Priorat DOQ

To begin, it’s important to note that Priorat, located just inland from the town of Tarragona, is a DOQ (Denominació d’Origen Qualificada) – the highest level of the Spanish appellation system. There are only two of these in all of Spain, the other being Rioja.

A tough living

Inclined slopes of Torres vineyards in Priorat.

Grape growers in Priorat are a tough lot. Firstly, they have to contend with the soil, llicorella, which is comprised of largish pieces of slate and quartz – meaning the ground on which these farmers operate on is relatively unstable. Secondly, Priorat is breathtakingly hilly – the vineyards are pretty much vertical. That 6,000 lb tractor used for mechanically harvesting, pruning, or trimming? Good luck! Every single task in the vineyard is done by hand. Understandably, Priorat wines don’t come cheap!

Buil & Giné, Giné Giné 2016

Priorat is a special place. As I mentioned, there are only two appellations in all of Spain. One of the reasons Priorat is a DOQ appellation, is the fact that grapes are able to achieve full ripeness and full acidity. These are usually tradeoffs given that maximum ripeness is achieved in warm regions, while acidity is achieved in cooler regions. The high altitude of Priorat vineyards allow grapes to retain their acidity, while the llicorella soils, reflect sunlight, giving the vineyard additional units of heat, allowing the grape to achieve maximum ripeness. Nutrient-poor llicorella and old bush vines contribute to some of the lowest yields in the world – adding to its concentrated flavours, power, and strength.

Let’s dive in:

This photo was taken in December – sorry for the Christmas decorations!
WineBuil & Giné, Giné Giné 2016
RegionPriorat DOQ, Spain
VarietalGarnacha, Carignan
ColourDeep ruby (almost purple)
AromasBlackberry, blueberry, stewed black cherry, black licorice, eucalyptus, sasparillo (cola), dusty, slate, dry earth
StructureAcid: high Tannins: high Alcohol: high (15%) Body: med + Finish: med +
FlavoursBlackberry, black cherry, red pepper, black pepper, stewed fruit, baking spices, vanilla, slate
Assessment of qualityVery good.
NotesThis one would be really nice to try in 3-5 years, once the fruit fully develops into stewed and dried fruit. The high scores in every structural element will fully be able to support further aging too. $29.95 in LCBO vintages.

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