Priorat Wine & A Vision of Angels
Spain’s northeast region of Priorat is an unforgiving place, with sweltering days and cold nights. The vines that grow there are old and gnarled, sprouting from a stony, slate-laced soil called llicorella (“licorice”) for its blackish color. The region was called Priorato (Spanish for “priory”) when a monastery was built there in the Middle Ages, inspired by a villager who had a vision of angels ascending a stairway to heaven. And it does seem miraculous that this infertile region can produce such delicious wines. Priorat’s wines are based primarily on two native red grapes, garnacha (grenache) and cariñena (carignan). Massively structured with considerable tannin, the wines have a soft, thick texture and are usually loaded with ripe blackberry fruit, dense chocolate, lively licorice, and mineral/rock flavors.