpieces like this 2006 Idus, the market has been turned on its ear by the crisis and the newcomers. And there's no end in site.

The 2006 Idus was one of the highest-rated Spanish wines of the year by Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, an old-vine blend punctuated by 100-year-old Carignan. It costs a small fortune to make Idus. Yields are too small, hand labor too expensive. At $70/bottle, Vall Llach can produce Idus, even make a little money. At $40, they cannot. Something has to give.

The low-yielding ancient vines of Vall Llach
The low-yielding ancient
vines of Vall Llach
So while we're happy to provide our members with the greatest and rarest Spanish wine buying opportunity of the fabulously rich and structured 2006 vintage in Priorat, we do so with a caveat. When you taste this phenomenally rich, schist-infused, deep purple masterwork, imagine those ancient terraced vines, yielding just a few small clusters per plant. Think of guys with shovels and pruning sheers, tending each plant like your most meticulous neighbor's garden. Imagine the tiny production, the exorbitant cost. Then, consider: what's going to happen to Spain's greatest wines, and the brilliance that is Priorato?

Tasting Notes
"The purple-colored 2006 Idus is made up of 40% Carinena, 20% Merlot, 15% Garnacha, and the balance Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah aged in a mix of new and used French oak for 14 months. It reveals a fragrant nose of cedar, spice box (nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon), mineral, black cherry, and licorice. Structured and a bit tightly wound on the palate, it has plenty of extract, savory flavors, excellent balance, and a lengthy finish. Give it 4-6 years in the cellar and drink it from 2014 to 2026."
92 points--Robert Parker's Wine Advocate