Tasting notes: The 2006 Melis Priorat, like the region itself, exhibits contrasts. Black cherry and sweet floral notes greet the nose, while on the palate, the wine conjures earthier flavors of licorice, sandalwood, tobacco, and slatelike minerality. Worth knowing: In 1984, Victor Gallegos and Javier Lopez, friends and fellow students at the University of California, Davis, arrived to investigate Priorat, which was an obscure winemaking area in Spain. Its climatic extremes and unique soil (composed of a blue-black slate the Catalans call llicorella) captivated the pair, and, upon returning to Davis, they agreed they would make wine there someday. After graduating, Lopez returned to his native Spain, and Gallegos eventually became general manager and director of winemaking at Sea Smoke Cellars. In 2000, with Russ Weis, Gallegos and Lopez bought 47 terraced acres containing 100-year-old Cariñena vines and debuted with the 2004 vintage.