Cal Pla Crianza, Joan Sangenis, Priorat 2018
Cal Pla is a very smart and stylish barrel-aged Spanish red - bursting with flavour, but also with quite some sophistication, structure and class. It was a universal hit with our tasting panel when we added it to the list last year. Priorat and La Rioja are the only two regions in Spain that hold the status of DOCa (Denominación de Origen Calificada), the highest designation for a wine appellation in Spain.
On my first buying visit to Spain over 20 years ago, I was told by a leading MW who knew a great deal about Spanish wine that “Priorat is going to be Spain’s next big thing”. He was not wrong - this wild, rugged and picturesque enclave of Tarragona is now producing some of Spain’s very finest reds - the very top boutique wines can run to hundreds of pounds a bottle - this one is an absolute snip at £15.95.
The 2018 vintage (a great one for the region) has just landed and is as delicious as ever. Made from 40 year-old vines, and aged for 15 months in French oak barrels - this is very deep in colour, with intense dark fruits. Quite serious in style, and also rugged and spicy with generous ripe blackberry notes. An alluring perfume adds freshness whilst the palate has layer upon layer of flavour - a touch of sweet, spicy oak and a very moreish character. Big, rich and powerful, but very well balanced, and hugely drinkable.
And there’s no rush to drink - this will continue to develop for a few more years in the cellar if you wish. This is a cracker and you won’t be disappointed.
- Ben Godfrey, Buyer FromVineyardsDirect
What do the professionals say?
"The terroir in Priorat resembles the surface of the moon. Preparing new vineyards for planting requires much more than a plough – diggers and bulldozers to break through the rocky surface. A very expensive business but worth it when the result is wines of this quality. The standout wine so far - rich, intense, serious. Yes."
Esme Johnstone, Co-Founder of FromVineyardsDirect
"Esme described the Cal Pla as “the standout wine (of the tasting) so far – rich, intense, serious. Yes” and I agree completely.” We stick to the FromVineyardsDirect rule for over 10 years that both of us must like the wine and will buy it for ourselves. If we don’t and won’t, we don’t buy it."
David Campbell, Founder of FromVineyardsDirect
“From Priorat, a gloriously satisfying Grenache/ Carignan/Cabernet Sauvignon blend. It’s big and bold for sure and, at 15% vol, punchy too but, with mouth-filling fruit, it slips down alarmingly easily."
Jonathan Ray, The Spectator