Featured Wine: Les Mines Priorat 2009 – Ideal Pairing with Lamb or Moussaka

By Lauren Loeffler

As the weather gets colder and colder, our kitchens start churning out hearty favorites. If you’re serving up a dense moussaka, or grilling lamb with your favorite spices, a bold red wine can make a great winter warmer.

Priorats from Spain can fit the bill perfectly. Priorat is located in the south-west region of Catalonia, and its terroir is set apart by its soil which contains black slate and quartz – in addition to affecting the characteristics of the grapes grown there, the heavy soil also aids in keeping the vines anchored against the region’s often high winds. A number of varietals are permitted in the region, including red varietals Garnacha tinta, Garnacha Peluda, Cariñena, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah, as well as white varietals Garnacha blanca, Macabeo, Pedro Ximénez, and Chenin.

Les Mines 2009 Priorat is already drinking now, but could also do well with up to ten years of cellaring. It truly is a gorgeous wine, having a deep purple hue, and the flavors are equally rich. Excellent acidity and ripeness pair with noticeable spice and minerality, reminiscent of the volcanic soil of the region, as well as dense red fruit flavors. The influence of oak can be tasted on the finish, but is far from overwhelming.

Prices for Priorat can really vary, but this bottling lands in a reasonable $20-25 range, and it is well worth it.