Tasting a Piece of Spanish History: 1975 Scala Dei Cartoixa, Priorat
Tasting an old vintage wine is for me always a very special experience.
Not simply because matured wines tasted different, but more importantly because they represent a piece of History trapped in a bottle. Part of the world as it was back then, with its grapes, its soils and its vintage conditions were captured and trapped in a bottle by passionate winemakers willing to leave their mark on the world and please others with their beverage.
When I taste and drink an old vintage-wine, I think about those people and how privileged I am to be able feel with my senses how the world was back then, and the intend of people from an era that has long gone.
Regardless of its taste, 1975 Cartoixa by Scala Dei winery is a special wine, because the 1974 of this same cuvée was the first ever wine to be bottled as ‘Priorat’. We are therefore talking here about a time when the Priorat region of Spain was only started to get the recognition it deserved for the quality of its wines. Recognition that has since gone global making of Priorat one of the most reputable wine regions in the world today.
Furthermore, 1975 was probably one of the best vintages in the area, better even than the 1974 vintage that inaugurated the new D.O. (appellation). This is exactly why Scala Dei winemaker Ricard Rofes Salsench chose to have us to taste vintage 1975, making the experience even more special. An absolute treat of a few of us privileged guests.
But let’s get to the taste!
How was actually the 1975 Scala Dei Cartoixa Priorat wine?
This 1975 comes in a beautiful garnet color, browning on the rim for a baby that age it still looks brightly red on the core.
Aromas are powerful, filled with ripe plum and prune notes, and a very distinctive mineral iodine smell. Clove, nutmeg and black pepper complete the picture of a deep and complex nose. It does shows its age, but on the positive side of it, evolved and complexified, yet fresh and vibrant aromas.
The palate first strikes with its savouriness, spicy characters and loads of intense mushrooms notes, like shitake soup.
Then the ripe rich fruit characters hit and reflect what the wine actually tastes like: surprisingly full of life and goodness for its age.
Tannins are extremely velvety and smooth, with great round body. Very textural!
Powerful flavors but it’s displaying them with elegance and refinement.
Not only is this a piece of history, made in the year the famous and infamous Spanish dictator Franco died, but more importantly, it is a unique tasting experience.
Prune, cherry liqueur, clove and earth summarise the aromas. While concentrated tannic smoothness are the keywords to describe the palate.
An extremely enjoyable wine to taste, showing how well good Priorat wine can age, against the odds with elegance and refinement.
Memories of this unique tasting captured by Mr Scott Eddy on Twitter:
— Scott Eddy (@MrScottEddy) October 14, 2016