Priorat is a small but highly considered red winemaking region located just south of Barcelona, Spain.
Those of us who have an obsession for bold red wines gravitate to places like Priorat: a tiny mountainous region, rugged and dry, pretty much unsuitable for any other crop… except for wine grapes and olives. Add to this situation the intense love of the Mediterranean sun, and Priorat ascends to the top of the rich, ripe red wine pantheon.
Priorat’s story is inspiring; to think about how the work of a small group of winemakers (who shared resources) were able to change the fate of an entire region–so much so, that the wines of Priorat are among the finest (and most expensive) wines of Spain. Priorat’s success, born from the marriage of people and place, presents as great story, but an even better wine…
A lil’ history
Priorat isn’t exactly new to winemaking. The region has a record for winemaking since the creation of the Cartoixa d’Escaladei Priory in 1163. Carthusian monks tended the land in Priorat for nearly 700 years. By this time, Priorat was large and well known for winemaking. Then, in the late 1800s phylloxera hit the region and devastated the vines, causing the region to collapse and depopulate. It wasn’t until 1989 (with less than 1500 acres of vineyards), that things started to change.
Today, with investment and interest inspired by the original five Clos, there are now 4,696 acres (1,900 hectares) of vineyards with nearly 100 wineries (and 600 growers). Amongst the new group, several producers have adopted the term Clos in their name to champion the idea of site specificity.
The vineyard plantings in Priorat are approximately 39% Garnacha (Grenache), 27% Cariñena (Carginan), 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Syrah and 6% Merlot. The blend of each Priorat red varies depending on the producer.
The other grapes that combine to create the Priorat blend are French imports including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah.
Taste of Priorat Wines
Sun-dried red and black plum, black cherry, and cassis (red and black currant) dominate the aroma profile of high quality Priorat red wine. Beyond the fruit, you’ll notice a distinct, “black stone” or “hard rock” minerality that some experts relate to the iconic llicorella slate soils of the region. This aroma is sometimes described as freshly wetted summer pavement (“petrichor”) with a little bit of wet clay thrown in: what you might imagine smelling while riding a cyclecross bike during a summer rain.
Outstanding: 2010, 2004
Good: 2013, 2012, 2009, 2008, 2005
Have a look at our featured premium full day wine tour in the Priorat region with private tasting, private cellars visit with domain owner and lunch with stunning views.