This is one of the most mineral sculpted whites we know - it tastes as if the wine was tapped directly from pure rock.
Forget about how rare white Priorat is, Pedra de Guix gives the great whites of the world a run for their money. It is a blend of three varieties from three villages: Poboleda (on schist) provides the Garnatxa Blanca, Torroja (on alluvial soils) the Macabeo and the chalky/gypsum soils of El Lloar gift the Pedro Ximénez. The old vines in these sites are between 50 and 78 years old.
A blend of Pedro Ximenez, Macabeo and Grenache Blanc. All three grape varieties are pressed in our old vertical basket press; we crush the grapes by foot for about an hour in the press, slowly filling it up with the whole-bunch clusters. Then we press directly. Throughout the process we have a combination of extraction, oxidation and maceration that results in the very specific expression of our whites. Finally, there is a component of a perpetual blend, started in 2013, that is added to the mix. The wine is bottled unfiltered.
A step up in power and complexity, this is a wine that really benefits from decanting. It's super fine across the palate but also with good weight and texture and notes of preserved lemon, brown spice and a marked, iodine, oyster shell-like character on the long, driven finish. Super classy, delicious and unique 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.
This wine shows a beautiful density and freshness with waxy, dried apple and honey notes. Full body, dense and very structured with a dried fruit and salty finish that is long and intense. Layered and beautiful. More like a red than a white. Serious. Full white Burgundy combined with sherry treatment in ageing.
LUIS GUTIERREZ - WINE ADVOCATE
The white 2015 Pedra de Guix is a blend of one-third each of Pedro Ximénez, Garnacha Blanca and Macabeo from old vines on different soils and different villages. There is always a touch of skin contact and some controlled oxidation in the whites here, as it gives them character. The whites here also have the structure to stand up to food—they are more food wines than refreshing whites, even if they are fresh. This is ripe and open but very precise, and it seems to have better delineation. The palate is dry and shows some austerity. It has beautiful flintstone notes and a salinity that give it freshness and character. For Dominik Huber, it's a wine that shows a side of Priorat that is not easy to show with reds. Each grape aged separately in 500-liter oak barrels, and the blend had a further 12 months in foudre before it was bottled.