The Dits del Terra can be thought of as Arbossar's south-facing sibling. It is also 100% Cariñena, from three schist-rich sites where the vines are more than 80-years-old.
It was aged in a six-year-old, 3,500-litre Stockinger cask. The south-facing terroir brings more flesh and power so Huber infuses the juice very gently, simply using a jug to pour juice over the top of the whole bunches. "Jugotage" as Dave Mackintosh calls it! This is a much more layered, hedonistic and seductive expression of Priorat (than the Arbossar) although it's still bright and fine with great finesse - as is the Terroir al Límit style.
All of our reds are vinified in a very similar way. We use the whole bunch clusters and empty the small 10kg cases gently into our vats, avoiding the accumulation of air and using some CO2. When the vat is full we just cover it and wait for natural fermentation, using only wild yeasts. The grapes should remain at a temperature of around 20 deg. C, not too cold in order to begin a quick, dynamic fermentation and not too warm to avoid the temperature rising above 28 deg. C during the fermentation.
After fermentation has started there is no mechanical interaction such as pigeage or remontage, we just leave the grapes to ferment gently and slowly. When the fermentation is complete we press the grapes, removing all the sugar from the whole grapes and then fermenting them dry in a second fermentation without the skins. The result is a very fine, complex and fluid expression of all the different terroirs we work with.
Expect waves of plummy, spicy, floral fruit, flecked through with milk chocolate and cedar notes. The texture is pulpy yet, as always, the finish is cool and fresh. An incredibly classy and moreish wine.
On paper it sounds almost too good to be true; the terroir-obsessed Dominik Huber, (originally aided by South Africa's Swartland pioneer and wunderkind Eben Sadie), working with old Carignan and Grenache vines, aiming to produce wines of great finesse and purity from the steep llicorella/slate slopes of Priorat. A direct reaction against the heavy, oaky styles that still dominate the region, the wines of Terroir al Límit are as inspired by Burgundy as they are by recent tradition in their area. The vineyards are all around the village of Torroja. These sites are worked biodynamically; the cellar work is as minimalistic as possible, with low levels of sulphur being the only additions. Plenty of whole bunch and infusion rather than extraction as the maceration methods. There’s a shunning of new/small format wood, in favour of unlined concrete and 1,800-litre mature oak, and a staunch belief that even in a region famed for its big wines, restraint, precision and balance are where the expression of terroir is at. Since their initial experiments in 2001, the wines of Terroir al Límit have created a sensation which has since spread far beyond Priorat and Catalonia's borders. Despite Sadie’s involvement ceasing in 2011, Dominik Huber has taken both the viticulture and work in the cellar to even greater heights. If you haven't heard of this grower, don't fret; production is homeopathic. While critical and trade success has brought a great deal of attention (and local jealousy - in 2011 the winery was vandalized and a portion of their wines in barrel contaminated with household bleach), it has also served (to paraphrase Shakespeare) to hold the mirror up to Priorat winegrowers. Indeed, Terroir al Límit promotes a set of ideals and practices that have already influenced many of the more mature cellars within Priorat itself. Not often do we find ourselves tasting at a truly game-changing address, especially so in Spain. Yet these are wines to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. They are quite unlike anything we have seen from Priorat previously, and they are all the better for it.
Very spicy with very ripe black cherries, but also some licorice and earth. A bold, warm-tannin structure, but great depth behind it, the finish coming in waves, alternating between warm-spice and cool-mineral flavors. Drink or hold and this has excellent aging potential.
LUIS GUTIERREZ - WINE ADVOCATE
The 2015 Dits del Terra has a beautiful nose that is very elegant and perfumed, with floral aromas and a clear mineral note from early on. This is a slightly warmer vineyard (the one originally worked by Eben Sadie); but the balance is amazing here, and there is no heat. The foudres are also a little older—six years old—and therefore are quite neutral, and the wines age nicely in them. The quality and refinement of the tannins is surprising—they provide for a velvety texture, and there is a liveliness on the palate that only the best wines can achieve, especially with a rustic grape grown in a rustic place and in a warm vineyard. In this 2015, the Cariñena is just as fresh (maybe even fresher!) as it is in the Arbossar. Bravo! At the end of the day, both showed a similar quality level. For proprietor Dominik Huber, it's clear that Cariñena is the grape for the warmer places on slate soils.