There is a small county in Catalonia that has stolen my heart. This is the Priorat region, located in the south of the Catalan region. Exactly 140 km south of Barcelona and 40 km west of Tarragona. In this small region of 10,000 inhabitants, there are almost 200 wineries, divided between 2 wine appellations: the DO Montsant and DOQ Priorat. Most of them make wine using traditional methods, with little or no alteration to the environment. A region of incredible landscapes, with wineries that offer wine tastings and experiences for all tastes. But before we talk about these delicious activities, let’s comment a little about the Priorat. So I have left a navigation index so you can go to the wine tastings you are most interested in with a single click.
- Wine Tasting directly from the Barrel.
- Wine Tasting with incredible Vine Views
- Street Performance in the town of Cornudella del Montsant.
- Learn about the history of Priorat at the Scala Dei winery.
- Discover the Priorat Terroir by 4×4
The uniqueness of Priorat
As I was saying, Priorat is a unique region. Not only because of its 4,000 hectares of vineyards spread over a rugged territory that is difficult to access. But also for the almost 200 wineries located in beautiful landscapes. Next to a hillside covered with vineyards, and some remote villages to visit. Where the alteration of man is barely visible and we find a rugged landscape before us: rocky mountains, terraced vineyards, and charming villages are some of the attractions that we find in the Priorat. A region that offers a great experience to every wine lover.
But what makes Priorat wine so unique? The explanation can be found in the terroir. That is the soil and climate of this region. It confers a unique flavor to Grenache and Carignan, the most widely planted grapes in the region, capable of painting the expression of a landscape in each bottle of wine. Here we find mainly two types of soils. The licorella, which are the most widespread slate soils in the DOQ Priorat. And clay soils, are more common in the vicinity of rivers and the Montsant DO. Both soils confer a unique flavor to both Priorat and Montsant. Priorat is known for its full-bodied and intensely flavored wines, while Montsant is distinguished by fresher and fruitier wines.
This, together with the dry and hot climate in summer, offers the best conditions for red varieties. Especially Grenache and Cariñena, which are accustomed to these extreme conditions. Producing wines of great intensity. Due to the great effort that each vine affords for every kilogram of production. This translates into a higher concentration of sugar and minerals per grape. A very positive factor to obtain full-bodied wines. This also explains why DOQ Priorat wines are more expensive. Due to reduced yields on each plant. A lower production ends up being compensated by higher quality wines.
You may also be interested in taking a private tour in Priorat. This a very attractive option if you want to be guided by an expert in the region and not drive while enjoying the wines in the region.
5 wine tastings in Priorat
- Duration: 3 hours
- Price: €75
- Village: La Morera del Montsant
A very complete experience, offered in an avant-garde winery, in the middle of nature. Located in the valley of the river Siurana, next to the imposing slopes of the Priorat. A landscape of terraced vineyards, which you can visit by boogie. Until you reach the highest hill in the land, where you can enjoy a panoramic view over Poboleda, Morera del Montsant, Siurana, and the Montsant mountain.
With the visit to the winery, you have an explanation of the winemaking process. From the moment it arrives at the winery and is fermented in stainless steel tanks. Until it goes to the barrel room, where the wine ages for years. A beautiful room inspired by the master Gaudí. The ideal place to taste wines directly from the barrel. Understanding the magic that happens inside each barrel. A wine tasting guided by the winery’s sommelier.
Of course, this experience ends with a wine tasting in the tasting room. A beautiful glassed-in room overlooking the vineyards. And if the weather allows it, the tastings can be held outside. Where you can admire the mountains of Montsant and enjoy the breeze in the Priorat. In addition, the wine tasting is accompanied by cheeses and sausages from the region. An experience worth doing if you are going to spend the day in Priorat.
- Duration: 2 hours
- Price: €40
- Village: Poboleda
The Mas Doix winery is the winery with the best views of the Priorat. Where you will find the most impressive wine-tasting room in the Priorat. With a beautiful window that overlooks the Priorat hills to the sacred Montsant mountains. A room where you can taste the most exquisite wines: Les Crestes, Murmuri, and Mas Doix. The visit includes a tour of the vat room, barrels, and vineyards. With an explanation of the history of the winery, the methods used for winemaking, and the uniqueness of Priorat wines.
The highlight of the visit is undoubtedly the wine tasting. In the most beautiful wine-tasting room in the whole Priorat. A place where you can let yourself be carried away by the magic of wine, and enter into the deepest soul of the licorella. Come and immerse yourself in the landscapes of the Priorat, through a magic wine tasting at the top of the Catalan Olympus.
Duration: 2 hours and 30 minutes
Village: Cornudella del Montsant
An ideal activity to do with the family, where everyone can learn the history of Priorat in a fun way. Strolling through the beautiful village of Cornudella del Montsant, while walking alongside the characters that give life to this dramatized tour. They will tell you about their lives, witnesses of a past that has shaped the region and that we often forget. Misfortunes such as phylloxera or the civil war will be unveiled in this moving visit. Without forgetting the necessary twists and turns of humor that each character will bring in. A visit that will end with the wine tasting at the Ronadelles winery. From DO Montsant.
Ronadelles’ winemaker, Eva Prim, has been awarded as the best woman winemaker in the world (The Best Woman Winemaker) at the Sakura Japan Women’s Wine Awards. The winery also owns the only Michelin-star restaurant in Priorat. The restaurant Quatre Molins, which you can book together with the visit here.
- Duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes
- Price: €25
- Village: Scala Dei
If we talk about the history of Priorat, then we must mention Scala Dei. The first Carthusian monastery in Spain, the main contributor to the wine history in the Priorat. It was the Carthusian monks, who came from France and decided to plant vines. After centuries of Muslim rulers. And the poor soil, with little organic matter, was ideal for the cultivation of vines. An incredible idea that would end up changing the history of the region forever.
This 19th-century winery still uses the monastery farmhouse, with nearly 5 centuries of history. Here they produce some of the best-valued wines in the region, such as Sant Antoni and Heretge. Wines that you will be able to taste, along with other great Scala Dei wines. An ideal experience to learn about the history of Priorat and taste the wines of the winery. Complex wines based on Grenache and Carignan, with fresh notes and mineral flavors. Aiming to recover the tradition of the Carthusian monks of the 12th century. With handcrafted production methods.
Duration: 3 hours
Gratallops is probably the village with the most wineries per habitant. And the fact is that this small village of 250 inhabitants, has at the time of writing this blog 25 wineries. In other words, one winery for every 10 inhabitants. And not any winery. These are some of the best-known wineries in the region. Like Alvaro Palacios, Clos Erasmus or Clos Mogador. Just to name a few. Wineries and vineyards that you will see on this 4×4 ride. While enjoying the views ofver Montsant and Gratallops.
A tour to the Gratavinum vineyards, owned by the Cusiné family. Great connoisseurs of biodynamic cultivation. A type of cultivation that you can learn with this guided tour among the vineyards of Grenache and Carignan. Which together with the licorella, gives the Priorat its name. Here the wine is aged using ancestral methods, such as the Roman amphora. And others are more traditional, such as oak barrels. And even unusual ones, such as Demijohn bottles. This experimentation allows them to produce incredibly silky wines. They have all the strength of the Priorat, but they know how to treat well delicate palates. An opportunity to connect in an authentic way with the licorella, and to delight in this wine tasting with a 4×4 tour.