Mather Teresina is the flagship wine of Celler Vinos Piñol, made with organically grown grapes in the high elevation region of Terra Alta, located south of Barcelona. The Piñol family has been wine growers for four generations and Mather Teresina pays homage to the family's grandmother. This limited production wine is unique. This collector's wine offers quality several times its price and it can age and improve for decades. The story of Cellar Vinos Piñol mirrors the ascendance of Spanish wines in world markets over the past ten years, a story of how a reverence for old, treasured vineyards and the best family traditions have been combined with new winemaking methods to make the finest wines possible. Similar to Yecla and Vinos de Madrid, Terra Alta is one of Spain's up-and-coming wine regions with an identity built on exciting projects and progressive innovation. Juanjo G. Piñol and Toni Coca are the winemakers. Juanjo's mother Josefina remains in charge of the family cellar.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE? Mather Teresina can age for more than two decades. The nearly extinct Morenillo grape is indigenous to the area and makes Mather Teresina a unique wine. Less than 500 cases are produced. This wine is made from organically certified vineyards, and the old vines are tended in limestone soils.
RATING HISTORY: 2011 93VM; 2010 93VN; 2009 93IWC; 2008 93IWC; 2006-07 92RP
GRAPE: 50% Garnacha, 30% Cariñena, 20% Morenillo. Organically grown (certified) vines planted from 1950 - 1960. Tended in limestone and clay soil at 460 m ( 1,509ft) elevation. This is a vegan wine.
PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: This wine has high-pitched aromas of red fruits, wet stones and spices. With acidity that lends a “nervous” character to the fruit in the mouth, the wine's tannins are substantial but fine grained. This is a wine of roundness, volume, depth and great length and should be enjoyed with rich foods like pheasant, duck, venison, fois gras, slow roasted pork and aged hard cheeses.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING: 20 - 24 months in 90% French and 10% American and oak barrels
PRODUCTION: 264 cases (6 pack)
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE: The vineyards are located a few miles southwest of Priorat, within the Terra Alta DO (Zone 5) in Catalunya's Tarragona province in northeastern Spain. In this remote region, the winemaking tradition dates back to the Romans, around the 2nd or 3rd Century. The winery and vineyards are in the town of Batea, situated at 400 meters (1,312 ft.) elevation. The soils are composed of 95% limestone and 5% clay. Yields are low (24.5 hectoliters per hectare, or 3,500 kilograms per hectare), which enhances the concentration and complexity in the grapes. The vineyards are organically farmed and certified by CCPAE. For climate, the average temperature from April-October is 67.3F. The hot day and warm-to-moderate night temperatures make Terra Alta a drier and warmer region than Montsant or Priorat. These conditions produce bright purplish-garnet hued wines with greater weight and ripeness than wines from other areas within Zone 5. The low average yearly rainfall of 16.3 inches is less than neighboring regions.
TASTING NOTES: Ruby-red. Intensely perfumed aromas of fresh dark berries, cherry compote and licorice develop a vanilla overtone as the wine opens up. Plush blackberry, cherry-vanilla, spicecake and floral pastille flavors show excellent clarity and a seamless texture, and a peppery flourish adds lift and bite. Fine-grained tannins build slowly and give shape to the impressively long, sweet finish, which leaves behind floral pastille and dark fruit liqueur notes.-- Josh Raynolds.
All photos: Friederike Paetzold