The Long & Winding Road

 

Recently I visited the famous wine area Priorat, in Spain, a little two hours drive from Barcelona.

Don’t go there if :

1) you like crowded places

2) you prefer light and quick dining, or popping in somewhere for some fast food

 3) using Foursquare is one of your favorite hobbies, allthough if you will be able to check in somewhere, you will become mayor, that’s for sure.

4) you don’t like driving on  long and winding roads, like my travelmate said, this Beatles song has never been more suitable than in this area.

But if these former points don’t scare you off, go and visit this beautiful area! In Priorat area there are about 90 wineries, who produce Priorat DOQ wines( Denominació d’Origen Qualificada).This area is famous for its powerful red wines, made of garnacha tinta(which you will see in all the older vineyards, carinena and some foreign grape varieties like cabernet sauvignon, merlot and syrah.

Most wines are blends of the grapes, mentioned before. The soil, which is of volcanic origin,  consists of reddish and black slate and quartz, in Spanish referred to as llicorella. The soil reminded me of the one I’ve seen in the Douro Valley. They say the name llicorella stems from the Catalan word for licorice, because it’s  black, somewhat shiny rocky, and is high in mineral content. The hard rock forces the vines to go deeper to find the water and limits the yields.

Most wineries use French oak barrels, all grapes are picked by hand, which you can imagine if you see the steep slopes, which is  problaby one of  the reasons that Priorat wines are rather expensive. Ofcourse the fact that Parker, discovered this area, will take part aswell. If you enter a wineshop, you’ll find the cheapest priorat for 10 euro’s, and the most expensive one I’ve seen so far was about 278 euros. Not very strange that most of these wines are not bought by locals, but find their ways into several countries all over the world.

But if you might not like the wines, which I can not imagine, then you can also go there for the amazing food, the very friendly people, medieval villages and the stunning nature, hiking there must be incredible!

If you ‘ll ever be in Falset, don’t forget to book a table in this restaurant http://www.cellerdelaspic.com/  Absolutely the best crema catalana, ever eaten, heavenly! They also have an impressive winelist.

And in case you’ll wonder, this was not sponsored by the tourism council of Priorat;-) Go there!!!

First picture: www.bodegasmasalta.com

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