In the Spanish region of Priorat, the term “old vines” is used for vineyards that are over 20 years old.

Answer: False.

The term “old vines” or velles vinyes in Catalan, is heavily regulated; vines must be planted before 1945 to legally use the term on the label—a situation that is verified with aerial photographs taken in 1945! The wines’ concentration is a result of painfully low-yielding, head-trained (that is, un-trellised) vines that protrude, gnarled and contorted, from the region’s poor, stony, slate-laced soil called llicorella (“licorice”) because of its blackish color. The vines themselves are so small they have sometimes been referred to as “bonsai vines.” Days here are intensely hot; nights, very cool. In this dry, infertile, unforgiving landscape, few crops other than grapevines and olive trees have ever survived.

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