On 1, 2 & 3 May 2020, the wines of DO Montsant and DOQ Priorat will again come under the spotlight at the Falset Wine Fair. They will be the focal point of an event that has become a firm fixture for both aficionados and industry professionals who are aware that great, world-renowned wines are produced in the Priorat.
Among those who come to Falset are numerous foreign visitors, which can be explained by the high percentage of exports by the two designations of origin. Thanks to all of this, the Fair is also a great opportunity to showcase the wines of the region to their consumers, who are increasingly interested in quality products that are produced in the region and, in particular, thirsty to discover the culture of wine and the terroirs of the Priorat and Montsant.
This is precisely one of this Fair’s great assets, the chance to talk to the producers of these great wines in the Priorat, precisely where they are produced. It is a perfect opportunity to discover the craftsmanship that goes into every bottle of wine and at the same time let yourself be seduced by the surroundings and the landscapes whose fruit they are.
From 1 to 5 May 2020 you have a date in Falset. You’re not going to miss it, are you?
The Montsant wine appellation or Designation of Origin has gone from being one of the revelations of the last few years to being a reference point for the national and international wine scene. The quality of its wines, made from Garnatxa (Grenache) and Carinyena (Carignan) grape varieties has proved the critics and specialist press right, when they qualified the appellation as “a rising star” and a “great discovery”.
Now, the New York Times speaks of the Montsant as a DO (wine appellation) “(which has) reinvented (itself)...new producers have jumped into the global fray.”. The Guia Peñin, the most important wine guide in Spain, says that it “is the DO which has grown most in terms of quality in Catalonia; a DO where all wineries have worked well, to a point where we can now speak of a Montsant brand”. Sobremesa, one of the most outstanding gastronomy magazines in Spain, affirms that Montsant “is enjoying a passionate romance with consumers and critics”. Finally, La Guia de Vins (Catalan Wine Guide), a benchmark in Catalonia, also praises the DO and writes that “Montsant is the avant-garde of a way of making wine, which over time has been consolidated as an option in its own right”.
This acclaim by specialist wine press is mirrored by consumers. Nowadays, Montsant wines can be found on tables in around forty countries. Nearly half of the wines made in Montsant are destined for export.
Montsant wineries have maintained their goal to keep surprising and captivating us with wines of great quality. These wines are true to a land, which, with a contrasting climate, rugged terrain, diverse soil types and historical grape varieties, coupled with man’s helping hand, can add numerous nuances to the finished product.
To speak of the Priorat region is to speak of one of a wine producing region that has earned the greatest prestige in recent years worldwide. Priorat wines have managed to rub shoulders with the most highly appreciated wines on the planet, thanks to a great many factors. Among the most well-known is their faithfulness to the terroir, set in a landscape of great beauty unchanged over the centuries, marked by the presence of llicorella (local slate) soil and where to date the essence of the villages’ identities has been preserved in harmony with the environment and crops. For this reason it can be said that in the Priorat, the natural landscape, human landscape and wine are inseparable. Its wines have their own unique voice, that speaks of their terroir. Its wines are the llicorella slate speaking to us.
DOQ Priorat is the only DO in Catalonia that is recognized as being Qualified and one of the only two to have been awarded this distinction in Spain, in accordance with the quality standards and production systems that continue to be used in this winegrowing region. The characteristics of DOQ Priorat make its wines unique and exclusive, and that means that only the wines of this DO bear the name of their birthplace around the world: Priorat. A region whose most demanding lie-of-the-land and soil require heroic winemaking, recognized by the international body that acts as an umbrella for regions with such features, the Centre per a la Recerca, Estudi i Valorització de la Viticultura de Muntanya (CERVIM) (Centre for the Research, Study and Advancement of Mountain Viticulture), of which the Consell Regulador de la DOQ Priorat regulatory board is a member.
It is made up of nine villages: Bellmunt del Priorat, Gratallops, El Lloar, La Morera de Montsant and neighbouring Scala Dei, Poboleda, Porrera, Torroja del Priorat, La Vilella Alta and La Vilella Baixa. In addition to these nine municipalities, DOQ Priorat extends to the northernmost part of the Falset municipal district (Masos de Falset area) and the eastern part of the municipal district of El Molar (Solanes del Molar).
The implantation of the vine as the crop of reference in the area dates back to the creation in the 12th century of the Cartoixa d’Escaladei, a monastery faithful to the precepts of the order of Saint Bruno (c. 1030 – 1101). This monk brought to the Priorat his knowledge of winemaking learned in the French Provence and he went to Scala Dei where the monks found a place shrouded in silence, solitude and nature that enabled developing the wine’s charisma. Seven villages in the surroundings made up the domain of the abbey priory, hence the name of Priorat.
The headquarters of the DOQ Priorat Regulatory Board is in the village of Torroja del Priorat, right at the heart of the designation of origin. One major milestone of the Regulatory Board was to gain recognition as a Qualified Designation of Origin, at the start of the new millennium, which involved the drafting of a new ruling that accentuated the importance of the region, included technical innovations and established strict protection measures for the wines to ensure their quality.
Throughout the year you can enjoy the wines of the Priorat in their natural habitat via a variety of fairs and popular dégustations that you can find in the Guia d’Activitats Culturals i Festes Locals (Guide to Local Cultural Activities and Festivities). To find out more, please visit www.doqpriorat.org and http://doqpriorat.org/app/