90 points - best buy
One of the best buys from Spain we've discovered. Limited.
Black Slate Escaladei, a blend of Garnatxa, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Carinyena sourced from the foothills of the Montsant mountains. It stands out among its Black Slate siblings as the most elegant of the lineup being inclined more towards red fruit than black, with a high-toned minerality and spiciness. It is selected from fruit aged in foudre and French oak demi-muids.
The inspiration for the Black Slate Project is a Burgundian concept of village nomenclature, applied to the Priorat. One region, nine historic villages, each with its distinct character, but all unmistakably Priorat. Sun-scorched vines cling to breathtakingly steep hillsides with their roots deeply plunged in the llicorella soils of this pristine, ancient region.
Bodegas Mas Alta is a joint project with renowned Rhone negociant and winemaker, Michel Tardieu, and noted French enologist, Philippe Cambie. It is located in the middle of D.O.C. Priorat, based in the village of Vilella Alta. The estate vineyards are high density plantings at approximately 1050 feet above sea level, in front of Serra del Montsant, a mountain range that reaches 3300 feet. Very steep and abrupt, the altitude, inclination, and slopes make a decisive influence on grape's maturity. The vineyards of La Viella Alta are situated on steep slopes of slates alongside of what once was the river of Escaladei. The heat of south-facing vineyards combing with the cooler north-facing parcels to create a well-balanced wine with ripe fruit and softness.
A fantastic red from Bedrock winemaker Morgan-Twain Peterson, one of the hottest young winemakers in California.
90 Points Robert Parker "Best Buy": "A Mediterranean blend of Zinfandel, Carignan, Alicante Bouchet, Syrah and assorted mixed blacks fermented with native yeasts and aged in primarily neutral containers (15% in new French oak), it is a California version of a high-class Cotes du Rhone. Lots of berry fruit intermixed with lavender, pepper and meaty black cherry and black currant flavors emerge from this satisfying, round, expansive, generous red. An outstanding, killer value that should provide pleasure over the next 1-2 years. If there is a better value in California wine, I would like to know about it."
....Morgan Twain-Peterson is one of the most impressive young winemakers I have ever met, and it’s not just because he grew up the son of a famous producer. Making wines at this level requires talent, passion, hard work and a great palate, none of which is easily inherited. Along with Mike Officer of Carlisle, Twain-Peterson is on a mission to rediscover what he calls California’s old-vine “heritage” vineyards. These historic sites planted by California’s early immigrants, often home to unknown field blends, remain some of the most fascinating vineyards in California. Officer and Twain-Peterson were tired of seeing these old sites gobbled up by industrial-scale wineries, so they decided to do something about it. Bravo."
New York Times: "This red blend is a perpetually excellent value from Bedrock Wine Company which makes a wide variety of terrific, unmanipulated wines from old California vineyards. The array of groups includes zinfandel, carignan, syrah and petite sirah, and vintages are mixed as well, a welcome tactic. The result is an easygoing, lively wine that is delicious and versatile. Too often, inexpensive California reds are inflated with oak flavorings and other enhancements intended to imitate the characteristics of more expensive wines. Not this one, and it makes you think about how good these humble wines could be if other producers would permit them the dignity of authenticity."
An amazing value from the South of France - hurry!
95 Points Decanter: "60% Syrah, 40% Grenache. Lovely rich opulent and floral, black berry and plum nose, the palate is big with well layered fruit, attractively firm but soft tannin and hints of oak, a big wine with a lovely finish. *Gold Medal Winner Decanter Asia Wine Awards.*
Robert Parker: "A blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache, the Cotes du Rhone Saint-Esprit is a screaming value. If offers bold black cherry and blueberry fruit aromas, lively fruit flavors, silky tannins and a crisp, lengthy mocha-tinged finish. Drink this fun, bouncy little wine over the next couple of years."