Activity: Wine tour

Introduction Priorat area:

If you are looking for stunning countryside, dramatic hills, vineyards with fine wines, great cuisine and charming ancient villages but would rather do without the hordes of tourists that descend on areas like Tuscany or some of the French wine regions, then the Priorat region of Catalonia has what you are looking for, and much more.

The origins of winemaking in the region date back to the Romans, who founded Tarraco (today's Tarragona), an important trading city and provincial capital with a large population. Their slaves converted the hillsides into perfectly–arrange terraces for their vineyards. The high alcohol levels of the wines ensured their quality remained intact as over the long journeys they took in amphorae to Rome and the rest of the Roman Empire.

In the 12th century, the monks of the Carthusian Monastery of Scala Dei (originally called a priory, or priorat in Catalan, and founded in 1163) reintroduced the art of viticulture. Legend has it that the monastery was named after the “Ladder of God” (Scala Dei in Latin) seen by a shepherd in a vision on the site.

For centuries, the monks oversaw the vineyards and villages in this area, and the monastery grew in prestige and wealth (to the increasing resentment of local peasants who worked the land) before being disestablished by the Spanish state in 1835. By then, vines occupied every corner of the mountains and they continued to be cultivated in small plots by the villagers.

At the end of the 19th century, the phylloxera plague devastated the vineyards, which were replanted with almond, hazelnut and olive trees. The loss of nearly all the grape vines in the area led the impoverished locals to emigrate.

Replanting, with the goal of creating wines of the highest quality, only began in the 1950s. From 1985, the D.O.Q. (the local regulatory body), has concentrated on high–quality bottled wines.

Wine tour:

Visit the Priorat with Stefan, your guide, is export manager for several Catalan wineries and lives in the Priorat’s main village, Falset. Stefan will introduce you to the Priorat’s wines and cuisine and will guide you through the area’s small winding roads to carefully-chosen wineries and enchanting villages. Most of the wineries in the Priorat are small and runned by families. The possibility to visit them and taste their wines is very difficult as they are not prepared for enoturism. Stefan will arrange the visits through his contacts, depending on which winery is available at the day of the trip.

Programme:

Before we head in to the Priorat mountains we start off with an introductary tasting on Priorat wines and the main varietals. Stefan will recieve you in his tasting room in Falset (where he has his export office for Catalan wines) and comment on the history and main characteristics of the Priorat wines.

Visit to first winery

Lunch:  From Informal home cooking to Michelin star restaurants (and anything in between), you choose!

Visit to second winery


Transport: Train (at 9 am- 2 hours)  from Barcelona to Falset  - stefan picks you up at the train station  and brings you back at 6 pm  at the end of the tour .
(Pick-up service from Tarragona also possible). If you prefer to stay longer in the area, We can help you find hotels and self-contained accommodation.

Price: €155 pp – min 2 people Not included in price: transport Barcelona - Falset  and lunch (+ lunch guide)

We can send you a more practical details one you make a booking. Best to book well in advance.

Stefan is a wine connaisseur and export manager for several wineries. After his first year studies of 'Master of Wine' he keeps on focussing on Catalan wines and Spain in general. When Stefan is not on one of his many travels in Europe he will take care of the tour.

Karin is Stefan's assistent and has experience as a wine guide in the Priorat and worked in renowned wineries such as Torres. She will provide you with all details and stories behind the wines.