The Billo vineyard is 6.3 hectares, 4.5 ha of which is vineyard. The ‘Mas’ is a little secret basin valley, with north, south and westerly aspects arrayed around an old (1720) Masia or farmhouse, called ‘Mas del Billo’. Billo had been abandoned for 20-30 years when Blai purchased it, and had largely returned to wildness. He planted Billo in 1999 onto low vigour, drought-adapted rootstocks – a mix of 40% each Garnatxa and Syrah, with Carinyena and Cabernet, following the trend of the time.
Blai’s style is to under-extract and gently nurture wines so that the dazzling minerality of Priorat’s smoky schist can shine through in the wines. He picks on taste, ferments with wild yeast and does not acidify (the wines are around 5.5 g/l TA). A light sulphur addition is given pre-bottling, which takes place without filtration. Varieties are fermented separately in 2,000 litre stainless, temperature-controlled to around 27 degrees. Billo spends about 25 days macerating at just 24 degrees. Although matured in stainless, long maturation helps avoid reduction – it’s aged 10 months before bottling without oak.
Fine, radiant floral red berry and brightly mineral, with a shot of cold dark tea, touch of angelica, branch, subtle glycerol and boysenberry. Mid-weight, round, gathered and releasing, finely laced with acid and spice threading out from radiating tannin fronds, gently earthen, polished, both lifted and lingering. GREAT.