AG Pick: 2007 Black Slate Porrera

Terroir is such an important part of wine.  The taste of a grape can vary dramatically because of where it is planted.  Much of the success of a particular vintage is determined in the vineyard; the climate, geography and geology of a vineyard can have an equal, if not greater effect on a wine’s final taste than the work of a winemaker alone.

Terroir is important in the Black Slate Porrera 2007 — in particular the soil, as you can tell from the name.  This Spanish red comes from Porrera, the easternmost village in Priorat, in Catalonia.  Black slate refers to the mineral-rich Llicorella (slate) soils where the vines grow.

The grapes used in the Black Slate are ideal for this unique soil.  The wine is a blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Carignan (Garnatxa and Cariñena in Catalan), from 60 to 100 year old vines.  Carignan is said to transfer the characteristics of the soil better than other red wine grapes.  The wine is aged for 12 months in two year old French oak barrels.

The Black Slate is magenta red in color, light enough that you can see through the glass.  Berry aromas introduce a palate that is rich in dark fruit flavors and spice.  Notes of baked cherries, plum, boysenberry and blueberry mingle with licorice and a hint of vanilla, with a pleasing touch of minerality from the slate soil.  The wine is upbeat, fresh and bright, with very soft tannins and a smooth finish.

The Black Slate is extremely well balanced and easy to drink alone or with food.  Pair it with lamb, moderately seasoned pork and chicken dishes or bean and lentil dishes.

A bottle of the 2007 Porrera Black Slate costs around $22.

14.5% alcohol by volume