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The name of the Spanish wine region Priorat is derived from:

A. A small monastery or nunnery that is governed by a prior or prioress

B. The black slate and quartz soil that characterize the region

C. A great Catalan warrior who fought during the War of the Spanish Succession

D. The name of the family responsible for founding the Priorat denomination in 1954

A.

During the Middle Ages, as the story goes, a villager had a vision of angels ascending and descending a stairway to heaven in the region. The next year, King Alfonso II of Aragón founded a small town and Carthusian monastery on the spot. The monastery became known as La Cartoixa, (Catalan for “charterhouse,” another name for a Carthusian monastery) and the town, Scala Dei (“God’s stairway”). Given the important presence of the monks, the region came to be known as Priorato, from the Spanish word for “priory.” Today, although the monastery has been long abandoned, the little hamlet nearby is still known as Scala Dei, and one of the oldest and best wineries in the region—Cellers de Scala Dei—operates in some of the old buildings that once belonged to the monastery. (The Scala Dei wine called “Cartoixa,” a blend of Garnacha and Carineña, is massive, savory, and delicious).

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