The most prestigious wine region in Catalunya is the Priorat. The region is only one of two in Spain that has qualified as Denominacio d’Origen Qualificada, the highest qualification level for a wine region in Spain. It is the only region designated as “DOQ” in Catalunya.

Priorat

DOQ Priorat produces full-bodied and powerful reds; Priorat began garnering international attention for their product during the 1990s, and the popularity internationally has not abated. Located in the valleys of the Siurana and Montsant rivers, the vineyards themselves are typically terraced between 100m and 700m above sea level encompassing an area of 19.783 hectares.

PA092576The ever present monks of Spain are credited with developing the wine culture of the Priorat, with the arrival of the Carthusian Monks in the 12th century. They occupied the region and started construction on the monastery, which began in 1194, and promptly began wine production. The prior of Scala Dei acted as a feudal lord over the seven villages in the region, hence the name “Priorat” for the region.The monks stayed at Scala Dei until 1835, when the state took over the vineyards and the area through expropriation.

King Alfons el Cast sent two knights to find a place for the Carthusian Order, which originated from Provence. A shepherd told the knights about a staircase appearing at the highest pine tree in the area, where angels ascended to heaven. This was prior to wine production in the area, of course. An altar dedicated to Santa Maria was built at the location of the tree and the stairway to heaven. Today, the ruins of the Scala Dei Carthusian Monastery are a popular tourist destination.

 

Priorat wines are known for their red Garnacha tinta from the older vineyards. The Garnacha has been the most steady of the varieties sold, while wines with Syrah have gained market share in the last few years at the expense of Carinena varietals. 96% of the planted vineyards are red varietals, with only 4% of the existing vineyards with white.

The types of grapes grown in DOQ Priorat are as follows:

Red Wine

  • Garancha tinta, Carinena, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot

White Wine

  • Garnacha blanca, Macabeo, Pedro Ximenez, Chenin.

 


 

Here is the list of registered vineyards in the area. The vineyards with websites are hotlinked in blue.

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