Thousand Years of Love in Priorat is an article I wrote in October last year for publication in half Chilean. The aim was to give a Priorat panormama those who still do not know. It was in a way, to write a letter of invitation. To speak particularly of wine and wine culture in the region, chose Fredi Adrià Pérez Torres, because they embody two different ways to do two very different scales of business and yet be living the Tumacacori viñerón with the same spirit. I like to post it here now when there are few days for the big party again Priorat wine and holding her village wines.
With just 500 km2 and a population that today is less than 10,000 inhabitants, the Catalan region of Priorat seduces looking to live hidden in a territory where it seems that nothing was wrong, but where the curtains of the windows of each forms tiny town that is discreetly run over pedestrian.
Here, time does not exist, coexist various speeds, sociological layers overlap, none really disappears. As the bells of the village churches chimed every hour, sometimes alterándote Sleep placidity, the 4 × 4 ramshackle not stop driving on dusty roads spin vineyards and olive groves and walking modern cars speeding winding roads in perfect condition.
They live a natural force conservative traditions and ways of doing, with the strength of a particular wine territory, listed worldwide. The fight between them makes this area a unique place to eat homemade soups, tota life, made by the ladies of the town and served in their homes, accompanied by wines ranging from those produced by cooperatives to which historical , to drink a cup, you have to rob a bank.
But this was not always so. The Priorat is a story that goes back almost ten centuries when monks seduced found in the mountains of Montsant, a ladder to God. The monastery of Scala Dei, founded in 1194, became an area shuttle and a culture that knew however, like a marketing strategy is involved, not to reveal all its mysteries. "God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform" says San Marcos and sure this slogan was present at those monks who decided to stay here to be closer to God and found, perhaps without knowing it, the first school of wine from Priorat.
Or maybe, they settled in this land, in sin, conscious of having given in to temptation.
It is true that, although not commune as God commands, there is a dimension esoteric and inexplicable, is a mystery, dense deep, curved, narrow roads closed, diverse climate, soil, humidity and atmospheric pressures, quirky and opaque the human landscape that pulls from the sternum and makes every time you have to go, look for an excuse to stay. Postpone meetings, business, travel, other amorous encounters, new depths, to sit at the precipice of the Siurana River reservoir, strategic point to control virtually all the territories that make up the region.
When you get to that point and you lie face down, to feel perilously as you squeeze the belly, letting the wind hit while your gaze falls into the abyss, that you think, as Lieutenant LoRusso, in the Mediterranean film, which 're just one puntino nell'universo. Loose stones to lose sight long before take land hang an arm and feel the full force of gravity, smell the fresh air and you can lose your gaze on a succession of mountain infinite planes, stone and clouds go somewhere unseen to give the Mediterranean. It is this mystical ladder which moves. And if you let go because you will not. Is this what you risk all who dare pass through the region of Priorat. As the song says ... if you tell me you see, I leave everything ...
I will not say most but if a significant proportion of its current inhabitants are foreigners. They come from all over the world (France, Switzerland, South Africa, Germany, England, USA and other territories of Spain too). Passed by and they could not leave. Or came expressly motivated by the challenge of making wine, in one of the most complex areas, rugged, but also most coveted in the world. Foreign absolute that could not resist the call of these arid, poor, consisting mostly of licorella as it is called here to the board. Land rich in minerals, which naturally lie down on slopes generous, the costers, for sun and heat but also accumulate freshness, the stone here radiates life.
On this landscape underlying the great revolution of Priorat. For him. A wine revolution that shook like an earthquake social and economic structures, and was led by people coming from outside. These gorgeous, as are world renowned for some time, came with a head full of ideas "alien" who came to question the world as it was known until the time Priorat. They failed to see the poverty of the land a future of prosperity, but that which inevitably inherit 20 years later, their children.
They, playing the key territory potential home again, as a generation of indigenous and modern viñerón, those who are writing new chapters of this story not to have begun ten centuries ago, has to end sometime.
The foreign ideas forged in the school of Bordeaux wines made from over-extraction of fruit and a very strong presence of the new wood, with some equally foreign varieties such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, evolve into understanding of the true diversity of the territory and captured in wine making. And while it is true that what makes them different earth, the creator of wines should observe in his speech, it is less than nothing today Priorat be understood without accepting the fundamental step 1989. It was the rediscovery of a territory to make wine naturally gifted having very clear that no such revolution triumphs, if not recognized by the market.
