Terroir Al Limit - Priorat Les Manyes 2017


n 2000, Eben Sadie and Dominik Huber first met at Mas Martinet. Eben was a promising and highly-regarded young enologist from South Africa. Dominik, a native German, was a wine enthusiast with a business administration background but with interests in the culinary arts. In short order, they became fast friends.

With the help of the Pérez family of Mas Martinet, Eben and Dominik purchased some fruit and leased a little corner in the cellar of Cims de Porrera, where they vinified their first vintage of Dits del Terra in 2001. After two years at Cims de Porrera, they moved into a tiny cellar in Torroja del Priorat. The move coincided with the first vintage of Arbossar in 2003. In the following years, they released additional cuvées: Torroja in 2005, Manyes and Tosses in 2006, Pedra de Guix in 2008, and Terra de Cuques in 2011. Since its founding, Terroir al Limit has slowly evolved its understanding of the Priroat as a region as capable as Burgundy in its complexity and potential to make elegant and transparent wines. The Torroja and Terra de Cuques are the village wines, Dits del Terra and Arbossar the Premier Crus, and Manyes and Tosses are the Grand Crus.

Tasting Les Manyes blind is a thrilling exercise. Without a reference point to guide you, you find yourself wandering around the Mediterranean confused if you’re in Spain, the Rhône, or Piedmont. There are a couple of reasons why Les Manyes is so unique in the Priorat. Firstly, this is not Garnatxa on llicorella; instead, it is Garnatxa Peluda grown on clay soils rich in chalk and gypsum located in the mountains above the village of Scala Dei – making for a wine with a distinctly different mineral profile that one normally expects from the Priorat. Secondly, it is made by Dominik Huber, who farms these grapes biodynamically, harvests them a few weeks before his neighbors, ferments them whole-cluster with indigenous yeasts, favors infusion over extraction, and presses half-way through the fermentation before finishing the wine and aging it in concrete tanks to preserve its soulful, red-fruit driven character.

"I tasted two vintages of the top Garnacha (Peluda), so next to the 2017 Les Manyes, I also had the 2018; it was great to see the differences in the wines, even if the analytical data showed pretty similar. This amazing vineyard at 800 meters in altitude on red clay and gypsum soils has more in common with some vineyards from Montsant than the majority of other vineyards from Priorat. In 2016, they started aging the wine 100% in concrete, and they have no intention of going back. This is quite austere and compact and has had a slow oxidation in concrete, and the wine feels quite stabilized and fresher than other 2017s but again perhaps not as deep as the 2018. It's not a showy vintage; it's quite subtle. It takes a long time to open up in the glass, and it's clearly the freshest of the 2017s. 3,200 bottles were filled in June 2020 after a longer élevage, exclusively in concrete for this second bottling lot." - 98 points, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

Producer: Terroir al Limit

Country: Spain

Region: Priorat - Catalunya

Varietal: Grenache

Appellation: Priorat

Vintage: 2017

Size: 750ml