Priorat, it's the Schist!

by Alison Smith

Si ets Priorati, de les pedres treuras
- "If you are from Priorat, you will extract wine from the stones", or so the saying goes.

Handfuls of rocks filled my pockets, shoes and luggage during a brief 3-day visit to Spain's magnificent Priorat a few years ago. Beyond walking the vineyards, I had the special honor of breaking-bread with the pioneering winemakers and vignerons who lived in the tiny villages of Gratallops, Falset, Porrera, and the even smaller hamlet of Scala Dei that surround the region. I can still hear the kids laughing and playing outside in the middle of the village under the stars at night...

To one's eye it's all about the picturesque hillsides, but what is synonymous with Priorat is the mix of stone, taste, slate - the llicorella. "Priorato" wineries are more removed, a bit isolated, in a rugged, steep and mountainous region, due west of Reus and Tarragona, 2 hours plus from Barcelona by car. Much of the D.O. is sustained by the stony terrain, by a basin of Palaeozoic sediments consisting of Carboniferous slate. We in the wine biz often say Priorat - it's the Schist! Incredibly steep and slippery rocky layers have formed over the years where erosion has given rise to a rugged landscape with multitudes of hidden corners and jagged edges. A magical view with each glance of the eye, Priorat will forever be a lovely and memorable wine trip for this gal.

Quick Facts:

I would love to hear more Priorat stories, facts and maybe some fiction from the Wooters! Enjoy this first Spanish offering on Wine.Woot!

Learn more: