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Since first trying Dominik’s wines last year I’ve been searching for other Priorat wines with this much personality and beauty. It’s been a struggle. I’ll be stashing some of these for my 2nd daughter’s birth year … well that’s the excuse I’ll be using!

A trip to Priorat in 2000 started a, thus far, 17-year adventure for German Chef turned wine farmer, Dominik Huber. As Dominik speaks of his time in Priorat, the lands, it’s people, and his wines you get a distinct impression that he has found a balance in life that many would envy.

Half his time spent in his isolated mountainous vineyards of Priorat, half his time, moving around the world sharing his passion for the wines of Priorat. The former offering calm, the later, the contact with vibrant people and places of the world, satisfying the joy of experience, in addition to helping disrupt his thinking, helping him push his grape growing and winemaking further.

Last year Dominik held a Masterclass in Melbourne for a lucky few. Wine Decoded was there to capture his thoughts on Priorat, his vineyards, wines and much more. Now we share it with you in the film below. Read on for more of our thoughts.

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Dominik’s Vineyards are in the centre of Priorat around the town of Torroja

His approach to natural wine is proactive, applying great technical rigour to ensure he guides his fruit to deliver its full potential. Disdain, is perhaps, a nice way to describe his feelings for “lazy” natural winemakers who don’t put in the work and make bad wine.

No, Brett is not accepted in his wines, and, hygiene is important. Yes, analysis is used to determine the status of wines and make informed decisions. Oxidative maturation is OK in its place, with Huber’s preference to apply it to his whites and not his reds. Oxidised wine is not OK. The whites are still fresh, fragrant, and loaded with intrigue. If you tasted them out of a black glass in a dark room, the textures are closer to a light red, than a “modern” white. Don’t get confused or put off by this, the whites are superb wines, vibrant with great flavours.

Simple: a healthy environment, results in healthy vital and vibrant grapes that are just desperate to be turned into delicious wine.

Like all of the great wine producers, there is a strong focus on the vineyard. This is matched by the desire to make wine that is the perfect accompaniment to the regional Catalan cuisine, heavy on seafood, often simple, always tasty, typically not made from the prime ingredients, as the Italian’s say, Cucina Povera or poor people’s food.

Priorat lies just south of Barcelona in Catalunya off the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It’s long history with wine started almost 1,000 years ago. In modern times it was consigned to producing bulk wines through co-operatives. It’s renaissance, started in the mid-1980’s, with several producers pushing to make quality wines. Since then, plantings have increased dramatically with noble French varieties, Cabernet, Merlot and Shiraz dominating.

Like many of the wine regions in the New World, it’s in a state of rapid evolution, trials of sites, varieties, historic and new winemaking techniques are taking place. Many wines are excessively alcoholic, over-oaked and oxidised. Those that or good, like Dominik’s, are the jewels of Priorat. The region is going through wine puberty again.

Huber has stuck to the local varieties, Granatxa and Cariñena for the reds. Garnatxa Blanca, Macabeo, Pedro Ximénez and Muscat of Alexandria for the whites. They are a revelation! In addition to his own wines, he has a side project working with like-minded growers to produce wines under a co-operative model. They are the perfect introduction to Priorat.

Some, ask if there is a typical style of wine produced in Priorat. I always find this an interesting question. A senior member of the wine industry asked me if there was a typical style of Pinot produced in the Yarra Valley. At the most basic level, my response “The Yarra Valley is over 50km square, there are so many different sites planted to Pinot Noir some warmer, other colder, elevation, aspect, soil types, all of these things vary dramatically throughout the region and different fruit results.” All this was without the influence of vine age, viticultural and winemaking practices. Even in a strip as thin, and, as well defined, as the Côte d’Or in Burgundy 50km x 1km there is an incredible array of different styles of Pinot and Chardonnay being produced. Priorat at about 25km x 25km, has considerable diversity to its fruit sources.

Moving past “typical” I’d love to see us looking at wine at face value and asking simply is it good, not, does it taste like Grenache or Pinot.

Dominik has chosen a path of restraint, elegance and uses only the traditional local varieties. Which he asserts are better suited to the region with their ability to retain acid and tannin profiles. I certainly think they have the advantage of vine age & balance on their side too. It will be interesting to see if variety experiments extend beyond the few French varieties and how they perform over time.

One thing is clear, the wines of Terroir al Límit are very good, perhaps at the top level with Les Manyes and Les Torres, great!

The wines of Terroir al Límit

Vi d’Altura – The Grand Cru’s

Les Manyes 100% Granatxa = Grenache. Whatever you call it is truly delicious wine filled with personality and intrigue! It has the poise of great Burgundy with incredible layering of complex flavours.

