Guest Post from MillesimaThis is a guest post from your best friend at Millesima. Back in 2017, I triumphed one of the smudges in Millesima’s wine blog rivalry which led to a sponsored trip to En Primeur in Bordeaux. I was so impressed with the persons involved, I’m happy to host this client berth on Food Wine Click!

The Stunning, Rugged Landscape of Priorat and its WinesHome to a stunning and rugged terrain of steeply terraced hillsides, where gnarled bush vines become available rooted in ancient schist grunges, Priorat is a region that calls out to the intrepid wine-colored sweetheart. Priorat is one of merely two appellations in Spain to achieve the reputable DOCa/ DOQ status, the other being Rioja. Nevertheless, this gorgeous terroir and its iconic red wines remain somewhat shrouded in puzzle, especially when is comparable to its Castilian compatriot. Let’s take a closer look at this dynamic pearl of a Spanish wine region, its fascinating record and its one-of-a-kind fine wines.

The Iconic Terroir of the Priorat Wine RegionThe Priorat appellation is situated in the region of Catalonia in northeastern Spain. As the local word spoken here is Catalan, many of the terms associated with the region and its wine-coloreds appear in both Catalan and Castilian Spanish. For example, the appellation tier of Priorat is DOCa( Denominacion de Origen Calificada) in Spanish but Denominacio d’Origen Qualificada( DOQ) in Catalan. More solely, Priorat is located in the province of Tarragona in the southwestern corner of Catalonia, around 150 km south of Barcelona.Despite its proximity to the Mediterranean coast, Priorat is remarkably continental in climate with long, hot and very dry times and cold winters. With an annual rainfall of merely 400 -6 00 mm, this is a very dry region, whose vegetation is of hearty stock. The few categories of vegetation that survive here include olive trees, almond trees, wild mountain herbs and grape vines. Priorat’s vines are bush vines with short-lived stems and naturally low-grade crops of less than 5 hL/ ha( is comparable to 40 hL/ ha in Burgundy, for example ). Local winemakers say that it takes all of the grapes from an entire vine to produce exactly 1 glass of Priorat wine. This rareness contributes to the high price of wines from this appellation.

Salmos Vineyard( copyright: Familia Torres)

The vineyards of Priorat are seeded on undulating terraced hillsides which reach altitudes between 100 m and 700 m above sea level. The drench downgrades of these vineyards shape mechanical soil handiwork and harvest inconceivable, further contributing to the hoisted rate of Priorat wines. Meanwhile, the hilly landscape composes a colorful patchwork of micro-terroirs, with a wide range of soil natures, appearances and ascents. The flagship grunge of Priorat is llicorella, a partially separated slate with parts of mica quartz, which indicate the rays of the sunshine and make contributions to the even ripening of the grapes. These grunges are free-draining and totally devoid of organic matter or nutrients, forcing the beginnings to mine very deep, developing in remarkable concentration of flavors in the fruit.To the north of the region, the Serra de Montsant Natural Park is visible, its bumpy walls creating a stupefying natural backdrop to the region. This mountain range protects the vineyards from freezing northerly gale, while the warm Mistral wind blows in from the east and keep the vines empty of canker. The cool, breezy conditions of Priorat make this region a prime candidate for biodynamic winemaking, which has been widely adopted, even if certification is still rare.The Grape Mixtures of PrioratThe classic red wine from Priorat is produced from a merger of Garnacha( or Grenache, or Garnatxa negre in Catalan) and Carinena( or Carignan, or Samso in Catalan ). Garnacha, representing around 41% of the region’s production, adds concentration and figure to the blend, while Carinena( at 23% of product) devotes the wine-coloreds a certain intensity, extent and delicious blood-red outcome spices. Although young Carignan elsewhere in the world is very vigorous and not specially known for producing quality fruit, many of the Carinena vines in Priorat are over 90 years old and induce singularly center fruit.Garnacha and Carinena are also blended with French varietals, like Cabernet Sauvignon( roughly 10% of product ), Syrah( another 10%) and Merlot( 7 %). Cabernet can bring additional design and black return flavors to the blend, while Syrah contributes a spicy and earthy suggestion. Merlot can lend these wine-coloureds a certain roundness.

