The Catalan region of Priorat is not overwhelmed by vineyards as compared to other parts of Spain, but a small number of passionate and dedicated producers here have been harvesting wines of exceptional quality for some time.
Together with the more renowned La Rioja, Priorat is one of only two regions to qualify as DOCa – Spain’s highest status for wine growing regions. The traditional grape is the red Garnacha tinta (Grenache), which is typically used for single bottling or as a ‘Bordeaux style’ blend with French varieties.
The region’s close proximity to Barcelona has made a Priorat wine tour a popular experience for visitors seeking to escape the confines of the city and explore the picturesque rocky countryside where vineyards are grown on steep hills farmed from enormous staircases.
A wine tour Priorat will typically surprise visitors with, involves a chauffeured drive from Barcelona, which is around two hours north of the region, through the spectacular red mountains of the Montsant National Park to visit a selection of local wineries.
The untouched landscape is only interrupted by quaint villages, stone farm houses, medieval castles and hidden monasteries – many of which were constructed in the 11th and 12th centuries and have now been converted into wineries.
The lower floors of certain centuries-old houses hide winemakers working to produce only a few thousand bottles that will go on to garner international acclaim on wine lists around the world.
There are opportunities to explore the vineyards accompanied by a professional guide, meet the owners and, of course, sample some of Spain’s most exciting and expensive wines. Dining experiences featuring either traditional wine pairings or restaurant reservations can also be made for a complete experience.
The usual practice is to produce vino de guarda (aged wine), which has been stored in oak barrels for 18months followed by six months in a bottle and ideally consumed two years after that – although the intense, mineral rich flavours that can be sampled during a wine tour of Priorat are worth the wait.
Among other opportunities that can be integrated into a Priorat wine tour is a visit to the ruins of an 11th century Carthusian Priorato (priory), which gave the region its name and is set among beautiful vineyards in the shadow of the surrounding mountains
At Wine Paths, our local expert can organise an exclusive luxury Priorat wine tour that can be tailormade to your exact needs, while ensuring every detail is taken care of – leaving you to enjoy our incredible experiences to the fullest.
There are also several local towns and hamlets worthy of a visit, including:
Falset and the Castell del Vi – Falset, the capital of Priorat, is most known for the modern internal architecture of its interesting wine museum the Castell del Vi, which has three stunningly designed floors within the walls of an old castle.
The village of Siurna – This small but beautiful little village settled high in the hilltops has only 37 inhabitants. The views of the surrounding mountains are incredible, but the village’s early heritage can be seen through the ruins of an old Muslim fortess.
Prades – Known as ‘Vila vermella’, this town immediately stands out from the surrounding greenery due to the characteristic red colour of its buildings – which are illuminated into beautiful scarlet tones with every sunrise and sunset.
Tarragona – This town bears many hallmarks of its former Roman Empire heritage, including the remains of a second century amphitheatre where 12,000 spectators once watched gladiators and wild beasts fight for their lives.
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