"Real wine has the ability to reconnect us with the soil, with the earth, to help us become part of the mystery of life."
The first seeds on the slopes of the Spanish region - about two hours southwest from Barcelona -
were planted by the Romans, gaining importance over the Middle Ages, when the Monastery of Cartoixa d’ Escaladei (literally “ladder to God”) recognized the potential of the place.
Carthusian monks, who tended the land for about 700 years, introduced the art of viticulture in the area, following viticulture techniques learned in Provence, France.
At the end of 19th century the conditions changed as the Phylloxera struck, devastating the vineyards and causing economic crisis and depopulation.
It wasn't until 1985 that the production of quality wines phased in.
Early on winemaking cooperatives took over; the producer René Barbier built up a group of visionaries viticulturists that revolutionised the region in the ‘70s.
Inspired by French fine winemaking techniques together with introducing its grape varieties (Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot) and the dramatic nature of Priorat, they 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 of Spain.
A place outta time
As soon as you enter Priorat, the roads start running through steep hills, uneven, dispersing between their up and downs.
A tiny rocky region, rough and dry, hit by the strong Mediterranean sun that penetrates in every crack of the soil, unsuitable for any other crops other than vineyards and olive groves, that find a unique expression under these circumstances.
There is nothing that feels concrete except for the isolation and glorious mystery of this place: as soon as you set yourself in, you softly loose the track of time, feeling the rough beauty of its wild side preserved over the history.
The terroir is an iconic mix of black slate and quartz soil known as llicorella, giving a nice mintherality to the wines.
The vineyards are dizzyingly complex, each of them has its own story: with different altitude and exposure, they bring out individual aspect of the terroir.
Right in the dry heart of Priorat, in the small village of Torroja, it is located Terroir al Limit.
Despite the difficulties of the area, with its steep slopes and dry heat, the unique soil combined with a high altitude allow the grapes to preserve a balanced acidity and smoothness, expressing powerful aromas and scents. The final outcome is an unexpected and sophisticated elegance, atypical of the traditionally heavy Priorat variety.
The producer Dominik Huber, together with its team, deals with old Carignan and Grenache vines, working as minimalistic as possible and yielding wines of infusion as opposed to extraction, in order to manipulate the less the grapes and letting them to express the authentic emotion and fine purity of the place.
Calçotada is one of the most appreciate
Did you know that...
Every place has its own curiosities.
Calçotada is one of the most appreciate Catalan traditions. This culinary local fest revolves around the typical sweet grilled spring onion known as calçots, accompanied by a heap of grilled meat. Don’t forget to stay hydrated with a generous dose of wine to enjoy better the coldest season of the year. The festival takes place from January until April in the areas surrounding Barcelona bringing out a warm atmosphere and many tourists.
What do you need to make the best out of it:
- empty stomach
- hot grill, the fire is made from pruned old vine's branches
- spring onions
- artichokes, served together with the calçots as first course
- wash it all down with wine
-second round: grilled meat including butifarra, delicious Catalan sausage
- keep staying hydrated!
Side effects: as the meal goes on, you may find yourself becoming fluent in Spanish!