When you move in those ways of God, led by those who know them like the back of your hand, do not reach the eyes to see and record the poetry with which the land is worked, how to comb the rows in the field, planted with every possible way, suspended in impossible slopes while your skeleton receives a fun session and chiropractic involuntary rocking hard in a pick-up.
From a terrace strategically located on the edge of Gratallops dominate the area of influence of the terroir that characterizes the wines of this village, and the other side of the Serra Alta is Porrer just 30 minutes drive, another climate system dominated by while another terroir, making it possible to create very different wines, freshest, high, considering that 600 meters is the top. And the Golden Triangle of Priorat Torroja closes, just a village, home of the DOQ and one of the most important wineries in the region.
Gratallops Porrer Priorat Torroja. Three towns, three terroirs, three different ways to interpret the territory that involves in-depth knowledge of their local varieties. And here they are, a lady gorduela and complacent, round face and red cheeks, called Garnacha, and a slender, less sociable but very elegant, Carignan, whose big secret now finally be understood is the owner of a insurmountable biting acidity.
With these words, more or less, I described these varieties Adrià Pérez, perched on the barrels where lie the Carignan 2009 and works since 1996 when he took over the new project Cooperative productive Porrer with their wine that turned , Cims Porrer one of the most faithful expression of this terroir. Adrià is the son of one of the fathers of the revolution, José Luis Pérez, and brother of Sara, also starring transformations wine culture and agriculture in the area.
From grapes to the cooperative produces between 10 and 12 hectares are Carignan from old vines with a yield of no more than 2000 kilos and 18 acres of young vines with a yield of no more than 5000 kilos. There are 16 farms with old vineyard locations and different winemakers that Adrià and his cousin Marc monitored very closely. Among all make it through most of the climate of the area arc.
Each vineyard is harvested and vinified separately and depending on the vintage, corresponding coupages are made. And always reserve a barrel of the best farms in the add to embotellarlas separately.
In the case of 2009, I had the privilege of tasting in the barrel room located in the old cement cups of wine, and gathered nine different plots which departed four for bottling per farm. Les Comelles 400 meters and east facing, I Sentius, 600 meters west facing in this vintage 2009 look meddle nose in a Hermitage, a Syrah as the top of a pine the Finca Pigat 500 meters and guidance North, a favorite of Adrià who describes it as a cool, dark well, which makes you mourn, and Coma d'en Romeu which can exceed 600 meters high and has South.
Adrià just now confesses that truly know what it is Carignan, when you can open bottles for 14 years. From what you are talking about is the factor t, of time, that in a Priorat wine is essential.
At least these wines have a year and a half of aging in Bordeaux not all that new and two years in bottle. And the more you can take them calm, quiet, dark and cool in the cellar, the better. Of these varietal Carignan made a total of approximately 6000 bottles per vintage and some are only a handful.
While Adrià works, Porrera side of the Serra Alta, in the cultural characteristic of cooperatives, controlling an average of 140,000 kilos of grapes per vintage and well-trained army of winemakers each carrying his vineyard, Fredi Torres, faces a family dimension project, Gratallops side of the same serra.
Fredi is a viñerón of Galician origin, raised in Switzerland, possessor of a character that is already making its mark in the ways of making wine in the area. Saó of Coster is the project of one person and three partners. Almost the opposite of a cooperative. Bring 6 acres of biodynamic vineyard itself worked, of which 60% are of Carignan. Divided between Planassos, old vineyard with full southern exposure and Canyarets, a vineyard planted in 1924 that hangs in the cool north face.
Two terroirs, two scales, two different ways of interpreting the territory and its varieties. Two friends meeting after some time of not being, to make me taste and talk about their secret lover yet have no problem sharing, this elegant woman, and very acidic executive called Carignan. Us to tears, say almost at once, while all possible stretch Carignan Porrera Cims 98.
One day a few years ago a barrel Fredi Carignan away to see what happened to her, although he did intend. I was working from the ground, from the estate vineyard Planassos old. Less than one hectare, manual harvest and early so that the heat of the south face of not mature. A lover cellar work craftsman. The mime at the grain to grain selection that removes the scratch, the press less than 2 mbar, which according Fredi is an absolute key for this variety generous tannins and acidity, just what is needed to make a great wine. Planassos The result is a gem in its vintage 2006 bottles got to give 598. From collection.
Both Adrià as Fredi other young producers in the region are considered as the generation 3.0. Priorat. Those who are going to have to talk of culture SXXI wine, without intermediaries definitely unwanted interpretation of a territory that is home to a remarkable diversity of terroirs, which preserves intact, ten centuries later, the mystery and seductiveness.
As stated by the song, if you tell me you see, I leave everything ...