The presence of Cariñena in all three top-rated wines reflects the focus by Priorat’s leading names on native varieties. See the top scoring wines from our Priorat panel tasting.

Priorat seems to have come a long way since our last tasting in March 2011. Our judges’ perceptions then of high-alcohol, over-oaked and concentrated wines have been replaced, thanks to an exciting new style. ‘Priorat has moved to a new stage and there is real excitement about the future,’ enthused Sarah Jane Evans MW. ‘My real discovery this year has been Cariñena.’ This is clearly reflected in the result, with the top wines predominantly made from Cariñena (Carignan).

Evans continued: ‘Producers seem to have turned the corner in going back and rediscovering what they do best, which is their own local varieties. This is quite a recent change.’ Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW explained: ‘In 1972, the ministry said Priorat had the potential to make top Cabernet Sauvignon. In the 1980s, five producers established themselves in the region, planting a lot of Cabernet and Merlot, which were popular at the time. Alvaro Palacios has now abandoned Cabernet Sauvignon, but until 2014 there were still a lot of both varieties.’

  • The below wines scored 17.5/91pts and above. The full list of wines are in the November issue of Decanter. Subscribe to Decanter here.

Top scoring Priorat wines:

Joan Simó Les Eres Vinyes Velles 2010

Joan Simó, Les Eres, Vinyes Velles 2010

Joan Simó, Les Eres, Vinyes Velles 2010 Decanter average score: 18.75/20pts Individual judges’ scores: Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW 18.5 Sarah…

Points 95
Cal Batllet Gratallops 5 Partides 2010

Cal Batllet, Gratallops, 5 Partides 2010

Cal Batllet, Gratallops, 5 Partides 2010 Decanter average score: 18.5/20pts Individual judges’ scores: Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW 18.5 Sarah Jane…

Points 95
Família Nin-Ortiz Nit 2012

Família Nin-Ortiz, Nit 2012

Família Nin-Ortiz, Nit 2012 Decanter average score: 18.25/20pts Individual judges’ scores: Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW 18.5 Sarah Jane Evans MW…

Points 94
Mas d’en Gil Clos Fontà 2010

Mas d’en Gil, Clos Fontà 2010

Mas d’en Gil, Clos Fontà 2010 Decanter average score: 18/20pts Individual judges’ scores: Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW 18 Sarah Jane…

Points 93
Blai Ferré Just, Desnivell 2010

Blai Ferré Just, Desnivell 2010

Blai Ferré Just, Desnivell 2010 Decanter average score: 17.5/20pts Individual judges’ scores: Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW 18 Sarah Jane Evans…

Points 91
Clos del Portal Tros de Clos 2012

Clos del Portal, Tros de Clos 2012

Clos del Portal, Tros de Clos 2012 Decanter average score: 17.5/20pts Individual judges’ scores: Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW 18 Sarah…

Points 91
Ferrer Bobet 2013

Ferrer Bobet 2013

Ferrer Bobet 2013 Decanter average score: 17.5/20pts Individual judges’ scores: Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW 16.5 Sarah Jane Evans MW 18…

Points 91

Evans also confessed to expecting an overdose of oak and alcohol, prior to the tasting: ‘People say that Priorat is a new region and that all they do there is make very concentrated wines with lots of oak; that was true in the past, but no longer. Yes, they have a lot of alcohol but on the other hand, they are really nicely balanced. The best thing about Cariñena is that it’s fresh!’ Pierre Mansour echoed her comment: ‘Alcohol is part of the Priorat style, but in general it was in balance. There were examples where the alcohol was above 16%, but the richness and generosity of fruit is so intense that it supports the alcohol, and the acidity too, and it works as a part of their original flavour and style.’