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Wines from Priorat

A Mighty Wine Region in Catalonia, Spain

Priorat, which is located just south of Barcelona, is a small but very famous red winemaking region.

In short, we can introduce Priorat as an agricultural region with greater history, as well as wealth.

Here, we can see the vineyards growing near the majestic olive trees and this makes the colours of the Priorat landscape very beautiful and attractive.

It’s for this reason that we should not stop with tasting the Priorat wines, but we need to take an extra mile to visit the Priorat vineyards too.

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Let’s see more about the Priorat winemaking and viticulture here…

History and Geography of Priorat Wine Region

It’s amazing to note that the history of winemaking in the Priorat wine region is dating back to as early as the 12th century.

The art of viticulture was introduced to the region by the monks from “Carthusian Monastery”.

From there, the vineyards were carried on until the end of the 19th century, when they were destroyed by phylloxera attack.

It’s to be noted that, before this, the region had almost 5,000 hectares of vineyards. After this phylloxera devastation, no replanting was carried out until the 1950s.

The formal creation of DO Priorat was done only in the year 1954.

The total vineyard area of Priorat has been continuously increasing since the 1990s. At present, the total vineyard surface of Priorat is over 1900 hectares.

The physical geography of the region seems to be mountainous, which makes the vine cultivation difficult.

However, the region has gained an enormous reputation for its wines and it’s due to the challenging landscape undoubtedly. It’s to be noted that the landscape of Priorat doesn’t permit the larger scale production.

Thus, obviously, the small cultivated lands and the passionate and dedicated winegrowers are the reasons for the success of winemaking here.

The yields are found to be just less than 5 hectolitres per hectare on average. To put it clearly, the overall average yield of the country is 25 hectolitres per hectare.

Here, we should not forget the fact that lower yields would mean higher quality. Hence, you should not have any doubt about the Priorat wine quality.

Climate and Soil in Priorat

The climate in Priorat is found to be remarkably continental attributed to the region’s close proximity to the Mediterranean Sea.

Although this is a small region, we can find several different microclimates prevailing here.

In general, the summers are longer, hotter, and drier here with average annual rainfall of 500 mm.

It is observed that the soil is of greater importance to the winemakers of Priorat. The flagship soil type of this region is found to be llicorella.

This is free-draining and nutrient-poor soil type that is made of partly-decomposed slate and quartz.

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Wines and Wine Grapes of Priorat

Most of the wines of Priorat will be subjected aging in oak barrels for a minimum of twelve months.

The official DO wine production laws of Priorat identifies three levels of wines depending on the aging duration.

They are:

Crianza: Aging in oak barrels for 6 months and aging in bottle for 18 months.

Reserva: Aging in oak barrels for 12 months and aging in bottle for 24 months.

Gran Reserva: Aging in oak barrels for 24 months and aging in bottle for 36 months.

When it comes to wine grapes, the classic type of Priorat wines is made from the Garnacha and Cariñena grape varieties.

Apart from these traditional varieties, the region’s winemakers are found to be using the other grape varieties like:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Merlot
  • Syrah
  • Garnacha Blanca
  • Macabeo
  • Pedro Ximénez
  • Chenin Blanc

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Author

Tharani Rajamanickam

Tharani Rajamanickam

Winewriter

I am Tharani, I have Bachelors degree in Biotechnology. I am passionate about the wine industry and continue to explore, learn and share and I bring in a wealth of knowledge and expertise to help you keep updated with best wines in the world. Stay tuned..

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Vineyards in Priorat, Catalonia

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