Question about Priorat and Barcelona

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Joe Dulworth
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Question about Priorat and Barcelona

#1 Post by Joe Dulworth » December 5th, 2018, 12:33 pm

I've read the 8+ threads on Priorat and Barcelona and have jotted down many recommendations. Thanks to everybody that has helped previously. Now I have a bit more specific two part question I'd like to ask the group.

Setting the stage: We will be leaving San Sebastian July 10th and driving to the Priorat region. Roughly 5 hours worth. I was thinking one winery visit that afternoon before checking into a hotel in Priorat. Three visits Thursday. One visit Friday morning after check out before driving to Barcelona and spending the balance of Friday and Saturday and Sunday up to flight time there.

Does that sound like a reasonable schedule to split time between the two places and if yes where would you recommend staying in Priorat? I have no sense of the lay of the land in that area as to what is an iddy biddy roll up the sidewalks place, a city, better hotels, convenient to wineries and dining in the area, etc...

Based on the excellent input here so far I have a really good handled on Barcelona to schedule a few days stay there.

TIA!
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Re: Question about Priorat and Barcelona

#2 Post by dbailey » December 5th, 2018, 1:16 pm

Only thing I would say is that it will be hot as hell - be prepared.
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Re: Question about Priorat and Barcelona

#3 Post by Joe Dulworth » December 5th, 2018, 1:29 pm

That isn't a problem at all. We're all from Texas.
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Re: Question about Priorat and Barcelona

#4 Post by Darren Leininger » December 7th, 2018, 3:49 pm

Hi Joe - I own a home very near Priorat (Horta de Sant Joan) and I am very familiar with that part of the Spanish wine country. Your Thursday plans may be a bit ambitious as tastings tend to take a bit longer and the wineries will likely be closed for 2 hours (or more) for lunch. As well, depending on whom you wish to visit there will be a drive involved. The mountain villages (La Figuera, La Viella Baixa, Gratallops, Torroja, Poboleda, Porerra) appear close together, but driving between them can be time consuming. I recommend trying to visit wineries in the same village or withing 20 km of one another. As "veterans" of Priorat, we usually visit no more than two in a day usually at 11:00 and 3:00 or 4:00 with lunch in between. Make sure you have lunch at El Celler de l'Aspic in Falset. The food is good but the wine list is perhaps the best Priorat heavy list in the world with great prices on the who's who of Priorato. Have fun!
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Re: Question about Priorat and Barcelona

#5 Post by Jeff Bloom » December 7th, 2018, 7:00 pm

I don't have Darren's knowledge because I've only been in the area for day trips but I think he's right that three visits in one day is ambitious unless all three are in/right around Gratallops, and even then it really doesn't allow for how visits are conducted in the area. If you're driving anywhere outside Gratallops, it's unrealistic because of the windy roads, particularly if you're stuck behind someone driving slowly. Don't ignore wineries in Montsant, the surrounding DO, however, which has some very good producers.

Remember also that it's not a very touristy area, so your hotel choices might be limited. Falset is the bigger town but Gratallops is the center of the wine industry. That being said, you probably don't want to go to dinner in Falset and then have to drive up to Gratallops if you've been drinking a bit at dinner.

I strongly second El Celler de l'Aspic. The food is very good but the wine is the draw - a great selection at basically retail plus corkage. A big parking lot across the street helps.

A minor point to note - a lot of signs, etc. are in Catalan. Don't expect everyone to speak Spanish willingly. The Google translate app was quite helpful.

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Re: Question about Priorat and Barcelona

#6 Post by Joe Dulworth » December 10th, 2018, 6:49 am

Thanks Darren & Jeff. I appreciate the information. Funny that you guys think 3 per day is ambitious. I thought of it more as a limit. My plan was definitely one in the morning, one in the afternoon, lunch between. I was treating the third as a bonus more or less.

I think we've settled on Hotel Cal Llop in Gratallops for our hotel for two nights in that area. That basically came down to the stunning views of the Alvaro Palacios vineyards from all of their south facing rooms. I think we're locked on it at the moment.

To further hone this down right now I'm thinking we have one tasting the afternoon we arrive, spend the next day at wineries closer to Falset so we can have lunch at El Celler de l'Aspic in between, catch a winery on our way out of Gratallops Friday morning as we head to Barcelona. I'm thinking that is doable and most efficient use of time. Comments are welcome.
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Re: Question about Priorat and Barcelona

#7 Post by Darren Leininger » December 11th, 2018, 12:15 pm

If you can arrange a visit to Nit de Nin (Familia Nin-Ortiz) don't miss it! Not only is the wine fantastic but Ester Nin is a gem. A truly wonderful human and passionate wine maker with an infectious enthusiasm for her craft. My favorite visit ever in Priorat.
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Re: Question about Priorat and Barcelona

#8 Post by Joe Dulworth » December 11th, 2018, 12:21 pm

I made a note.
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Re: Question about Priorat and Barcelona

#9 Post by Tim Heaton » December 11th, 2018, 6:53 pm

Darren Leininger wrote:
December 7th, 2018, 3:49 pm
Hi Joe - I own a home very near Priorat (Horta de Sant Joan) and I am very familiar with that part of the Spanish wine country. Your Thursday plans may be a bit ambitious as tastings tend to take a bit longer and the wineries will likely be closed for 2 hours (or more) for lunch. As well, depending on whom you wish to visit there will be a drive involved. The mountain villages (La Figuera, La Viella Baixa, Gratallops, Torroja, Poboleda, Porerra) appear close together, but driving between them can be time consuming. I recommend trying to visit wineries in the same village or withing 20 km of one another. As "veterans" of Priorat, we usually visit no more than two in a day usually at 11:00 and 3:00 or 4:00 with lunch in between. Make sure you have lunch at El Celler de l'Aspic in Falset. The food is good but the wine list is perhaps the best Priorat heavy list in the world with great prices on the who's who of Priorato. Have fun!
this. I haven't been in l'Aspic since 2008, glad to see they/he is still around; list was my main reason for visiting. Joe, call me with any questions...or complaints, I'm familiar with this program ;-)
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Re: Question about Priorat and Barcelona

#10 Post by Jeff Bloom » December 12th, 2018, 1:44 pm

Joe,

Your schedule looks realistic (and leaves you time for retail shops and small wineries that have walk in tasting rooms if you want additional tasting) but I'm not sure what "wineries closer to Falset" you have in mind. Most of the places you probably want to visit are in or near Gratallops (like Clos Mogador and Clos Figueras; I don't think Alvaro Palacios takes visitors unless you have an ITB connection). Mas Martinet has a Falset address but is really probably mid-way between Falset and Gratallops (again unless you have an ITB connection, Mas Martinet does a long and not cheap visit). Leaving Falset, Vall Llach is in a different direction from Gratallops you wouldn't really drive back to Gratallops through Falset (Terroir Al Limit is sort of on the way in that direction, though).

You should really think about where you want to visit and how much driving you want to do before you commit to a certain schedule.

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Re: Question about Priorat and Barcelona

#11 Post by Joe Dulworth » December 12th, 2018, 1:59 pm

I haven't plotted the wineries out on a map yet. Haven't gotten that far as I've been working offline on the La Rioja section of our trip. I was just hoping or assuming there might be at least a couple near Falset, mostly so that we could easily hit up Celler l'Aspic at lunch during our full day. That's all.
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Re: Question about Priorat and Barcelona

#12 Post by Jeff Bloom » December 12th, 2018, 5:52 pm

Joe Dulworth wrote:
December 12th, 2018, 1:59 pm
I haven't plotted the wineries out on a map yet. Haven't gotten that far as I've been working offline on the La Rioja section of our trip. I was just hoping or assuming there might be at least a couple near Falset, mostly so that we could easily hit up Celler l'Aspic at lunch during our full day. That's all.
I get that completely. You'll love Rioja. It makes it easy that La Rioja Alta, Muga, Lopez de Heredia and Roda are all within walking distance of each other and Cune is a short distance away.

Consider this for Priorat. A visit in or near Gratallops in the morning, down the hill for lunch at Celler de l'Aspic and back up the hill for an afternoon visit.

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Re: Question about Priorat and Barcelona

#13 Post by Darren Leininger » December 12th, 2018, 6:38 pm

Near Falset...... Capafons Osso, 7 minute drive. Cellers de Capcanes, 8 minute drive. Celler Masroig, 10 minute drive. Celler la Placeta, 15 minute drive. Celler Joan d'Anguera, 15 minute drive. A few of theses you may recognize but all are serious wines. In general, Priorato has seen a significant rise in quality over the last 10 years and the last 5 in particular. Some of my favorite visits and wines are the smaller lesser known producers in the area.
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Re: Question about Priorat and Barcelona

#14 Post by Joe Dulworth » December 13th, 2018, 6:41 am

Thanks guys. Appreciate it.
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Re: Question about Priorat and Barcelona

#15 Post by Kevin Sidders » December 14th, 2018, 8:38 am

One other thing you might consider on your way to Barcelona is stopping in Penedes, where you could hit a sparkling producer like Raventos i Blanc or Pares Balta. Both are pretty much just off the main motorway on the way from Priorat to Barcelona, and a quick visit might break up the drive...
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Re: Question about Priorat and Barcelona

#16 Post by Jeff Bloom » December 14th, 2018, 5:28 pm

Darren,

Definitely good recommendations. Those wineries are in Montsant, however. A technical difference to some degree but a difference nonetheless.

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