Against All Odds – A wine region that thrives
Talking about modern Spanish wines without mentioning the Priorat region would be strange, and possibly even an insult.
This is a region that, along with Ribeira Sacra, has had all the odds thrown against it and yet it still survives. Not only that, but it positively thrives!
Priorat is a very special region for so many reasons. It is located among the hills of Tarragona, southwest of Barcelona. The region is very dry, with mountains surrounding it. The landscape is abrupt, broken up and quite chilling in places. It is difficult to imagine that someone thought the region would be a good place to grow vines...nevertheless, they are here. The soil is mainly made up of a type of red slate that is very poor in nutrients; it is also very hard to work with.
The vines are so stretched here that they may only produce 1 kilogram of grapes per year against the 6 or 7 kilograms per plant that can be achieved in the nearby region of Penedes. This is due to all of the factors mentioned, poor soil, limited water supply, as well as a great deal of old vines. However, the quality of the grapes and a large majority of the wines that are produced here are phenomenal. Because the vines produce so little, the concentration of flavours and aromas is much more intense, almost balsamic, and the mineral sensation that lingers in your mouth after tasting a Priorat, stays in your mouth for a long time and, becomes embedded in your memory forever.
Many wine producers have now started to put a lot more effort and attention into this region since the great Alvaro Palacios created a humble winery here and reached the Olympian level with one of the wines he produced. His famous L’Ermita gained many renowned awards worldwide. At around 1000€ per bottle this wine is surely the elixir of the Gods...
Trossos del Priorat is one of the newer entrepreneurs in this area. It is a winery and hotel that is nestled in the hills just outside the town of Gratallops. This town is one of the wine capitals of the region, along with Porrera. The building itself has been stylishly designed to blend in with the landscape and from each room it is possible to admire the amazing integration of the mountains and the vineyard. Along with a high standard of service at the hotel, you will also find a passionate team and a driven winemaker. This is a fabulous combination that achieves tremendous results.
The wines from Trossos del Priorat are a reflection of the style of wine that Priorat has to offer. These wines are concentrated, elegant, sophisticated and full of flavour.
With a range of mineral whites (that are rare for this area) and bold reds, this winery has all fronts covered.
Llum d'Alba is a white wine that uses a blend of Garnacha Blanca, Macabeo and Viognier grapes. It is a fresh, light wine but as it spends 4 months, ‘sur lie’, it also has structure and body. This wine is a white pearl to enjoy with many summer fish dishes.
Lo Mon is a red wine that combines Garnacha, Cariñena, Syrah and Cabernet grapes. It is aged in French oak barrels for 12 months. This is a lovely, elegant wine that will not empty your wallet. It is rich and velvety but it also has a fresh and fragrant quality to it.
Pam de Nas uses Garnacha and Cariñena grapes from really old vines. This is an elegant, complex red wine that will fill your glass with spiced aromas and red fruit. This is a rather special wine to enjoy as they do not make many bottles.
If you get the opportunity, it is worth exploring the Priorat region, whether you go to enjoy the wines that are produced here, or to admire the dramatic landscape.
Either way, you won’t be disappointed.