Les Aubaguetes Price € 290
This is a marvellous vineyard in the village of Bellmunt, an old mining town on the southern border of Priorat. Aubaguetes (meaning, the shady vineyard, thanks to its cool northern exposure) faces across the Siurana valley to its sister over the way, Finca Dofi in Gratallops. It’s a 115 year-old patch planted to its own Garnacha genetics with 20% Samsó and some white grapes, all ‘grown en costers’. The vineyard is dominated by blue mineral schist loaded with zinc, aluminium and granite, and contains a streak of ferrous clay too. It’s a small vineyard of 1.34 hectares, much of which remains unplanted since Priorat’s abandonment post-Civil War. Augabuetes is very steep, and ranges between 220 and 290 metres in altitude.
Sensory features: Wild cherries and the wood of a cherry tree, massive balsamic complexity, with green fennel, violet, rose hip, blood orange and cold dark tea, briars and an old cob tobacco pipe ... freshened by white wine-like acidity over very austere slate and citric acid. Deep, serene, earthy yet bright, rounded, floral-vegetal-orange-rich. It has an outstanding tannin line, with acid weaving and spice in layers. You can feel the wash of the cool breezes enjoyed by Aubaguetes – it’s extraordinarily lively, perfumed, lifted and glorious.
Wine style: Full bodied and smooth
Grape varieties: 80% Garnacha & 20% Samsó (Cariñena)
Vineyards: Álvaro has long taken fruit from Aubaguetes. Every year his componentry tasting bench ended up with the same two wines set aside as the most glorious expressions of Priorat: L’Ermita, and Aubaguetes. Álvaro purchased Aubaguetes (from Salvador Torre, who was ready to retire at 93) in 2013, and after 2 years of viticultural renovations (raising the bush vines ‘en parra’, restoring old pruning methods, and re-asserting organic work with mules), Aubaguetes entered the market as a Vi de Finca wine from 2015. Previously, this precious material went into the old vines blend, ‘les Terrasses’. It’s 80% Garnacha, with Samsó and a bit of white.
Vinification: 100% destemmed and light pressed, a long maceration of 53 days and an élevage of 16 months in different oak containers. Malolactic spontaneous.
Best served: Red meat, duck breast and mature cheeses.
Alcohol content: 14.5%
Bottle size: 750ml