Priorat is my favorite region in Spain. It is a wine region in Catalonia, Spain, just north of Barcelona, which consists of only 60 and some change wineries (bodegas). Nevertheless, I think this region produces some of the best wines of Spain.

Almost everything I have ever had from Priorat has been quite fantastic, though most have also been pricey. Generally they retaile for 20+ euros, most above 30. We happen to be in the US right now and my wife picked up a Priorat for about 20 bucks. We were both quite excited as that converts to about 13 euros nowdays. Wow, that is a good price. Unlike the wine, which is not the best example of this wonderful region.

Marge is from the small family winery Roquers. They produce two wines, both red, and Marge is their lower end selection. It is a blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot and Syrah and is aged for 8 months in French and American oak. It is more or less the table wine version of your “normal” Priorat. The Marge is quite fruity, easy to drink, not very complex and quite young. I would not say this is something you can or should put away, it is drinkable as is. If you are looking for a typical Priorat this wine is not it. I would certainly call it drinkable and it is not bad for its price range, but it is not what you would come to expect from the Priorat label.

I recently tasted another example of this region at an even lower price, but for the life of it I cannot remember what it was. If I do, I will be sure to post it here as an update.

UPDATE: The better Priorat at a lower price was the Onix (2006), which retails anywhere between 11-13 dollars. this wine is an incredible steal at that price and is more representative of Priorat than the Marge.

Name: Marge, 2004, Roquers de Porrera

Rating: 7 out of 10

Body: Medium

Price: 20 US dollars

Got it at: RJ Market, San Francisco

Marge, 2004, Roquers de Porrera

This wine must be among the best values I have ever had. If you are in the US, you can get this for about $9! Here in Europe it is still a good value, but in spite of the fact that we are a single market and the largest wine market in the world, it retails more than in the US, between 10 euros to 10 pounds according to wine-searcher. So unless you are in the UK, where for some reason you cannot get this wine for anything under an arm and a leg, I would consider this to be one of the wines to get stocked up on.

Cannonau is the same varietal as Grenache in France. In fact this grape is indigenous to Sardegna and was only later planted in France. Granache likes hot climates such as the South of France, parts of Spain and of course in Sardegna. This wine brings out the intensity from the Cannonau grape, both in the aroma and on the palate, it is well rounded, substantial, very fruity with ripe plums, berries. It spent 3 years in oak, and I am sure it can age at least 10 more years in the bottle. The 2004, which was just put on the market, is ready to drink already, but I could see it becoming more velvety and smooth over the next few years. But at these prices who puts wine away…

Sardegna is home to some of Italy’s best values, right along with Sicily. Sella & Mosca is leading the value pack with this one as far as I am concerned and they are also not surprisingly one of the largest producers in Sardegna with about 160,000 cases a year. I need to see if their other wines are similarly good quality and value. If anyone has tried them let me know.

Name: Sella & Mosca, Cannonau di Sardegna Riserva, 2004

Rating: 8 out of 10

Body: Full

Price: 10 euros

Got it at: Rothschild Supermarket, Budapest, Hungary

Sella & Mosca, Cannonau di Sardegna Riserva, 2004