The Saucy Dressings’ chief taster had high hopes for the Les Crestes 2012 – the wine for June. It’s a Priorat, made from 80% Garnacha, 10% Cariñena, and 10% Syrah grapes, a third of which come from vines more than 50 years old and the wine has been awarded 94 Parker points. Unfortunately it was a little disappointing, but perhaps we should have left it for two or three more years.
Why the high hopes? “It’s a Priorat” he told me, “that region produces some terrific wines.”
When I bought the wine, I commented to Ralph Smith, the supplier, that Les Crestes had a very French-sounding name for a wine grown in Spain. He replied:
Yes, this is a Priorat based in Catalonia, south of Barcelona by 50km. It’s in an absolutely perfect location for growing vines. It’s slate soil helps reflect sun light onto the vines. A lot of expensive wines come from this area. Only two wine regions in Spain have achieved the highest level of Denominacion de Origen (DOC): Rioja and, it’s less well known, also Priorat. About 20-25 years ago a number of French growers moved to this region where they saw great opportunities – as there were some very old vines not being utilised as well as they could have been, this has created a region of Spanish wines with a French twist in them!
In the case of Mas Diox, the bodega which makes Les Crestes, I was lucky to get on their books. They were using a smart, Piccadilly-based wine importer for their wines, they’re old-school. But their wines weren’t being promoted enough. I was young and passionate about their wine and they agreed to meet me. This is a serious vineyard selling fine wine, some around the £100 price level.
Available from Ralph’s Wine Cellar at £26.99
Our favourite wine for the year is still the Trapezio ++.