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Priorat

Priorat is a very small and high-quality wine region situated in the province of Tarragona south of Barcelona of Spain. It is famous for its uniquely styled red powerful and dense wines made from old vines Garnacha and Cariñena. The region takes its name from the monastery Priorato de Scala Dei (Priory of the Ladder of God) where according to the legend a shepherd boy saw angels descending on a "ladder to heaven". Back in the Middle Ages Priorat was an important wine region, but after the phylloxera disease and leaving of the monks the region was almost forgotten. It was only, in the 1980s when a couple of pioneers have revived the region and have seen the potential it has. Priorat has reached the highest DOCa status in no time, and its wines have become some of the most sought after and most expensive in the world. The region has 11 Crus or villages where all vineyards are located including Bellmunt, Falset, Gratallops, La Morena de Montsant, La Vilella, Mola, Lloá, Poboleda, Porrera, Scala Dei and Torroja. Priorat has a very special type of soil called llicorella, a free-draining, poor soil made up of decomposed slate and quartz ('llicorella' is the Spanish name for slate). The climate is continental with influence from the Mediterranean Sea giving long summers which are hot and dry with annual rainfall averaging 500 mm. Due to these conditions, the vines are extremely low yielding and most of them 60-70 years old, resulting in big, concentrated and opulent wines with high alcohol content and tannin structure able to age for decades. Overall the Priorat wine region is one of the Spanish stars in recent years.

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