Launched in the mid 2000, this small winery based in Torroja del Priorat revolutionised the working methods of this rugged appellation and anticipated some of the current trends in this Catalan region. The project is the brainchild of South African producer Eben Sadie -maker of Columella-, German businessman Dominik A. Huber and local grower Jaume Sabaté. Sadie and Huber had both previously dabbled in the area, but the new partnership encouraged a new vision and a different approach in the cellar.
French viticulture methods were put in practice on the vineyard and wines were divided into village wines (anticipating themselves to the region's official subdivision and the vi de la vila category), vi de coster (literally slope wines or Premier Cru) and vi d'altura, which would be the equivalent of a Grand Cru. A preference for Carignan and Garnacha, the latter ideally coming from soils other than slate; avoidance of excessive ripening and early harvests; fermentation with stems (now removed before it is completed) in open plastic vats and minimum use of oak, preferably larger foudres. They began with just over 10,000 bottles and five different type of wines, a rather unusual practice at the time.
Nowadays, Terroir al Limit has lost one of his partners. Eben Sadie bowed out due to his commitments in South Africa, where he runs two wineries. Production reaches 40,000 bottles (90% are exported) and two new whites have been added. The expensive portfolio starts with the white Terra de Cuques (€30, 90% Pedro Ximénez, 10% Muscat) and the red Vi de la Vila (village wine) de Torroja (€29), focused on aromatics rather than structure. The vins de costers range includes two very different Carignan single varietals: Arbossar (€53, north facing own vineyard, fresh and balsamic) and Dits del Terra (€53, south facing vineyard, grippy structure and mineral notes); and the white Pedra de Guix (€53, 80% white Garnacha, Macabeo and Pedro Ximénez), which ably combines structure and good acidity. The two top wines come from high altitude vineyards: Les Tosses (€180, 100% Carignan), which they own and produces a very mineral wine suitable for long aging; and Les Manyes (€180, 100% Garnacha), from red clay soils on the Montsant mountain producing a deeply elegant, pure and aromatic wine with a spectacularly long finish.
In October, the winery holds its own harvest party where its wines are served along with others from visiting wineries from other countries.