The region has produced superb quality wines for more than 8 centuries, starting when Carthusian monks founded a priory or Priorat in 1163. Phylloxera wiped out nearly all of the plantings of grapes at the end of the 19th Century and it wasn’t until the 1950s that serious replanting began. The region rocketed to fame in the 1990’s as a new generation of winemakers came to the area combining new technology and old vines for superior results. This tiny region has nearly 90 active wineries, up from about 25 just 5 years ago. This is a testament to the rebirth of this unique region.
Climate: The climate is extreme but continental with cold winters and hot summers. Plantings range from 300 feet to 2,300 feet in elevation.
Soil: The soils based on volcanic bedrock called llicorella, are composed of black and red schist and mica, a kind of quartz. The extremely poor and thin soils force the vines roots deep in search of water and nutrients.
Grape Varities: The primary grape variety is Garnacha Tinta for reds with small plantings of Garnacha Blanca, Macabeo and Pedro Ximenez for whites. There are also plantings of old vine Cariñena. International grapes were first planted in the early 1980s with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah dominating new plantings. Vines are generally head pruned, en vaso, and planted on extremely steep slopes or terraces.