5 Priorat wine experiences not to miss

Priorat continues to create buzz in the international wine circles with expressive wines from 104 (as per the DOQ Priorat website) wineries registered with the appellation. With so many choices of fantastic wines, which one should you visit? Here are 5 wineries that stand head and shoulders above the rest for not only fantastic wines (which almost all in Priorat have) but an amazing experience.

 

Cellers de Scala Dei

Where the documented wine story starts in Priorat is in the village of Escaladei, a short walk from the monastery which brought prosperity to the region in the form of Carthusian monks, after the Moors were defeated. Today, Cellers de Scala Dei is the oldest established vineyard of “modern” history (late 1800s), and holds the honour of being the first to bottle under the Priorat appellation when it was a DO, prior to its elevation to DOQ. It occupies several buildings in the village of Escaladei, which maintains its architectural heritage going back to the 15th century. The barrel room is where the monks used to collect the taxes (and soldiers stayed during the Spanish Civil War), the fermentation area was horse stables, and their visitor center is simply freaking cool anchored by a fermentation tank which holds several thousand litres (not currently… lol) All this in amongst a well preserved village which also features a few inhabitants, a few restaurants, and another winery operation. Add in the fact the village and winery sits at the base of the gorgeous Montsant Mountain range, and you have a memorable experience. They also have one of the most active Instagram accounts in Priorat (click here), and every photo is breathtaking.

Book a tour: info@cellersdescaladei.com or call 977 82 71 73

 

Buil & Giné

Located just outside the village of Gratallops, Buil & Giné is the full wine experience. Wines are of course, brilliant, BUT the Crown Jewels of the winery are the rooms for overnight stays and their restaurant. With the complex at the top of one of the many massive hills in the area, you have “take my breath away” views across the Priorat to the north with the Monsant mountains as your viewing pleasure. Both the restaurant and the rooms enjoy these views, and the rooms are luxury, luxury, luxury, with all the top appointments including high end finishes, voluminous architecture and private balconies to enjoy the vineyard views. The restaurant is open for lunch, plus dinners on Fridays and Saturdays. After harvest until the spring it is always advisable to call ahead to see if they are open. Of course Buil & Giné offers a host of packages, starting with a basic tour and tasting, tour, tasting, and tapas, tour tasting and lunch and a premium experience.

Book a tour: info@builgine.com or call 977 83 98 10

 

Marco Abella 

Located just outside the village of Porrera, Marco Abella has garnered critical acclaim locally and international for brilliant wines including Wine Enthusiast, Vinous, Decanter, Wine Spectator, and even wine of the year from Wine in China magazine. What makes this winery special besides the critical acclaim, is their connection to art, and their dedication to wine tourism. They have created a special club, Licorella Club, which allows members special access to wines, experiences and special events. From a wine tourism angle, they have two tours daily (always book ahead), and offer a standard tour with three wines or upgraded tour with six wines, tapas pairing or a cheese pairing. The winery building itself is super unique, as it is built inside a hill in one of their vineyards, and let’s just say their barrel room, at the base of the complex, is meditative and tranquil. Sometimes on clear summer days, you can see across to the mediterranean from two of their vineyards.

Book a tour: enoturisme@marcoabella.com or call 977.262.825

 

Celler Mas Doix

Located on the eastern edge of Priorat, Mas Doix is a precious boutique tour of high quality wines done with lower production quantities. Mas Doix is located near the village of Poboleda itself, making it a great opportunity to not only visit the winery but tour one of the classic villages of Priorat. If you’re looking for an intimate experience with critically acclaimed wines, this is definitely the spot for you. Mas Doix offers a winery tour with three wines, or five wines and offers a discount on the price for groups of 7 to 12 people. There is also an option to do a vineyard and winery tour if so desired, plus there are other options when you contacted them to set up your tour.  Mas Doix also has a fantastic resource on their website with where to go for restaurants in Priorat, and in one of the most challenging activities in Priorat, finding a place to stay since hotels – except near Falset – are hard to find (click here for the link). However, the most innovative and brilliant wine tourism offer is if you can’t get to Priorat, Mas Doix will come to you in Barcelona for a tasting experience. You can do a tapas and tasting in a private room (minimum two people) or lunch and tasting in a private room in a restaurant (minimum two people). Of course these needs to be booked in advance, but this opportunity is one of the more unique experiences on offer.

Book a tour: info@masdoix.com or call 977 827 128

 

Gratavinum

Located in what the locals call “The Manhattan of Priorat” Gratavinum is the Priorat winery from the team behind Pares Balta in Penedes along with winemaker Jordi Fernandez focussing on organic and biodynamic wine processes. Gratavinum is near the western edge of DOQ Priorat, and a short walk back into the village of Vilella Baixa (aforementioned Manhattan) which is known for its striking architecture seen from the passing road. Gratavinum offers a 4×4 tasting tour in one of the vineyards, which you can upgrade to include cheese pairing, or my highly recommended CHOCOLATE tasting. Really, do the chocolate. They also offer the same with a vineyard walk and tour, or you can just simply do the winery tour alone. The unique thing about Gratavinum is their amazing olive oil made with Arbequina olives, which you get to taste with every tour. As an added plus to see their manufacturing process is something special and unique in Priorat. Not many in Priorat have such an experience, and the olive oil coming out of Priorat is nothing short of spectacular.

Book a tour: gratavinum@gratavinum.com or call David 683 60 13 39

 


If you’re looking for a personally guided tour of any of these places, we recommend contacting Barcelona By Road. Check out their details here 


 

Author: Tim Brown

After being a corporate marketing suit and travelling the world for 15 years, and after two restaurant startups in his native Canada, Tim (aka Timmer, Timothy) fell in love with Catalunya and finally settled down. His love for wine led him to start catalunyawine.com to show the world just how cool and amazing the region is from a wine perspective as the shameless promoter he is. He is not a sommelier nor desires to be one, but has a thirst for gaining knowledge about wine, gastronomy, travel, and life in general.