Poboleda, Porrera, Gratallops, Bellmunt del Priorat, el Lloar, Scala Dei, la Morera de Montsant, Masos de Falset, la Vilella Alta, la Vilella Baixa, Solanes del Molar and Torroja del Priorat.Carved into the rocky and rugged countryside of Priorat and surrounded by vineyards in every direction, these hamlets volunteer the excellent places of departure from which to discover the region. Many of them too host a dynamic calendar of culture occurrences throughout the year, including religious processions, wine-coloured tastings, harvest celebrations, communal lunches and musical performances.The Cartoixa d’Escaladei: A Vestige of Priorat’s HistoryNo trip to the Priorat region is complete without a inspect to the ruins of the Cartoixa d’Escaladei( a.k.a. the Carthusian Monastery of Scala Dei. Situated on the foothills of the Montsant mountains, over its namesake village of Scala Dei, this convent was built by the Carthusian monks, who arrived in Priorat from Provence in the 12 th century. After the Romans, it was the Carthusian monastic order that was firstly responsible for planting vineyards in Priorat.

Cartoixa d’Escaladei( copyright: Adobe Stock)

The prior of the monastery, after whom the region was specified, governed over the region as a feudal lord until 1835, in which year the Spanish monasteries were expropriated by the state and redistributed to private smallholders. As the monks fled the complex, the peasants of the region- tired of paying the ponderous taxes imposed by the friars- submerge in an destroyed the buildings. Nevertheless, the wreckings of the Cartoixa, a true-blue remnant of Priorat’s winemaking history, can still be visited today.The Wines of Priorat and How Best to Enjoy ThemThe iconic red wines of Priorat are sought-after by connoisseurs around the world for their strong and intense vogue. These wine-coloreds show a sparkle fragrance of red and pitch-black outcome odors( pitch-black plums, colors cherry-reds and redcurrants ), along with an earthy garrigue touch suggestive of the baked Mediterranean herbs that can be found all over this region. The llicorella grunges are said to impart a characteristic minerality to these wine-coloureds, through savours of soggy pavement.Generally speaking, Garnacha and Carinena produce wine-coloureds with more red result odors, while the international diversities include more black outcome savors. Cabernet Sauvignon can also contribute observes of cocoa to the blend, while Syrah includes its iconic black pepper touches. On the palate, classic Priorat wines furnish large-hearted, fearless tannins, which lightened greatly over time spent aging in the bottle. The spices on the palate are in accordance with the snout, though the palate also uncovers a signature salinity, as well as some menthol notes.

Clos Mogador( copyright: Millesima)

The red wines of Priorat should be served at around 14 deg-1 7degC( 57 deg-6 3degF) in a Bordeaux glass or same. A tall glass will allow the perfume to uncover itself perfectly, while a slim container will send the wine immediately to the back of the mouth for an optimal tasting experience. These are daring and rustic wine-coloreds that will go beautifully with equally adventurous and rustic meat pairings, such as grilled sausages, grilled lamb shanks or a lentil mixture with smoked pork. They will too move delicately with a broad range of tapas, specially croquetas de jamon.Meanwhile, the rare white wines of Priorat present a saline, earthy and mineral mode to complement aromas of yellowish fruit. Their bouquet also uncovers dried herbs and flaky strokes. On the palate, they furnish high-pitched booze, but with slew of acidity to back it up. Pair these wine-coloureds with a boldly flavored fish or seafood meal, like a seafood paella flavored with saffron.And there you have it: Priorat and its wine-coloureds. Next meter you find yourself at the Spanish aisle of your wine shop or browsing through Spanish wine-coloureds online, take a break from Rioja and Ribera del Duero and give these iconic Catalan pearls a try!

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