Tasting notes: Of the wines we tasted, this one drew the most comparisons to Châteauneuf-du-Pape because of its Garnacha-forward profile and massive, muscular body. “Raisins in black leather chaps” I wrote in my tasting notes after that first whiff (for some reason … maybe the wine had me thinking about motorcylces), but eventually, the aromas seemed to conjure thoughts of concentrated figs, prunes, roses, cocoa, oak and cinnamon stick. Ratings: ★★★★★ (out of five) Tasting Notes: Notes of blueberries and black cherries, with gentle tannins and a hint of spice. This wine wants duck. By the time Mr. Barbier rolled into the region in the late 1970s, viticulture was focused on the production of bulk wine via the local cooperatives. Amongst the new group, several producers have adopted the term Clos in their name to champion the idea of site-specificity. Priorat refers to a specific region in Spain and thus, Priorat wine refers to wine from that region within Spain. Wine Tastings. and Montsant D.O. Additional flavors might include some saline (Maldon or smoked salt) and spiced (cinnamon, cardamom, molasses) notes, often with a somewhat herbal-minty or licorice-anisette finish. It is a Priorat after all. (Quack, quack.) Another thing to look for in Priorat is minerality. Italy's Most Underrated Appellation is Ready to Challenge Barolo, Looking for Balance in the Hot and Windy Southern Rhône. Grenache with Italian Panache (Sorry. While the government had made Priorat an official D.O. The wine certainly feels ambitious, aspiring for comparisons that go beyond the boundaries of Priorat. Tasting notes: A classic wine I have reviewed here on Opening a Bottle before (way back in the site’s first year), the Camins del Priorat is a surprisingly bright, light-on-its-toes and juicy — but no less powerful and bracing — wine. Today, this small but important appellation is embarking on another new chapter. It’s a nice metaphor for the wine inside: deceptively delicate. • Food-friendliness: Versatile It wasn’t that long ago that the wines from Spain’s remote, rocky region of Priorat were known more for their harsh, minerally taste and high alcohol content than for the multifaceted structure and earthy bouquets of leather, violets, blackberries and dried herbs. Serving suggestion: For optimal drinking, decant and allow to breathe for at least two hours before serving. Food Matching: Pairs well with Venison and Game. Are you listening?!). Syrah is also used in small percentages, if at all, but it will raise its hand to be known with a cut of pepper and sharpness. The typical structure of Priorat offers soft, moderate acidity matched with big, brawny tannins, and relatively high alcohol (usually in the 14% and up ABV range). You may see Priorat wines labeled as a “Vins de Vila” from one of these specific zones. The region has a record for winemaking since the creation of the Cartoixa d’Escaladei Priory in 1163 (Escaladei means “ladder to god” in Latin). Opening a Bottle is an independent online magazine focused on telling the story of unique wines, winemakers and wine regions. Tasting notes: A classic wine I have reviewed here on Opening a Bottle before (way back in the site’s first year), the Camins del Priorat is a surprisingly bright, light-on-its-toes and juicy — but no less powerful and bracing — wine. forms: { Tasting notes: The only wine produced by this Priorat winemaker is the sumptuous yet challenging Berta Franquet. Taste the wine for yourself on a 1-hour guided wine tasting at the cellars of Scala Dei, the oldest winery in the region. } ©DOQ Priorat. 15% ABU Dark ruby with the slightest tinge of purple in color. Grapes: Garnacha (40%), Cariñena (30%), Cabernet Sauvignon (20%), Syrah (10%) Several people in my tasting group lingered with this wine, and it just kept speaking in dark, piercing tones. All rights reserved. Descriptions of the aroma can include freshly wetted summer pavement (“petrichor”) with a little bit of wet clay thrown in: what you might imagine smelling while riding a cyclocross bike during a summer rain. It was 1979, and Rioja-based winemaker René Barbier must have had stars in his eyes. Pair Priorat wines with local dishes at several of the Priorat’s top restaurants. Discover with us the exciting Priorat wine lovers region! By this time, Priorat was large and well known for winemaking (with somewhere close to 12,350 acres/5000 hectares of vineyards). Carthusian monks who had learned vineyard techniques in Provence, France tended the land in Priorat for nearly 700 years until in 1835, when lands were claimed by the state and redistributed. Priorat is a very small and mountainous area in the interior of the province of Tarragona, crossed by the basins of the rivers Siurana, Montsant, and Cortiella, we spend 3 days at Priorat.In the Priorat region, wine tourists can find more than just fine wines and wineries to visit. WINE OF THE WEEK: Taste the Difference Priorat 2013 £10, Sainsbury's You can pay a small fortune for a wine from the remote, hilly region of Priorat in Catalonia – home to some of Spain’s most expensive and recherché reds – and yet Sainsbury’s manages to put this one on the shelves at £10. Something was hiding in this wine, likely because we opened it too early. Open and enjoy now … this one has entered its prime, which could be a nice long phase. “In the nicest possible way, of course.” (certified organic and biodynamic)  Touch of bitterness on the finish; some sediment. Let’s explore with this first taste guide. Since 2015, Ben and his team have helped wine and spirits brands from all over the world launch their products in the UK market. This Burgundy Village Is Not Glamorous. ©DOQ Priorat. “Drinking a