Priorat Wine Country  

Priorat is a small but significant wine-producing region in Spain located just southwest of Barcelona. Its dramatic landscape full of steep hills, scenic villages and ancient monasteries indicate just how unique these wines are. Along the winding roads there are multiple scenic spots where you can enjoy the views as well as wineries where you can taste the unique flavors of the Priorat wines.  

Winemaking here dates back to the 12th century when Carthusian monks set up their priory and began the practice. For this reason, one of the top places to visit is the Escaladei (stairway to God) monastery. Its ruins are well-preserved, and it allows you to appreciate the long history of these wines.    

The particular conditions of the region also give the Priorat wines their special flavor profiles (mostly hearty reds). The soil in the area is rocky and deep red black in color, giving it the name ‘llicorella’, meaning licorice. This terroir lends to a robust, deeply mineral wine. Not only is the region protected from harsh weather by the surrounding mountains, but also its proximity to the Mediterranean Sea creates a microclimate of warm days and cold nights.  With less than 5,000 acres of vines spread across twelve small growing areas, each with its own altitudes and characteristics, red wines are the specialty here, typically made from Garnacha and Cariñena grapes. Although less than 8% of the region produces white wines, they are no less interesting or complex. These regional wines have earned the Qualified Denomination of Origin (DOQ) quality seal which can be found only here and the Rioja region. 

Check out a few of the best wineries to try these complex, full-bodied wines:  

Scala Dei – this is the oldest and most iconic winery in the area, where the Priorat wines were born. Today, the wine is still aged in the monks’ 17th Century cellar. Enjoy the medieval buildings while tasting some of their wines.  

Mas Doix – here you can try a few of their 7 different wines while enjoying the best views of the hills of Priorat.  

Bodega Perinet – this modern winery has an outdoor terrace where you can enjoy a wine tasting as well as some local tapas. Their visits include barrel tastings and a walk through the vineyards. 

Clos de Obac – this classic winery makes mostly amazing reds, and also boasts three a white wine aged in French Oak barrels and a lovely sweet wine. Each one is complex and elegant in its own way.