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94 Insider Points

REVIEWS

A big hit from MS Kemiji's Priorat-property. Savory nose of mushroom and bacon fat. Full bodied with blackberry, deep licorice, plum and caramel, with a port-like quality. Perfect for the savory lover. 94 Points - JZ Oct '18

WHY WE LOVE IT
  • BLEND
    Grenache, Syrah
  • APPELLATION
    Montsant DO, Spain
  • ALCOHOL
    14.00%
  • SIZE
    750ml

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177 Cases Produced -As famous as wine professions get, Master Sommelier Emmanuel Kemiji was born in in the U.S. raised in Madrid and honored with every award in the trade. Not satisfied with being one of the world’s top somms, Kemiji went on to become one of the best winemakers, too, earning raves for his extremely limited Miura Vineyards masterpieces.

At Clos Pissarra, Kemiji’s winning streak continues—and even, somehow, has gained strength! This incredible red comes for the 2.2 hectare Artisan Vineyard, steps away from the Clos Pissarra winery itself and owned entirely by Kemiji. A true pet project, the name is a portmanteau of Kemiji’s two sons, Aristos and Tristan. Yields on the precious site are a ridiculously low one ton per acre, which would make Kimiji’s business partners roll over in their swivel chairs, that is if they were not similarly obsessed with producing extraordinary wine. Just 177 cases of Artisan were produced in 2011. This still young blend of Grenache and Syrah has a long life ahead in the cellar though it is impossible not to love the wine now for its hedonistic lushness and endless, come-hithery finish.

·    Clos Pissarra is owned and operated by a group of wine and restaurant industry bigwigs headed by Master Sommelier Emmanuel Kemiji (owner of California’s Miura) and including chefs Sylvain Portay, Gerald Hirigoyen and Laurent Manrique.

·      The estate takes its name from the word ‘slate’ in Catalan, in honor of the slate-rich soil of Spain’s Montsant D.O.

·      A neighbor to up-market Priorat, Montsant is known to produce similarly bold, big reds in a slightly more approachable style and generally a much more approachable price!

·      Straddling both Montsant and Priorat, Clos Pissarra decided to forgo the bureaucracy of Spain’s complicated wine laws, preferring to focus all energy on the task of producing the finest wines possible. Wines from this estate are not bottled as Montsant or Priorat but under proprietary names.

TASTING NOTES 

From the winery:

A more rustic version of Aristan. More leather, smoke, bacon fat- reflective of this vintage.
 

*invino maintains excellent cellaring conditions, and strives to sell every bottle in pristine condition. As is standard industry practice, any wine purchased over seven vintage years old, is sold "as is" and may not be returned for any reason.

THE STORY TO KNOW

From the winery:

This is a project born out of friendship and a longing to return to ones roots. The idea took hold after a long afternoon lunch at Piperade on a summer’s day back in 2003, when the opportunity to buy a vineyard in Montsant near Barcelona, had just surfaced. Master Sommelier and proprietor of Miura Vineyards, Emmanuel Kemiji and Chefs Gerald Hirigoyen, Sylvain Portay and Laurent Manrique were mesmerized by the romance of possibly owning a vineyard and producing a wine with their own signature. In 2005 the venture grew to include more friends, significant among them Roger Lethander and Bob Hackman, and several more vineyards in neighboring Priorat. In 2010 a winery was finally completed and over time the production will reach a scant 2500 cases but the object here has never been commercial and is instead driven by quality and pride.

Located about 85 miles southwest of Barcelona, Priorat (meaning priory in Catalan) can trace its roots back to the 12th century when a group of Carthusian Monks that had been persecuted out of France stumbled upon a sheppard who the night before had a vision whereby he saw angels coming down from the clouds on a huge ladder. He pointed to an enormous pine tree where he had seen the ladder propped up against in his dream and it was there, at the base of a huge mountain that the monks decided to build an incredible monastery and called it Scala Dei (stairway to God). It was these same monks that planted the first vineyards in the area.

Priorat is a foreboding place. It’s like walking back in time as one can easily envision that very little has changed here over time. Its amazing that anything can grow here as the soil is mostly made up of a soft, crumbly slate and one sees almost no dirt on the ground of a very mountainous terrain. The vines struggle constantly in this brutal and harsh environment, but that is exactly what makes the wines so special.

PERFECT PAIRINGS

Pair this with Asian cuisine with subtle spices or grilled chicken with a savory marinade.