We could spend a whole year just talking about Spanish wines! There are so many diverse regions, several indigenous grapes, grapes that change their names depending on the region and not to mention varied styles of making wines. Today, I am keeping things simple and just talking about one area – Priorat.
Quality designations in Spain: Depending on quality assignments, wines are classified as
DOCa/DOQ (Denominación de Origen Calificada),
DO (Denominación de Origen)
Vino de la Tierra etc..
DOCa/DOQ is the highest level on the classification. Only 2 regions in Spain qualify for DOCa. One you all know very well. Rioja.
The other is Priorat.
Sometime in the 12th century, the monks of Scala Dei used to hang around this area which is now in modern day Catalonia. They were probably the first to grow grapes here. The prior of Scala Dei ran things in this neighborhood. Hence the name, Priorat.
So, what’s the big deal about Priorat: It’s the soil. Llicorella is a kind of slate that is unique to this region of Catalonia. It doesn’t rain much here and the soil is kind of difficult to work on. It gives the wines that incredibly concentrated and mineral quality. Also, the vines in Priorat have really low yields. Land is quite limited here, and production is therefore quite limited.
What kind of grapes goes in Priorat?: Although Cariñena is the prominent grape, the wine can be a blend of Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Yes, Priorat is a red wine.
What is a Priorat wine?: It is a red wine. It is incredibly delicious and complex. The taste of individual bottlings may vary depending on the blends used, but they are all very concentrated, rich wines with a good streak of minerality. These wines have fair amount of tannins and can age gracefully. I recommend opening and decanting at least an hour before serving.
Food pairing?: Like bigger wines such as Bordeaux, Chateauneuf du Pape, Priorat shows well with smoky meat and strong cheese. However, we paired it recently with some chicken tacos and it was incredible!
I want some: Good thinking! We do have a few cases available for sale. Terra de Fic is from Ferre i Catasus and is now retailing for $38.99. Of course, if you a club member, you pay $31.20! for a Priorat!