Catalonia’s EspaiPriorat Tasting

Catalonia's EspaiPriorat TastingThe second biennial EspaiPriorat tasting of wines was held May 15 to commemorate the reconstruction of major portions of Catalonia’s Escaladei monastery.

50 sommeliers, educators, buyers, and journalists from as far as Japan and Singapore, Brazil and Canada, along with yours truly tasted over 150 wines from 36 Priorat wineries. Of the 97 wineries in the DOQ 35 participated in this edition of EspaiPriorat. Lots of Garnacha, Carinena, mostly blended and some with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah.

Owned by the Catalonian government, work began on the newly opened cloister, refectory, and chapels in 2010. 70% of the building materials used in the reconstruction were from the original structures.

Marta de Rialp, director of the Scala Dei Museum, told me “Scala Dei renewed the refectory, where the wine tasting occurred, the place where the monks would eat together in silence when leaving their periods of solitude.”

Located on the south side of the Montsant mountain range, the Monastery of Sta. Maria d’Escaladei was founded in the 12th century by Carthusian monks who gave to the area its name of ‘Priorat’, setting about planting crops of which the grapevine was deemed the most suitable for the steep, slate-packed hillsides.

A time-lapse chronicle of ‘La Cartoixa d’Escaladei recuperacio d’un monument 2013′ may be viewed on YouTube at

What are your favorite wines of Priorat?  Have you ever visited the Monastery d’Escaladei?

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