young Priorat can be remarkably like sucking a stone” says Master of Wine Jancis Robinson. On the palate, the acidity seemed particularly frisky, even though the texture of the wine was plush and velvety (a nice contrast of opposing forces). Ben Franks FRSA is an award-winning wine writer and entrepreneur. This wine wants pork chops. Colorado-based wine tastings, Breaking Down Your Italian Options for New Years Eve Bubbly, Writer Clay Dillow Explores the Evolving Landscape of a Spanish Wine Goliath. The stony rubble which passes for soil (usually slate or schist though sometimes limestone, too) and the altitude and its implications for diurnal temperature variations seems to give white Priorat, when sensitively handled, aromatic nuance, a subtle but sustained acid balance, and a beguiling unfruitiness of flavour. New plantings in the 1990s followed, fueled by a desire to capitalize on the success of Barbier’s Clos Mogador, Glorian’s Clos Erasmus and Palacios’ L’Ermita. (similar story to Northern Rhone) The best age a minimum of five years before release and some include Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon for additional complexity. The Spirit of Languedoc Food & Wine Tour; Anytime Languedoc; The Princess & The Bear; Places to Stay in Carcassonne; Taste Tours. All four of the wines listed below successfully did this in my opinion, and as a result, are a good showcase of Priorat’s llicorella soil. 1990.René Barbier, a Catalan wine-maker who had studied and worked in France, arrives in Paris with three bottles of red wine he has just bottled in the Priorat.He goes to have lunch at the restaurant run by the best sommelier of the moment, Jean-Claude Jambon.René asks Jean-Claude to taste the wine he has brought from Catalonia. Priorat DOQ, Spain Finally, pay attention to vintage. They had an almost ethereal quality that is occasionally attributed to Grenache, but not commonly so in Priorat. Inspired by French quality winemaking and the dramatic nature of Priorat’s vineyards, a handful of winemakers decided to reclaim Priorat for quality wine in the late 1980s. The classic Priorat wine is made from old-vine Garnacha and Cariñena , and has concentrated aromas of licorice, tar and brandied cherries. Alcohol: 15% The practice was first introduced in the 12th century by the Carthusian monks at the monastery of Scala Dei, who tended vines and crafted wine well into the 1800s. Photo Courtesy of Clos Figueras SA. (Spanish official wine appellation) in 1954 it wasn’t until 1989 (with less than 1500 acres of vineyards), that things started to change. Oblige. Denver-based wine tastings })(); Interested in educational wine tastings in Colorado? The Clos Figueras Winery in Priorat is both hotel, restaurant and winery. Wonderful balance, but substantial alcohol. Those are very broad strokes, but the lead grape is crucial in defining the style and tenor of the wine. Denver-based wine tastings Priorat and Montsant have many small innovative producers. The tour starts with pickup at your hotel in Salou, Cambrils or Pineda. window.mc4wp = window.mc4wp || { This wine wants lamb. Pedro Ximénez: While most of Priorat's wines are dry reds, a small amount are sweet, fortified wines. Forty years ago, a simple land acquisition changed the trajectory of a sleepy, dry and rugged corner of northeastern Spain known as Priorat. Evocative, intensely aromatic, and a real show-stopper. Support Opening a Bottle by shopping at Ratings: ★★★★ 3/4 (out of five) I cannot confirm that this is a “natural” wine, but it sure felt minimally manipulated. Expect to spend: If you want a great Priorat, expect to spend in the realm of $40–$60 (top producers are often much higher). And I’ve gotta say: it has a great label. Tiny parcels Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir exist here as well, but find their way into very few wines. The broken rocks form a shallow soil that is low in organic content, and this forces the vines’ roots to explore every crevice underground in a thirsty quest for water and nutrients. And That's the Point. (organic viticulture) See the vineyards of a producer that makes wines in Priorat and Montsant and contrast the wines from each region. For a decent example, $20–$30 is about average; below this, quality is hard to find. My group of friends debating this wine a while, noting its strong reductive qualities as “funky.” But good news: they evaporated as the wine opened up, revealing a rather fascinating — if austere — wine. A Spanish regional wine blend known largely for its full, dusty red wines made primarily from Grenache and Carignan. Vinitude Wine School; Wine Tasting Evening; Tasty Tapas Wine Tastings; Food & Wine Pairing Dinner; Languedoc-Roussillon Wines Styles; Holidays & Tours. Travel to the village of Poboleda and taste wines from old vines at a family-owned winery. Priorat seems to have come a long way since our last tasting in March 2011. • Food-friendliness: Selective Beyond the fruit, there’s minerality – smoke, graphite, wet leaves and forest floor – the kind of earthy smell you get when it rains in Priorat. Alcohol: 15% Couldn't Help It). This tiny but renowned red winemaking region located just south of Barcelona, Let’s explore what makes this region so unique, and what to look for when seeking quality. But this visit to Priorat in May 2015 was a turning point–the first time I could taste such an immediate connection between the wine and the ground it comes from. Priorat isn’t exactly new to winemaking. In 2009, the Priorat DOQ added another layer to the onion — Vins de Vila. Priorat’s history with winemaking is a rollercoaster. Serving suggestion: My initial rating might be a bit low given where this wine