We have a serious soft spot for Priorat.
Though we love all the winegrowing regions in our store, we’d be lying if we didn’t admit to having a few favorites. So for this month's Wine Club, we decided to focus on the land of black sand, Priorat.
For those unfamiliar with the region, you can think of it as a cross between the Rhone valley and Bordeaux, with a more pronounced mineral profile than either. It’s tucked into the mountains near Barcelona, in Catalonia, Spain. The two main grapes, found in nearly every blend, are carignan (cariñena, samsó) and grenache (garnacha, garnatxa). Both of these are very common in the Rhone. As is Syrah, another common grape in Priorat. Merlot and cabernet sauviginon - Bordeaux’s power players - pop up a bunch, as well.
The grapes aren’t the only thing leading to similarities between two of France’s most famous regions. So does the fact that many of the viticulturalists responsible for the recent revitalization of the region in the late ‘80s hailed from France.
The region has a long growing history, however. In fact, both garnacha and cariñena likely originate from Northern Spain, if not Priorat itself. Like many European winegrowing regions, it has had multiple heydays, and multiple downfalls. Phylloxera hit it as hard as anywhere in the mid-19th century, decimating both the grapes, and the population. After a brief reprise in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it succumbed to the weight of Franco’s authoritarian rule and policies by the 1970's.
Despite all this, the essential quality of the terrior - the extraordinary loose, black volcanic sand, perfect for water drainage; the extreme mediterranean sun; and the layout of the geography - has never changed. This is why, as mentioned above, expert winemakers keen on activating a dormant world-class wine region descended on Priorat in the late ‘80s. The result? Today, Priorat gives Rioja, Toro, and Ribera del Duero a run for their money as Spain’s greatest winegrowing region.
While known for bold, often juicy (and always flinty) red wines, we found a gorgeous rosé that we had to incorporate into the Wine Club. With the Wine Club, we want to show you wines that reflect what makes a region famous AND some of the lesser known offerings, too.
Buil & Giné - Giné Rosat 2016
A delicious, fresh, vibrant rosé that’s fairly dark in color. Made from garnacha and merlot, it bursts with off-the-tree ripe cherry flavor. Enjoy with salads or, even better, Chinese food!
Cesca Vicent Crianza 2015
A classic Priorat blend of garnacha, cab sauv, cariñena, and merlot, expect notes of clove, violets, cherries, tobacco and green pepper. Full and rich in texture, with great tannin structure and a long, fresh finish. Keep an eye out for the tell-tale “flinty” minerality that Priorats are known for.
As always, we’ll release these the last Sunday of this month. We hope to see you Sunday, and we hope these two wines get you as jazzed about Priorat as we are!