I had the good fortune to stop by a great tasting of wines from Spain’s Priorat region at Chambers Street Wines. The tasting was with Spanish wine maker Joseph Puig of  Viñedos de Íthaca. You can find out more about these wines at their website, but the winery is located in the Priorat region in Spain. The wines are very small production and are primarily crafted by hand by Joseph and his daughter Sílivia. I can tell you that Joseph is an enthusiastic wine maker who is very passionate about his wines and his terroir. Joseph makes a lot of different wines, and while I did not get to taste the entire portfolio, I did manage to try a white, two reds, and a dessert wine. If you are a lover of small lot hand crafted natural wines, these are wines you should check out. There is a great picture of Joseph from the tasting, he is a man with a great taste for wine and for amazing eye wear.

Odysseus 2009, Pedro Ximénez
This unique dry white wine is made from the Pedro Ximénez grape. This is one of the grape varietals used to make Sherry, and is not typically used in dry white wine. I really did not know what to expect but was very pleasantly surprised by this wine. It was so good I wanted to buy some on the spot but they did not have any for sale. But I will be on the hunt for it. The wine has a medium yellow color and a nose of citrus and grapefruit. It has a crisp minerality on the nose as well mixed with sweet floral undertones. It has a nice round mouth feel, and a touch of honeysuckle sweetness on the finish. As Joseph said, “it leaves the mouth clean”. This is a wine I could drink everyday during the summer, just delicious. Drinks well on it’s own, but could pair with any light summer fare or lighter cheeses.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Aklyes, Red Label 2007
This Rhone like red is made from younger vines and is a blend of Garnacha, Cariñena, and Cabernet. It is aged 10-12 month in 400 liter barrels. It really reminds me a lot of a Cotes du Rhone, but a little less jammy than a Coted du Rhone, which is a good thing. The wine is a rich medium purple in color, there are flavors of bright cherry and plum, chocolate, cassis, and a hint of toasty oak. The fruit really shines in this wine, but without being too overbearing.  RECOMMENDED

Odysseus, Red Label 2002
This exciting red is blend of primarily old vine Cariñena and Garnacha, with smaller doses of Cabernet, Petit Verdot, and Touriga Nacional. It is fermented with piqeage and aged with battonage in 400 liter barrels for 12 months. I found this blend more complex, probably due to the old vines fruit. The nose really grabs you with this wine with a toasty blend of cassis and chocolate. There is dark fruit in there as well. While there are still some tannins to resolve, the wine is balanced with a medium ruby color. The wine is drinking great now, but the tannins suggest it will probably age well over the next ten years or so. A really delicious wine. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Penélope, Garnacha Blanca 2007
This medium bodied dessert wine is a real pleasure to taste. I could imagine it going well with a tangy blue cheese. It has sweet candied citrus and melon on the nose and is medium yellow in color with a medium weight body, not overly syrupy. It has lingering notes of floral and melon.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED