Vega Escal

"This wine is a good example of the move...toward reds that show a cleaner and clearer expression of the place, rather than emphasizing power." —
Patricio Tapia, Wine & Spirits Magazine
Appellation
Priorat D.O.Q.
Grape(s)
27% Merlot, 26% Garnacha Negra, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cariñena, and 7% Syrah from vines between 10-50 years old
Altitude/Soil
260 meters / combination of granite and Llicorella (slate)
Farming Methods
Sustainable; dry farmed
Harvest
Hand harvested in starting in mid-September
Production
Bunches are hand sorted, 3 day cold maceration with skins, 30 day fermentation with daily pump-over
Aging
Aged for 8 months in French oak barrels, further aging in bottle prior to release
Suggested Retail Price
$27
Wine Name
Scores
Downloads
Reviews
Vega Escal 2011
92 (W&S) 90 (VM) 89 (WE)
Score Publication Review Copy
92 Wine & Spirits Magazine Over the last few years, Priorat vintners have been moving toward reds that show a cleaner and clearer expression of the place, rather than emphasizing power. This wine is a good example of the move. A blend of 50 percent garnacha, 40 percent cariñena and 10 percent syrah grown in the warm hills of Gratallops, it's filled with lush raspberry and strawberry flavors that reflect the region's sunny, hot days, as well as mineral tones from the soils that bring freshness and depth. It vibrates with energy, supple yet ample.
90 Vinous Media (aged in a combination of French and American oak, 20% new, for six months): Vivid ruby. Spicy redcurrant, raspberry and fresh flowers on the perfumed nose. Silky, spicy and seamless, offering deep, energetic red berry flavors. The smooth, lively and long finish displays an echoing raspberry note, gentle tannins and a touch of smokiness.
89 The Wine Enthusiast Earthy berry and licorice aromas are composed, lightly oaked and attractive. This standard Priorato blend of Grenache, Carignan and Syrah is fresh feeling, with a bolt of bracing acidity. Juicy plum and raspberry flavors finish loamy, earthy and balanced. For a wine that’s no heavyweight, this is strong throughout. Drink through 2018.
Decanter World Wine Awards Long and generous, baked fruit tones glisten against bright acidity on the persistent palate. Wonderful structural clarity injects interest, whilst oak tones intrigue. Great value.
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Vega Escal 2014
92 (IWR) 92 (VfC) 91 (VM) *** (WP)
Score Publication Review Copy
92 International Wine Report A blend of largely Grenache with the remainder Syrah and Carignan, this starts off with heady aromas of boysenberry cordial, pipe tobacco and damp earth. Smooth and plush, the wine unveils a nice combination of red and dark fruits in the glass. Building over time, herbal notes come into play and add further complexity.
June 2018
92 View from the Cellar The 2014 vintage of Vega Escal is comprised of a blend of fifty-five percent garnaxta, twenty-five percent cariñena and twenty percent syrah. The wine is raised in a combination of French Allier and American oak casks, but only for six months’ time, so as to not get too oaky. This vintage comes in at 14.5 percent alcohol and offers up a complex bouquet of black raspberries, cassis, roasted meats, stony soil tones, garrigue and a bit of smoky new oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, focused and very well-balanced, with a fine core of fruit, good soil signature, lovely textural sophistication and a long, modestly tannic and complex finish. This is excellent juice, with a sense of restraint that is very hard to find in Priorat! 2020-2050.
Issue #78 - November/December 2018
91 Vinous Media Inky ruby. Vibrant and focused on the nose, displaying fresh, dark berry, pungent floral aromas, hints of licorice and smoky minerals. Offers sharply focused blackberry and bitter cherry flavors that show very good depth as well as vibrancy thanks to a spine of juicy acidity. Finishes with very good focus and mineral drive, leaving behind a subtly sweet floral pastille note. (raised in new and used French/American oak barrels)
Drink 2019-2025
Mediterranean Spain: Diversity and Consistency, April 25, 2019
*** The Washington Post Score: *** Stars (Exceptional/Great Value)
Priorat is Spain’s Chateauneuf-du-Pape in that it produces big red wines with ample tannin and alcohol. This wine has a bit of an identity crisis, as it’s labeled as a blend of grenache (the French name for what is garnacha in Spain), shiraz (the Australian name for syrah) and carignan (which is sometimes called carinena in Spain). Never mind that: The wine is delicious, and big, with firm tannic structure and a bright core of fruit shining through. Alcohol by volume: 14 percent.
"Five $20 wines good enough for a millionaire like Steven Mnuchin" Dave McIntyre - May 11, 2018
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Vega Escal 2015
Silver Medal (MV) 92 (VfC) 91 (WS) 91 (I-WR) 90 (VM)
Score Publication Review Copy
Silver Medal Mundus Vini Mundus Vini - SILVER
23rd Grand International Wine Award - 2018
92 View from the Cellar The 2015 Vega Escal Crianza is composed of a blend of thirty-nine percent Garnaxta, twenty-five percent Carignan, twenty-one percent Cabernet Sauvignon, eleven percent Syrah and four percent Merlot. The wine is raised in a combination of French and American oak casks for eighteen months prior to bottling and the 2015 comes in at an even fourteen percent alcohol, which is quite moderate for this region in the vintage. The bouquet here is deep and complex, offering up scents of raspberries, cassis, grilled meats, garrigue, lovely spice tones, a bit of olive, stony soil and cedary oak. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, focused and nascently complex, with fine depth at the core, ripe, well-integrated tannins and a long, well-balanced and promising finish. I really like how the syrah component here adds to the complexity of the wine, as it shows more influence on both the nose and palate than its eleven percent might suggest. This is really good wine in the making, but it deserves some time in the cellar to soften up properly. It is going to be excellent! This bottling sells for $27 in the US, making it perhaps the single finest value from Priorat that I have tasted in the last twenty years! Impressive juice. 2023-2055.
Issue #78 - November/December 2018
91 Wine Spectator This red shows density without heaviness, delivering ripe plum, currant, licorice, spice and loamy earth flavors in a round texture, supported by well-integrated tannins and fresh acidity. Shows a good balance of fruity and savory notes. Lively and harmonious. Garnacha, Cariñena, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot. Drink now through 2025.
Jun 15, 2019
91 International Wine Review The Vega Escal Crianza is a blend of 39% Garnacha, 25% Carinena, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Syrah and 4% Merlot. Sourced from granite and slate vineyards, it offers earthy herbal mineral notes on the nose and has a mineral-like texture. It reveals good extract and firmness on the finish. Made by new winemaker Fernando Mora.
"Spanish Wines of Value and Quality" - June 20, 2019
90 Vinous Media Brilliant violet color. A spice-accented bouquet evokes fresh cherry, blackberry and licorice, along with floral and mineral overtones. Supple and expansive on the palate, offering juicy red/blue fruit and floral pastille flavors that are sharpened by a peppery flourish. The long, gently sweet finish is shaped by fine-grained tannins leaving zesty spice and mineral notes behind. (raised for 18 months in new and used French oak barrels)
Drink 2021-2030
Mediterranean Spain: Diversity and Consistency, April 25, 2019
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Vega Escal 2017
94 (W&S) 91+ (VfC)
Score Publication Review Copy
94 Wine & Spirits Magazine Vega Escal covers 84 acres in the west end of Priorat, in and around the famed vineyard of Gratallops. The 2017 is a blend of equal parts merlot, garnacha and cabernet sauvignon, with small amounts of cariñena and syrah, aged in both French and American barrels. It showcases flavors of blue and black fruit rounded out with notes of fresh vanilla bean and toffee. It smells of wood, but in a pleasant way, with notes of fresh tree bark and whisky. Decant it to let it open up, and serve it with grilled meats.
October 2020 Issue
91+ View from the Cellar The 2017 Vega Escal is composed of an eclectic blend of twenty-seven percent merlot, twenty-six percent garnaxta, twenty-five percent cabernet sauvignon, fifteen percent carinena and seven percent syrah. All of the vineyards are planted on a combination of slate and granite. The wine is aged for eight months in French casks prior to bottling. The 2017 comes in listed at 14.5 percent alcohol and delivers a fine aromatic constellation of raspberries, spiced meats, stony minerality, cigar wrapper, clove-like spice tones and cedar. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and complex, with excellent mineral drive, a fine core of fruit, firm, chewy tannins and a long, well-balanced and quite classy finish. This carries its octane very well indeed, with perhaps just a wisp of backend heat perceptible. I do not know what percentage of the casks used here are new, but there are some wood tannins on the finish that are not yet fully integrated into the wine, so give it some time in the cellar. I would love to see it raised entirely in one and two wine casks in the future, so one would not have to wait for the wood tannins to be absorbed. This wine is built to age long and gracefully and at $27 a bottle retail here in the US, this has to be one of the finest values to be found from the entire region of Priorat! 2027-2055.
John Gilman - Issue #91 / February 2021
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