2014 Terroir Al Limit Priorat Les Tosses

Year: 2014
Appellation: Priorat
Country: Spain
Wine Advocate: 98
James Suckling: 97
Wine Enthusiast: 96
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 13.5%


Price :

"Already bottled in June 2016, slightly earlier as it usually spends two years in foudre to avoid excessive fatigue because of too much oxygen in the wine, the 2014 Les Tosses is pure Cariñena from an old vineyard on slate soils at some 650 meters altitude. There is none of the rusticity I often link to the grape, this is extremely floral and perfumed, with plenty of violets, a little earthy too. The palate is extremely balanced, and I don't remember tannins as elegant as these in a Cariñena before. There is length, freshness and a very, very long finish. This might very well be the best vintage of Les Tosses so far. This wine feels very young and it's a bit shy, but giving it time it is just amazing. It should be much better with a little more time in bottle. If you decide to pull the cork soon, make sure you give it some time to breathe. There are 1,946 bottles produced. The vineyard is almost two hectares, and Dominik Huber only used part of it for this bottling, and the rest goes to Torroja. But, his idea is to increase the volume so he'll take longer to sell this vintage so he can keep the wine for one year longer in bottle before selling it. Smart thinking...

There are two new entry level wines from Terroir al Limit, one white and one red, both under the same name -- Terroir Históric -- and with surprisingly traditional-looking labels, which gives an idea of what they are aiming for. They are aged in cement for six months (perhaps as a kind of homage to Masía Barril? Yes, it's an homage to the old Priorat, the one before the Clos). They are then bottled unoaked in search of an easy-to-drink style of Priorat for trattorias, ramen, tapas... this new range is produced in the old cooperative of the village. The grapes come from the nine villages of the Priorat, what is locally known as the historic Priorat. All the grapes, even the purchased ones, are organically farmed.

Other than that, I tasted the 2013 and 2014 vintages of the full range, except for the white Terra de Cuques and the red Torroja, which are already 2014 and 2015. It's always great to be able to taste two vintages side by side. The 2013 vintage could very well be the finest they have ever produced, but Dominik is happier with 2014, as he keeps advancing in reducing the oak and increasing freshness, first and foremost through viticulture. Les Tosses was bought in 2003, Les Manyes was also purchased late, so it's their own viticulture, and it shows. He hasn't bought any new oak in two years and he has started with cement aging, even discarding the oak completely for the wines he calls "feminine," the new Históric and since 2015 even for the Manyes and Arbossar. The 2014 vintage is slightly warmer than 2013 and it was not an easy vintage -- there were problems with the fermentations. The 2015 vintage is much warmer, in line with 2009, but without reaching the levels attained in 2011. It was an easy vintage, when the grapes were very healthy." (WA)

"Slightly reductive yet powerful nose showing qualitative fruit and depth. Flowers and spice. Full body with a ultra-velvety texture and high level of soft tannins. Harmonious. The finish is long and smooth. One of the two top cuvée of the winery. Made from old vine cariñena. Only 1,008 bottles made. Drink or hold." (JS)

"Ethereal aromas of baking spices, cinnamon and berry fruits convey exoticism. This Carignan from 90-year-old vines is saturated and a bit rubbery on the palate. Infinite flavors of nutmeg, spiced plum and berry fruits exude Priorat schist, while everything comes back on a strong finish with measurable tannins. Drink from 2019–2030." (WE)

Winery Notes:
Les Tosses is a steep, 90 year-old vineyard of head-pruned Carinyena on llicorella soil that Dominik Huber discovered while riding his motorbike on the twisting and mountainous dirt roads around Torroja. While many growers in the Priorat preferred Garnatxa or were planting Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, Dominik saw the potential for pure, old-vine, Carinyena. Inspired by the Burgundian concept of terroir, the minuscule yields from Les Tosses are not blended with any other variety, or Carinyena from other sites. It is harvested by hand, with whole cluster native fermentations, infused rather than extracted, with only two weeks on the skins before pressing. It finishes fermentation and malo in a single 1200L Stockinger fuder where it rests undisturbed for 18–24 months.