is headed, so for now, keep it cellared for many more years. No matter what Garnacha- and Cariñena-focused winemakers in Montsant (or southern France for that matter) do, there will only be one Priorat. After three vintages, the winemakers separated and began to produce their own wines, but by then, they had grabbed the world’s attention. At the Clos Figueres Winery, located in Gratallops, you will enjoy a superb winery visit and wine tasting with three high quality wines. Yes, minerality: that does-it-or-does-it-not-exist topic that is only surpassed in vitriol — among wine connoisseurs — by the virtues of natural winemaking. Map courtesy of doqpriorat.org. Priorat’s success, born from the marriage of people and place, presents as great story, but an even better wine…, See which Priorat we used in the #winefollybook trailer! The best wines in Priorat source their fruit from old vines Garnacha and Cariñena. Breadcrumb Trail Links. Oblige. They introduced fine winemaking techniques (like small new French oak barrels), utilized French varieties, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot. What makes Priorat so special? They took a risk and attempted to make a great wine in the mountains outside of Barcelona. Watch Trailer. These grapes are often combined with Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah in the area. Priorat is one of only two appellations in Spain with the Qualified Designation of Origin (DOCa or DOQ); Rioja is the other. Priorat; Taste! The extreme (some would call it “hostile”) terrain would never be kind to viticulture, but for Barbier, it seemed like it would reward those dedicated to patience and hardwork. Taste is sour cherry with medium acidity that finishes with a strong kalmata … While some might dispute that these grapes are foreigners in Spanish soils, the various blends of Garnacha, Cariñena, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot from Priorat are all at home in Spain as well. Spain’s Boldest and Most Bracing Red Looks to the Future. Natural? The best way to get our newest bottle recommendations, winemaker profiles, First Taste Guides and vineyard stories (completely free). A producer by the name of René Barbier formed a gang of passionate viticulturists, winemakers, and advocates to create several site-specific wines in Priorat. Intensely aromatic, with fine tannins and a plush profile, but I kept waiting for it to reveal its true colors. The dominant vineyard plantings in Priorat are Garnacha (aka Grenache) and Cariñena (Carignan). The other grapes that combine to create the Priorat blend are French imports, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah. This was originally a sleeper region that made some excellent wines but was relatively unknown until well known critics such as Robert Parker started singing praises regarding the wines of that region. (function() { A detailed look into the regulatory document on DOCa Priorat shows that the 12 villages can be grouped into 4 primary taste styles. window.mc4wp.listeners.push( The wines that led with Garnacha felt more safe. Farming here must be done by hand, and the wines often see new oak, which explains the high starting price. callback: cb From its rocky lands comes this golden-yellow wine with a citrus aroma and an intense flavor. The vineyard plantings in Priorat are approximately 39% Garnacha (Grenache), 27% Cariñena (Carignan), 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Syrah, and 6% Merlot. The Priorat region is located in Tarragona, southwest of Barcelona in the southern area of Catalunya. The blend of each Priorat red varies depending on the producer. 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. } Consider exploration of the 12 villages as Priorat 201. listeners: [], Priorat wine region with tasting and sightseeing in Siurana. Then, in the late 1800s, phylloxera hit the region and devastated the vines, causing the region to collapse and depopulate. Alcohol: 15% 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. Keep in mind most wineries are located around the largest villages of Gratallops, Porrera, Poboleda, and Torroja, but great quality can be found throughout the region. The 2014s and 2016s were fine, but their complexity still seemed a bit hidden under a layers of Priorat’s bristling acidity and tannin. From a recent tasting I did with my tasting group, the Priorat wines with higher percentages of Cariñena were more challenging and more interesting. Also, be prepared for alcohol: Priorat wines are usually north of 15% ABV because of the region’s heat, but successful winemakers are able to balance this with dark fruit, tempered acidity and fine tannins. Priorat DOQ, Spain Priorat is a small, dynamic wine region in Catalonia, north-eastern Spain, whose intense, full-bodied red wines have shot to fame in the past few decades. These original five labels, Clos Mogador, Clos Dofí (now Finca Dofí ), Clos de L’Obac , Clos Martinet , and Clos Erasmus all  received intense international attention and high ratings for their outstanding wines in the middle 1990s. Priorat also boasts one of the most distinctive soil types in the wine world — a coppery brown, iron-rich slate known locally as llicorella. Ratings: ★★★★ 1/2 (out of five) Limited number available. Grapes: Garnacha (49%), Cariñena (25%), Syrah (16%), Cabernet Sauvignon (10%) They adopted the French-inspired site-specific term of Clos, meaning “protected” or “walled” vineyard in their winery names. Serving suggestion: For optimal serving, open a half hour before serving. It is perfect to accompany seafood and fish with intense flavors such as sea bream and sea bass.

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