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Terroir al Límit

Priorat Remastered

In just twenty years Dominik Huber has created something unique in Priorat and, arguably, in Spain as a whole. While these Catalan hills south of Barcelona are no stranger to critically fêted wine, Huber’s transparent, pared-back examples are both striking and radical in the Priorat context. His is a style of Priorat that has seen critics and other wine people scrambling to offer plaudits and comparisons. 

Through many years of trial and error, Huber has managed to evolve a style of Priorat that is all about mesmerising finesse, purity and freshness. With old-vine Carignan and Grenache as the conduit for the reds, Huber has now shown the wine world that Priorat wines do not have to be heavy, thick and oaky. And he has also shown that the whites of the region can be every bit as great as the reds. They are beautiful, textural and mineral whites that taste as if they’ve been tapped directly from Priorat’s rocky soils.

Dominik Huber’s wines have redefined what we all once thought was possible from the vineyards of Catalonia.

Huber’s vineyard selection has involved a search for high-altitude, old-vine plots that allow him to harvest ripe fruit with maximum freshness. He practices biodynamic viticulture and picks as early as possible (he would pick even earlier if the DOCa allowed it). Huber uses whole-bunch (there’s no de-stemmer at the winery) and carbonic fermentation to significant effect, favouring an infusion-over-extraction approach. The wines are raised in concrete only. All this lends Huber’s wines an almost Burgundian-like shape and structure, generating vibrancy and succulence, with the emphasis placed squarely on the glowing, stony, mineral essence of Priorat’s soils.

Terroir al Límit is a domaine in a constant state of progress, forever seeking to refine and improve their way of working. The arrival of head winemaker Tatjana Peceric to assist Dominik Huber, and the quality emanating from the Montsant project, Terroir Sense Fronteres, are two significant examples in point. In recent years, the range has been downscaled to allow more focus on what Rajat Parr has termed the domaine’s “maniacal farming practices”. 

Currently Available

Terroir al Límit Priorat Históric Blanc 2022

Terroir al Límit Priorat Históric Blanc 2022

Terroir Históric is Dominik Huber’s homage to the wines of Priorat before high-octane winemaking techniques from France—and the influence of stateside critics—took hold. With this idea to create an all-encompassing view of Priorat, the vineyards for Históric cover multiple soil types and terroirs across these concertinaed hills: from slate to clay and granite to alluvial soils; from aubagues (shady spots) to solanes (sunny spots); and from 350 to 800 metres in altitude. All sites are certified organic.This white is 75% Grenache Blanc and 25% Macabeo, roughly the same blend as would have been used generations ago. Over the years the style has lessened its reliance on skin contact, so today the grapes are mostly pressed as whole clusters, with the juice wild-fermented and raised on lees for six months in a 5,000-litre concrete tank. No destemming, no stainless steel, no pigeage, no extraction and no new oak—nothing added, nothing taken away. The result is a fresh, mineral and expressive white that oozes texture and stony savouriness.

Terroir al Límit Priorat Históric Blanc 2022
Terroir al Límit Priorat Históric Negre 2021

Terroir al Límit Priorat Históric Negre 2021

The Históric Negre is 75% Grenache and 25% Carignan—roughly the same blend as used in this region a generation ago. A healthy dose of the Grenache was grown in La Morera, high in the Montsant ranges on clay/limestone soils. The remainder of the fruit came from vines throughout Priorat, grown on slate and schist, providing savoury minerality. Fermented as whole clusters with indigenous yeasts, the wine was then aged for six months in a 5,000-litre concrete tank.The style is juicy, lifted and enticing; floral tones over cherry fruit, subtle spice and earthy, smoky tones. It’s a lovely, old-is-new-again Priorat, packed with pure fruit and minerality, with no hint of oak treatment. It has a long, juicy finish with just a pinch of very fine tannins. As is custom, this represents outstanding value for money, and we challenge you to stop at just one glass. Hands down the finest red we have tasted under this label. 

