The DOCa area (Catalan priory) in the middle of the province Tarragona in the Spanish region Catalonia is named after the Priorato de Scala Dei monastery (priory of the leaders). According to legend, a shepherd boy saw angels descending on a “ladder to heaven” in the mid-12th century. Thereupon founded Carthusian monks in 1163 the monastery named after this event. The wine is made by the Franciscan monk Francisc Eiximenis (1340-1409) mentioned in his work "Lo Crestia". He describes the "decent wine drinking" and advises to mix the strong wine from the priory with water. The Priorato was one of the most important wine-growing regions in Spain as early as the Middle Ages. The decline began in 1835 when the monks left the monastery. Then came the late 19th century phylloxera and destroyed the then 17,000 hectares of vineyards. Only a small part of it was replanted afterwards.
From the mid-1980s, "young, wild winemakers" as above all established Alvaro Palacios from the winery of the same name, René Barbier (Clos Mogador), Adrian Garsed, Dafne Glorian and Carles Pastrana (Costers del Siurana) the today's fame of the area. The real discoverer, however, is the biology professor José Luis Pérez (owner of the wineries Mas Martinet and Cims de Porrera). Through numerous experiments, the latter recognized the great potential of the Garnatxa (Garnacha Tinta) and Carinyena (Mazuelo) vines, some of which are over 100 years old oenological Recultivated and ecologically were managed. He also acted as a mentor for the winemakers. As a supplement to the autochthonous French varieties were introduced and new techniques such as, for example, were introduced for this area Barrique introduced.
Priorato now covers 1,600 hectares of vineyards in the eleven municipalities of Bellmunt, Falset, Gratallops, La Morena de Montsant, La Vilella, Mola, Lloá, Poboleda, Porrera, Scala Dei and Torroja. It is from the DO area Montsant almost enclosed. The vineyards on terraces or steep slopes are between 100 and 700 meters above sea level on the Sierra de Montsant, some of which are extreme Tilt, You are one of the steepest vineyards Europe. There is a mild Mediterranean influence climate with dry summers before. The Siurana (Ebro tributary) flows through the area, whose soils of volcanic origin, which are ideal for viticulture, consist of small-leaved slate (Llicorella). Especially the red wines count due to the special terroirs and often extremely low yield with max. 10 hl / ha and less among the most famous and expensive in Spain.
The most important red wine varieties here are Garnatxa ( Garnacha Tinta ) Garnacha Peluda, Carinyena ( mazuelo ) Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlot. Pinot Noir and Syrah; the main types of white wine are Garnatxa Blanca ( Garnacha Blanca ), Macabeu ( Macabeo ) Pedro Ximénez. Chenin Blanc and Viognier, The deep dark, concentrated, tannic and alcohol-strong red wines (at least 13.75 to 15% vol alcohol) need at least five years bottle aging to maturity and can age up to 25 years. Priorato was named after in 2001 Rioja only second Spanish area to level DOCa qualified. Well-known producers are Capafons-Ossó, Cartoixa de Montsalvat, Celler Cecilio, Cims de Porrera. Clos Mogador, Clos i Terrasses, Costers del Siurana, Dixneuf, Fuentes (with the brands Finca el Puig, Gran Clos and Vinya Llisarda), Mas d'en Gil. Mas Igneus. Mas Martinet. Alvaro Palacios, Pasanau Germans, Rotllan Torra, Scala Dei, Vall-Llach and Vinicola del Priorat.