The Priorat is a fascinating, beautiful area which so far has remained undiscovered by only the most discerning visitor.
DOQ Priorat - Before the pioneers...
The mountainous inland region of Priorat County is home to two wine appellations: DOQ Priorat, one of the best wine regions in Spain these days and DO Montsant, an up-and-coming wine region which affectionately hugs the central DOQ Priorat wine region./holds the DOQ Priorat in its arms/ a loving embrace.
As a complementary alternative to the more famous, Garnatxa based wineries, this 3 day adventure will take us around the Priorat region to discover what wine critics are all raving about these days.
Once the poor relation in Mediterranean grape-growing, the Carinyena or Carignan (or Samsó or Mazuelo as it is now known as officially on wine labels) is coming into it s own in the guise of full-bodied and yet gentle, perfumed wines which are surprising wine consumers who are taking this grape variety seriously.
in 1979, René Barbier (from Tarragona) and his family bought their first vineyards in Priorat. Together with like-minded friends and colleagues (Alvaro Palacios, Carles Pastrana, Daphne Glorian, Josep Lluís Perez, Rosario, Adrian Garsed.....) he formed a small group of inquisitive wine enthusiasts and started to make their first wine together in 1989 in Gratallops. The rest is now history, but this tour will allow you to catch a glimpse of what changed in Priorat in the early Nineties thanks to this group's hard work and determination.
The so-called Gratallops Revolution which René and his friends started has meant that over the last few decades, Gratallops has become synonymous with Garnatxa-based wines. Alvaro Palacios is rapidly converting his many Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards to Garnatxa and there are some wonderful examples of Garnatxa in the DO Montsant wine region too, especially in the village of La Figuera. This 3 day tour takes in both DOQ Priorat And DO Montsant wineries and the historical places of Priorat county, viewpoints, foodie interests along the way to make for 3 very instructive days i Priorat County.
Despite the stardom of the so-called CLOS wineries of Gratallops, before these famous brands irrupted on the Priorat wine scene, there were 3-4 other producers who had already started the difficult task of improving winemaking techniques in Priorat. These were the Scala Dei wineries and Masia Barril, the Vinicola cooperative of Gratallops and De Muller...
Wine Critic, José Peñin once said that Masia Barril "was the hinge between the Priorat based on the cooperative movement from the 1970s and the bursting in on the scene of the Clos wineries of the 1990s, headed up by José Lluís Pérez, Àlvaro Palacios René Barbier and Carles Pastraña".
GARNATXA - TRULY, MADLY, DEEPLY
CARINYENA (CARIGNAN) - LIKE BEING WRAPPED IN VELVET....