22 October 2009

Spanish Priorat Wine

An introduction to Priorat Wine.

Priorat wine or “Priorato” in Spanish is a small region in the Northern province of Tarragona. The region itself has its own microclimate and a dark black soil, the area was volcanic making the qualities of the earth unique for establishing vineyards which are now scattered throughout the many of the local towns and villages. Some of these vineyards are seven hundred meters above sea level and are exposed to long hot summers and cold winters.
Old traditional Priorat wines are made from Garnacha Tinta, after the pressing the wine is fermented in two stages before being transferred to American oak barrels where it is then aged between six months and five years. Older Gran Reservas are kept for 60 months before bottling and continue to age well for many years to come. In some younger wineries the grapes are fermented unpressed.
Young crianza wines spend up to a year in oak casks and one year in the bottle, the reservas spend a minimum of one year in oak casks and two years in the bottle. It is fair to say that these guide lines which determine the wines classification (Crianza, Reserva, Gran Reserva) are not strictly followed to the letter, the reason being that the wines will reach their peak two years down the line. The name given is “Vino de Guardia” which translates as “a wine to keep”
Although Priorat does produce white wine and rose wine the region is most famous for its deep reds, these wines can almost appear black, are heavy and of supreme quality also allowing the wine to continue ageing. The best of Priorats production are regarded as some of the finest wines in Spain – they are also some of the most expensive. Yields are comparatively low due to the topography of the region and intensive manual labour involved in the cultivation.

Excellent Vintage Years:
1993, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2005

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