The revitalization of wine production in the Priorat region began in 1979 when René Barbier, whose family hailed from Avignon in France, and Alvaro Palacios, whose family hailed from Spain’s famed Rioja wine region, began buying land and planting new vineyards in the region, which were called clos. Others soon followed, and from 1989-1991 the first 3 vintages were produced by a group of five wineries that pooled their grapes at a shared winery in Gratallops. The wines were sold under five labels: Cos Mogador (Barbier), Clos Dofi – which was later renamed Finca Dofi (Palacios), Clos Erasmus, Clos Martinet, and Clos de l’Obac. From 1992 onwards the winemakers began producing their wines separately, and focused their attention on producing high-quality wines, with good results.
In 2000 the Catalan government raised the region’s designation to Qualified Designation of Origen – DOQ (in Catalán) or DOCa (in Spanish) – which is an elevated status that recognizes the high quality and uniqueness of the wines being produced in the region. The Rioja wine region is the only other region of Spain that is recognized with DOQ/DOCa status.
Today, wines sold under the labels of the pioneers who revitalized Priorat and put this small wine producing region on the world map are winning high scores and praise from critics and consumers alike, and are also commanding high prices. Alvaro Palacios’ L’Ermita 2002 sells for $250 and receives scores of 93, while Celler Mas Doix and Clos Erasmus have also garnered high scores and much acclaim.
Our next post in the series will talk about what makes the Priorat wines so unique, and what types of wines are produced.
To read the next post in this series, click here.
To read the first post in this series, click here.
Photo credit: © Christopher Pappas · All rights reserved.
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