Priorat wine tour – where it all began…
A Priorat wine tour was somehow a natural way of coming back to the point where life led us into traveling, wine and incredible food.
It was back in 2003 when I got a job as a bike and wine guide with Swedish travel agency Merlot Resor AB. My mission was to know the wine appellation like the back of my hand, also find the perfect spots to serve picnics with local food and be a helping hand in general.
It is something magic bout this region, a little oasis not far from the crowded Mediterranean coast and some of its tourist destinations.
The first thing that hits you when you stop is the silence. Not far away from the loud Costa Dorada and Salou, it seems like you are really in the middle of nowhere. The views are stunning, the spring flowers in multicolored bloom and the sensation of being in a very special place will invade you. Alvaro Palacios, one of the responsible of the rediscovery of this small (but huge) wine region often talks about the supremacy of wines from holy regions. So true. Palacios, born in La Rioja hooked up with René Barbier, a French/Catalan winemaker. The Spanish word for terroir or soil is terruño and that was the first thing the non Priorat winemakers noticed and praised, in combination with old Garnacha and Cariñena vines growing in steep hard worked slopes.
DOC Priorat is one of the smallest wine appellations in Spain. This Catalan wine region, highly appreciated and somewhat hyped, is actually producing the most expensive wines in Spain.
Its landscape has been compared to a stormy sea with the small villages that almost vanished before the wine recovered, as small ships on top of the waves or down in the valleys.
Its volcano licorella stony soil gives a true mineral touch to the wines and the old Garnacha and Cariñena vines give low yields with high concentrated fruit always on top of the oak. The Licorella also does a great job draining the land and deep down it keeps some of the moist and humidity for the deep Priorat vine roots searching for water.
Priorat is a very rural area of Cataluña with a colorful wilderness and breathtaking sceneries from the Montsant Mountains. History and culture are also very present, beginning with the Scala Dei legacy monastery ruins spiritually embracing every corner.
But Priorat is also a land of pioneers where tradition has turned into modernity in food & wine. It is an amazing and true success story of a rural area. People were leaving but today the area is actually growing quite fast.
A Priorat wine tour with surrounding Montsant is a must-do tour in Spain either you do it in a group or travel on your own. It is easy to access: you can fly to Tarragona or Barcelona, rent a car and it is just a short drive from the coast. A better option is to pick out the cherries with us…and join our first Wine Tour to Priorat in May & June 2016!
On our Tour we take you to our favorite highlights and gems. But, if you travel by yourself don´t miss…
- The stunning views from the Montsant mountains. Drive to Morera de Montsant, take one of several walking trails from the higher part of the village and then have lunch at the only restaurant in the village.
- Drive from Morera, Scala Dei (stop to see the monastery ruins), Torroja and Porrera… Walk the villages & schedule a winery visit or two.
- Go on to Falset and have dinner at La Quinoa or at more fancy El Celler Del Aspic.
- Walk up to the Castell de Ví – the wine museum or schedule a visit to the modernistic cooperative.
To round up this post we link you to some of our favorite videos from Priorat and our promotional video for the 5 day tour in May/June 2016. ¡Benvinguts!
About Álvaro Palacios (in Spanish)
Some beautiful sceneries from the region (in Spanish)