Les Tosses 100% Cariñena or Carignan makes stunning wine, one thing is certain, Huber’s top version is spectacular!

The Premier Cru’s

Abrossar 100% Cariñena. Huber’s cooler fresher version of his 1er Cru equivalent has a ridiculous perfume & teases your senses!

Dits del Terra 100% Cariñena. Huber’s warmer, bolder version of his 1er Cru equivalent Cariñena or Carignan perfumed, spicey & savoury!

Pedra de Guix Huber’s 1er Cru level white steps up to the plate. One of the most fascinating whites I’ve seen in ages! Garnatxa Blanca, Macabeo and Pedro Ximénez.

Vi de la Villa – The Village Wines

Torroja 50:50 Cariñena & Garnatxa balances perfume with earthiness & a wicked mouthfeel.

Terra de Cuques Huber’s Village white is incredibly intriguing. It’s rare to see so much packed into a wine & for it to have such poise at the same time! A blend of Pedro Ximénez and Muscat of Alexandria.

The Co-op Wines – Terroir Historic

Terroir Historic Negre Perfect intro to Priorat. Terroir al Limit’s Dominik Huber working with dedicated growers to raise the bar! Made from 75% Grenache and 25% Carignan as it would have a generation ago.

This offer has expired, wines are subject to availability. We'll do our best to satisfy your tastebuds.

Terroir al Límit

  • The Whites
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    Price: $ 88.00 Quantity:
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  • The Reds
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About the Wines

The Whites

2016 Terroir al Límit Vi de Terra Viva Terra de Cuques

White capsule (equivalent of village wine). Terra de Cuques – which translates as ‘place of the fireflies’ – takes its name from the fireflies that light up the landscape in this area at night. Fireflies are extremely sensitive to chemical contamination and, like ladybirds, their presence tends to indicate a healthy vineyard environment. Terra de Cuques is a blend of 90% Pedro Ximénez on the slate soils of Porrera and 10% Moscatel de Alejandría from MolarThe source vineyards face northeast and are 400-600 m above sea level. The aspect means the vines are sheltered from the sun’s harshest rays, while the altitude results in cool nights that lock in the grapes refreshing acidity. The bush vines also play their role in maximising coolness and freshness. Terra de Cuques is a white wine made in the same way that Dominik Huber makes his reds; whole clusters are layered in a fermentation tank where the weight of the bunches create enough juice for fermentation to begin spontaneously. Then, after one-two weeks the wine is pressed and finishes fermentation in a concrete tank. This offers up pretty, muscat-like, floral, rose water scents – bright and pure.  In the mouth it’s really bright, racy and sappy with the same notes as the aromatics but, at the same time, it’s really restrained and fine. The finish has a lovely twist of powdery phenolics. It leaves the mouth scented for minutes after swallowing. A wonderful and unique wine.

92 Points

The yeasty and aromatic 2016 Terra de Cuques was just about to be bottled, so I tasted the final blend, mostly Pedro Ximenez and 10% Muscat that was kept with skins and stems for a week and then with the fine lees until bottling around one year from the vintage. It has tannic structure and a seriousness on the palate, flavors and an aromatic profile very different from the other two whites from Terroir Al Limit. I don't remember such a strong yeasty character from previous vintages, but there is also austere minerality on the palate, a characteristic that I think is very nicely transmitted by the Pedro Ximenez. It's a fresh and balanced vintage.

Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate #236

2015 Terroir al Límit Vi de Coster Pedra de Guix

Green capsule (Vi de Coster or equivalent of 1er Cru wine). As we have said before, this is one of the most mineral sculpted whites we know—it tastes as if the wine was tapped directly from pure rock (which of course it was). Forget about how rare white Priorat is, Pedra de Guix gives the great whites of the world a run for their money. It is a blend of three varieties from three villages: Poboleda (on schist) provides the Garnatxa Blanca, Torroja (on alluvial soils) the Macabeo and the chalky/gypsum soils of El Lloar gift the Pedro Ximénez. The old vines in these sites are between 50 and 78 years old. The grapes were gently basket pressed over the course of several hours, and the juice begins its fermentation in tank before being sent to old, neutral 500-litre French oak barrels for 12 months and then, finally, another 12 months in large Austrian oak foudres. Finally, there is a component of a perpetual blend, started in 2013, that is added to the mix. The wine is bottled unfiltered. Obviously a step up in power and complexity, this is a wine that really benefits from decanting. It’s super fine across the palate but also with good weight and texture and notes of preserved lemon, brown spice and a marked, iodine, oyster shell-like character on the long, driven finish. Super classy, delicious and unique wine.

95 Points

The white 2015 Pedra de Guix is a blend of one-third each of Pedro Ximénez, Garnacha Blanca and Macabeo from old vines on different soils and different villages. There is always a touch of skin contact and some controlled oxidation in the whites here, as it gives them character. The whites here also have the structure to stand up to food—they are more food wines than refreshing whites, even if they are fresh. This is ripe and open but very precise, and it seems to have better delineation. The palate is dry and shows some austerity. It has beautiful flintstone notes and a salinity that give it freshness and character. For Dominik Huber, it's a wine that shows a side of Priorat that is not easy to show with reds.

Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate #236

The Reds

2016 Terroir al Límit Vi de la Vila de Torroja

White capsule (Vi de la Vila, or village wine)Huber’s village wine is an equal split of Cariñena (Carignan) and Garnatxa (Garnacha/Grenache) from vineyard parcels dotted around the high-country hamlet of Torroja, where Terroir al Límit is based. At 366 metres above sea level, these are some of the highest, old-vine red sites in Priorat. The youngest vines that provide fruit for this blend are more than 50-years-old—and most of the vines sit on llicorella slate soils apart from a portion of the Garnatxa, planted on much scarcer limestone clay. This cuvée is also the beneficiary of any declassified material from TaL’s top vineyardsMade with 100% whole bunches in 2016, the Torroja was raised in 3,500-litre Stockinger foudres for 18 months. It’s a brilliantly perfumed and floral wine offering ripe red fruits, milk chocolate and spice from the subtle oak. The palate is really fine and medium-bodied—Burgundy weighted even—with notes of fresh plum, cranberry, and again, that subtle and delicious cocoa note. The finish is fresh and dry with very fine tannins. It’s a wine that will clearly benefit from air and a couple of years in bottle but it’s also absolutely delicious now.

94 Points

The 2016 Torroja Vi de Vila is the village wine that is bottled earlier than the others. The oak is neatly folded into the wine, which is quite fruit-driven and fresh but with clout—especially now that they have the Historic as an entry-level wine, this can show a little more complexity. The blend of Cariñena and Garnacha in equal parts works very well. The fruit is red rather than black, and the texture is silky, with very fine tannins and great acidity. It's very lively, aromatic and open, fluid, elegant and fresh.

Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate #236

2015 Terroir al Límit Vi de Coster Arbossar

Red capsule (equivalent of 1er Cru wine). L’Arbossar is a steep, north-facing vineyard of 90-year-old Cariñena (Carignan) on schist and granite soils near the village of Torroja where the TaL cellars are situated. Against conventional wisdom, Arbossar was planted on the cooler, north-facing slopes of Torroja and it was this unusual site that informed much of Huber’s early experience with the terroir of Priorat. As Luis Gutiérrez confirms it’s always a “fresher and more floral style” than the corresponding Dits del Terra that derives from the south-facing slopes. Both wines are made in the same fashion; 100% whole bunch vinification with wild yeasts and aged for 16-18 months in large format, neutral oak. One of the finest Arbossars we’ve shipped, the 2015 is beautifully perfumed and loaded with rose, violet and grenadine scented fruit that races across the palate, coating it and perfuming the mouth for minutes after swallowing. It’s both crystalline and fleshy at the same time and closes with superfine tannins. Very long and super classy.

95 Points

The old-vine Cariñena 2015 Arbossar has a distinct note of licorice that grows in the glass. By working the vineyard with compost, they have managed to increase yields around 15%, and they feel the grapes achieve better balance, which is very difficult to see in the very poor llicorella slate soils that have almost no organic matter. It's a north-facing slope planted some 90 years ago, and the grapes are very concentrated, so it's a challenge to achieve a floral and fresh Cariñena like this, with notes of blue fruit and violets, quite different from the majority of Cariñena from Priorat. There is no heat at all; it's a cool vineyard, and that freshness is translated into the wine and is especially noticeable in a warm and ripe year like 2015. Superb showing for the Arbossar—it has to be one of the best vintages ever.

Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate #236

2015 Terroir al Límit Vi de Coster Dits del Terra

Very limited. Red capsule (equivalent of 1er Cru wine). The Dits del Terra can be thought of as Arbossar’s south-facing sibling. It is also 100% Cariñena, from three schist-rich sites where the vines are more than 80-years-old. It was aged in a six-year-old, 3,500-litre Stockinger cask. The south-facing terroir brings more flesh and power so Huber infuses the juice very gently, simply using a jug to pour juice over the top of the whole bunches. “Jugotage” as Dave Mackintosh calls it! This is a much more layered, hedonistic and seductive expression of Priorat (than theArbossar) although it’s still bright and fine with great finesse – as is the Terroir al Límit style. Expect waves of plummy, spicy, floral fruit, flecked through with milk chocolate and cedar notes. The texture is pulpy yet, as always, the finish is cool and fresh. An incredibly classy and moreish wine.

95 Points

The 2015 Dits del Terra has a beautiful nose that is very elegant and perfumed, with floral aromas and a clear mineral note from early on. This is a slightly warmer vineyard (the one originally worked by Eben Sadie); but the balance is amazing here, and there is no heat. The foudres are also a little older—six years old—and therefore are quite neutral, and the wines age nicely in them. The quality and refinement of the tannins is surprising—they provide for a velvety texture, and there is a liveliness on the palate that only the best wines can achieve, especially with a rustic grape grown in a rustic place and in a warm vineyard. In this 2015, the Cariñena is just as fresh (maybe even fresher!) as it is in the Arbossar. Bravo! At the end of the day, both showed a similar quality level. For proprietor Dominik Huber, it's clear that Cariñena is the grape for the warmer places on slate soils. 4,600 bottles were filled in May 2017.

Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate #236

2015 Terroir al Límit Vi d’altura Les Tosses

Green capsule (Vi d’altura or equivalent of Grand Cru). There are two Vi d’alturas, or pinnacle wines, that are produced here: Les Tosses and Les Manyes. These are Terroir al Límit’s finest Priorats, as tasted through the prism of Cariñena (for Les Tosses) and Garnatxa (forLes Manyes). In our opinion, they are simply two of the greatest wines emanating from Spain. Both are naturally fermented and aged in large French oak vats for two years. The 2-hectare Les Tosses vineyard sits on a stony ridge to the northeast of the village of Torroja, at the incredible altitude of 650 metres. It is one of the very few ancient vineyards at this height and has deep, black slate soils. The bush-grown vines face east, like watchmen guarding the valley, and are more than 90-years-old (almost all Cariñena with a small percentage of co-planted Garnatxa). The density of planting is 6,605 plants per hectare. Dominik Huber only uses the best portion of this ‘Grand Cru’ site for this bottling, the rest going to the village wine. The fermentation was 100% whole bunches with indigenous yeasts, and pressing occurred half-way through the fermentation and then the wine went to a 1,200 litre Stockinger cask for 20 months ageing. Luis Gutiérrez sums the wine up beautifully below.

98+ Points

I often find more similarities between Les Tosses and Dits del Terra than with the Arbossar. However, this time I found common characteristics between the 2015 Les Tosses and the Arbossar from the same year. Both show graphite and licorice, which speaks to the freshness achieved by this southeast-facing slope planted with centenary vines. It's musky, spiced and floral, with notes of blue fruit and violets, a touch of balsam, ash and incense along with really refined tannins with intense, penetrating and long-lasting flavors. It's clean, pure and delicate but also powerful and concentrated. 1,600 bottles were filled in May 2017.

Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate #236

2015 Terroir al Límit Vi d’altura Les Manyes

Green capsule (Vi d’altura or equivalent of Grand Cru). High in the Montsant ranges, the Les Manyes vineyard is located at the even more remarkable altitude of 800 metres (the highest in Priorat). This cool, north-facing vineyard is only 1.4 hectares and the vines here are now about 54-years-old. While Les Tosses is planted to Cariñena on pure llicorella slate, the Les Manyes site is predominantly clay with elements of quartz, chalk and limestone, and is planted almost exclusively with Garnatxa. It’s a site that produces a Priorat Grenache like no other. If we had to put forward a single wine that symbolises the unique wines of Dominik Huber, then this would be it. It is the antithesis of Priorat’s blockbuster image with the intensity, finesse and transparency of a great Grand Cru Burgundy. Huber ferments this cuvée with 100% whole bunches and indigenous yeasts, and again, presses off half-way through the fermentation before finishing the wine in single Stockinger foudre. As usual, there is an even greater finesse in the mouth than the Les Tosses. Yes, it is expensive, but it is, without doubt, a great, great (and rare!) wine. Again, there is no point us trying to outdo Luis Gutiérrez below!

99 Points

The otherworldly 2015 Les Manyes is a completely different Garnacha from Priorat, as it comes from a high-altitude vineyard on clay and limestone soils with a total absence of slate. From a cold terroir at 800 meters in altitude, this is very perfumed, floral, exuberant and open, nuanced, elegant and complex. The wine also has structure and concentration but doesn't show it—or just shows it in a subtle way. This has an electric palate with lively, almost citric acidity. Every year the wines seem to be better... Where is the limit? 1,865 bottles were filled after 24 months in a Stockinger foudre, yet the wine shows no oak at all. This is truly outstanding, possibly the best Les Manyes ever. I couldn't help but to think about Rayas when I tasted this...

Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate #236