In a nutshell: An excellent, layered and expressive white Priorat from Catalonia.
The lowdown: Priorat is mainly known for its bold and generous reds, but there is a growing number of very good premium quality whites that also come from there which are certainly worthy of attention as with this example from the small and quality focused Mas La Mola estate. Made from old, low yielding vines it's about half Grenache Blanc with the rest comprising Macabeo and Pedro Ximénez. Only the first pressed juice is used and part was fermented and aged on its lees in stainless steel and part in barrel and matured for six months. The resulting wine has a deep straw yellow colour and is really intense on the nose with notes of ripe yellow stone fruits, an elegant flint character and hint of white pepper. On the palate it's full bodied with a fresh acidity and creamy texture from the oak. The complex array of stone fruits, citrus and tropical fruits combine with a long, minerally, almost saline finish.
When to drink: While ready to drink now it's got the potential to age well for the next six to eight years. A great food wine that'll go well with rich creamy dishes.
The small Mas La Mola estate comprises just seven hectares situated around the small village of Poboleda in the north of the Prioriat region. For more than 150 years it's been owned by the Ferrando family, but in recent years the viticulture and winemaking operations have been taken on by Jordi Masdeu Català, a dynamic young winemaker who specializes in top end wines, and Alessando Marchesan, a former sommelier. They have a definite artisanal approach to making wine at the diminutive winery which is tucked away in the streets of Poboleda.
The estate's vineyards are planted in two different areas around Poboleda. There is 40 year old Macabeo vines which are planted on low yielding gravel soils next to a river, which provides vital irrigation to the root system during the hot summers, while their parcels of old Garnatxa Blanca, Garnatxa and Pedro Ximénez vines are planted on the steep Licorella slate slopes between 300 and 800 metres above sea level. This unique slatey soil is said to impart a pronounced mineral character to the wines.