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2009 H&G Priorat Red Blend 

Priorat, Spain

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Retail $14

Located southwest of Barcelona, Priorat is one of only two regions bearing Spain's top wine classification, DOCa or DOQ, designating "origin of highest quality." Vineyards are situtated on rocky slopes ranging from 325 to 2,300 feet above sea level, and the region's volcanic history means crushed rocks and other rugged characteristics comprise the soil along with decomposed slate, quartz and mica. Grapes for this terroir-driven wine were grown near the town of Gratallops, considered the best growing area in Priorat. It's a blend of 60 percent garnacha, 30 percent carinena and 10 percent syrah, and each varietal was fermented separately in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. The freshly pressed juice was left with the skins for 22 days to extract maximum flavor and color, then the wine was aged six months in 3-year-old French and American oak barrels before blending. The robust wine offers aromas of dark ripened fruit, cedar and spice, and flavors of black cherry, plum and vanilla with earth notes on the mineral-tinged finish. Decant 30 minutes before serving. Drink it with paella, pasta carbonara, grilled meats and sausages, wild game, roasted root vegetables and manchego cheese. Buy it at: Whole Foods Markets. — BRENDA MAITLAND


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