“The red 2021 Terroir Históric has moderate ripeness and 13.5% alcohol from a slightly cooler year that resulted in a tighter wine that is a little closed. It was bottled a little earlier with good freshness, more vertical and a little reticent but with balance. It has purity and is clean, with fine tannins. It aged exclusively in stainless steel (in the past they used concrete). It's medium-bodied, fresh and easy to drink.”
93 points, Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate
Terroir al Límit Priorat Históric Negre 2021
Terroir al Límit Priorat Terra de Cuques Negre 2019

Terroir al Límit Priorat Terra de Cuques Negre 2019

Terra de Cuques Negre is the new name for Terroir al Límit’s former Torroja Vi de Vila (village wine). This is primarily because Huber wanted to introduce fruit from a variety of villages, not only Torroja. This 2019 is the second release to include fruit from several small vineyards in the cooler, high-altitude terroirs of Poboleda and La Morera, heading northwards towards the Montsant ranges. Despite the new vineyards, the wine remains an equal split of Carignan and Grenache. Over 350 metres above sea level, these vineyards are some of the highest old-vine red sites in Priorat (the youngest vines for this blend are more than 30 years old). Most of the vines sit on llicorella slate soils, except for a portion of the Grenache, which is planted on much sparser limestone/clay soils. This cuvée is also the beneficiary of any declassified material from Terroir al Límit’s top vineyards. Made with 100% whole bunches, the grapes were harvested by hand and layered into tank, where their weight produced just enough juice to begin fermentation. The wine was raised in 3,500-litre Stockinger foudres and a variety of concrete tanks for 14 months. 

"The red 2019 Terra de Cuques was produced with a 50/50 blend of Garnacha and Cariñena from different vineyards around the village of Torroja (there are some grapes from Poboleda, a cooler village). The grapes fermented in equal parts in stainless steel and concrete, then the wine matured in concrete and oak foudres (for the last time before they got rid of all the oak in the winery). It has the same alcohol on the label as the 2021 that I tasted next to it, as they didn't produce a 2020, but the profile of the wine is more open, juicy and expressive, a little more approachable if you like, with fine tannins and a pleasant mouthfeel."
93 points, Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate
Terroir al Límit Priorat Terra de Cuques Negre 2019
Terroir al Límit Priorat Dits del Terra 2021

Terroir al Límit Priorat Dits del Terra 2021

Dits del Terra is another Vi de Coster (equivalent to 1er Cru). It can be thought of as Arbossar’s south-facing sibling. It is also 100% Carignan, from three schist-rich sites where the vines are more than 80 years old. Dits del Terra was one of the first vineyards that Huber and his then-partner, Eben Sadie, acquired when they started making wine together in Priorat. The south-facing terroir brings more flesh and power, yet also beautiful acidity. The viticulture is, as always, biodynamic, and this site is currently undergoing organic certification. Huber and Peceric infuse the juice gently, using a jug to pour it over the whole bunches, and from 2021 it is vinified entirely in concrete. Again, there is so much brightness and charm, with svelte tannins and precise acidity slowly tapering to a lingering, mineral close. Priorat-Chambertin, anyone?

“The 2021 Dits del Terra shows lower alcohol and more freshness, and it has an herbal note and feels very young and undeveloped. Like most of the 2021s, they shortened the time of aging, and it was completely in concrete and didn't touch any oak (they sold all the foudres). There's purity and precision, elegance and freshness.”
96 points, Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate
“Reductive and a little decadent on the nose with some dried roses, ripe berries, wet earth and moss. Extremely bright and lively on the fleshy palate with lots of sap, succulent and fine, firm tannins. Meaty fruit with so much verve and purity. Long and broad finish. Drink or hold.”
96 points, Zekun Shuai, jamessuckling.com
Terroir al Límit Priorat Dits del Terra 2021
Terroir al Límit Priorat Terra de Cuques Blanc 2022

Terroir al Límit Priorat Terra de Cuques Blanc 2022

This is a Vi de Terra Viva—the equivalent of a village wine. From 2022, the Terra de Cuques white is a blend of Grenache Blanc (60%) and Pedro Ximenez (40%), from 25-plus-year-old vines on slate/clay in La Morera del Montsant. The vineyards face northeast and are 400 to 600 metres 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 refreshing acidity. The bush vines also play a role in maximising coolness and freshness. As with all the whites here, this is evolving to be a more precise and focused style, while the inclusion of Grenache Blanc further contributes precision and freshness. The grapes are hand-harvested, fermented as whole bunches for five days in stainless steel and cement tanks, and then aged for six months in cement. It’s a wonderfully unique expression of high-country Priorat, with mouth-coating texture and beautifully entwined, energising mineral grip.

“Jasmine floralness with tile, beeswax, stones and dried lemon peel. Full-bodied and firm on the palate with solid tannins and a long, ample finish. Lovely phenolics. Garnacha blanca and macabeo. 8908 bottles filled. Drink or hold.”
94 points, Zekun Shuai, jamessuckling.com
Terroir al Límit Priorat Terra de Cuques Blanc 2022
Terroir al Límit Priorat Les Tosses 2019

Terroir al Límit Priorat Les Tosses 2019

Vi d’Altura, the equivalent of Grand Cru wine. There are two Vi d’Altura, or pinnacle wines, 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 (for Les Manyes). They are simply, two of the greatest red wines emanating from Spain today.The two-hectare Les Tosses vineyard sits on a stony ridge of deep, black slate soils to the northeast of the village of Torroja at an incredible altitude of 650 metres. It is one of the very few ancient vineyards at this height. The 80-year-old bush vines here are mainly Cariñena with a tiny percentage of Garnatxa. They face east, like watchmen guarding the valley, and are planted at a density of 6,605 plants per hectare. These vines, along with those of Les Manyes, receive the most intricate attention from the TaL team, with each vine attended to as a most prized possession. Dominik Huber only uses the best portion of this ‘Grand Cru’ site for this bottling (the rest goes into the village wine). The fermentation was 100% whole bunches with indigenous yeasts. Pressing occurred halfway through the fermentation and then half the wine went into concrete vessels for 20 months. Yes, it is not cheap, but it is one of Spain’s finest reds and is made in tiny quantities.

“Deep, whilst also elegant, composed, slightly shy and introverted. Exceptional balance and real harmony to this carignan, which shows cement, red dates, white pepper, herbs and fresh-toned blue and black berries. Very intellectual, honest and understated, with a smooth delivery of concentrated red-date and cranberry flavors. Stimulating and thought-provoking. A great wine.”
97 points, James Suckling, jamessuckling.com
Terroir al Límit Priorat Les Tosses 2019
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“I revelled in these stunning Priorats [of Terroir al Límit] ... These are wines that offer intensity of flavour instead of overwhelming power, and elegance and personality on a worldclass level.” Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate

“I tasted a really breathtaking collection of wines here, both whites and reds. Terroir al Límit is one of the names that are defining the Priorats of the 21st century.” Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate

“Next level wines. I can think of few Spanish producers making wines of such excitement, charisma and transparent-feeling representation of place. Terroir al Límit produce cuvees of skeletal architecture, and filigreed expression of grape varieties, like no other from Priorat, let alone Spain.” Mike Bennie, The Wine Front

“Beauty and finesse are not words I often use about Priorat reds, but I make an exception for these wines. Dominik Huber is that rare breed of winemaker: someone capable of putting a whole new interpretation on the wines of his region.” Huon Hooke, The Real Review

Country

Spain

Primary Region

Priorat, Catalunya

People

Winemakers: Dominik Huber & Tatjana Peceric

Availability

National

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