Priorat is rightly regarded as one of the best regions for producing world-class red wines in Spain, but few people have had the chance to try one of their rare whites. This miniscule region is characterized by mountainous, terraced vineyards with distinctive black slate and quartz soils called llicorella. Though it's notoriously difficult to farm, requiring intensive manual labour, the combination of soil, climate, and elevation unique to Priorat provides conditions that are ideal for wines. The region's name hints at the important role that the Carthusian monks who settled in the area played in the development of grape cultivation.
Since the region's fame is based on their red wines, it's no surprise that their whites are produced in such small quantities and are largely unknown outside of Spain. Made from Garnacha Blanca, Ritme Cellers’ white Priorat is partially barrel-fermented before being aged on lees for 11 months. This adds weight and texture to the finished wine, while also contributing to the wine's ability to age. Fans of oak-aged Chardonnay or white wines from the Rhône Valley will find a lot to love in this complex, full-bodied white that should be served at a cool 14 ºC and enjoyed over the next 3-5 years.
You'll want to allow this complex white to warm up a bit from typical fridge temperatures, which will help showcase all the nuanced aromatics. Notes of peaches, orange zest, and apple skin mingle with a distinct wet-slate minerality, along with toasted almonds, vanilla bean and fresh cream.
Well-integrated oak frames the palate of this fuller-bodied white, and there's just the right amount of zesty acidity to keep it balanced and lively. Asian pear, peaches, and tangerine are complemented by a hint of spice and a faint floral note. The finish is long and pure, with a distinctive nuttiness and an echo of fresh nectarine.
Robust enough to stand up to fuller-flavoured dishes, this is a perfect match for herb-crusted rack of lamb or roasted duck with a pear and apple compote.