We are planning a road trip to Priorat and the driver will take us to 4 wineries and dinner. Any thoughts on which wineries will give the most bang for the short time. We are not doing Cava as we have a non-sparkling drinker in the group. Also any restaurant ideas near the area as well.
We just came back from Catalonia a few months ago. In Priorat, we really enjoyed Clos Figueras for their excellent red wine and restaurant. We had the pleasure to meet the owner, Christopher Cannan, who is a super nice guy.
Cellers Scala Dei also produces great reds, and has a nice tour of the winery. It’s right next to an ancient monastery, that goes by the same name, that is definitely worth visiting. Incredible views!
Also recommended for tours: Celler Vall Llach, Clos L’Obac (who do lunch and wine parings, but not sure about dinner), and, Clos Dominic.
A resource site you may find useful: DOQ Priorat | Catalunya Wine.
In Peñedes, Alta Alella is a beautiful winery (in the DO Alella region, I’ve been corrected and not exactly in Peñedes). It looks like an amphitheatre of vines overlooking the Mediterranean sea. The tour was really good. They make a mix of reds, whites, and sparkling wine. It’s about 30 minutes from Barcelona.
You really have to look at your distances as the wineries can be spread pretty far apart, and the roads (especially in Priorat) are slow and winding with all the hills and steep terrain.
You’re really going to love the trip if it’s the first time you’ve been; absolutely stunning region and some world class wines on offer, the reds in particular.
I second Paul with regards to Clos Figueras; a lovely winery, good food and ran by lovely people.
I would see Clos Mogador as something of a ‘must-visit’ if you can. Rene Barbier was hugely responsible for the change in fortunes for Priorat and is still one of the leading oenologists in the area. His Clos Mogador is consistently rated as one of Spains very best without going into stratospheric pricing (55-70 euros/bottle). You will definitely need to book in advance.
Frankly the best person to ask would be Miquel Hudin; an American sommelier/writer based in Priorat and author of the Vinologue Priorat guide. Not sure if he posts here but you can get hold of him at https://www.hudin.com/ . He has also recently contributed articles on the recent vintages for Jancisrobinson.com and essentially breathes Priorat wine culture.
Enjoy! I’m based in Barcelona so if you fancy yourself in that neck of the woods, feel free to shoot me a PM.
All the best,
PS. First post!
Looking at Spanish Trails tours of Priorat. That is what I am looking at to use for the visit itself.
El Celler de l’Aspic in Falset was really fantastic. Had the best lunch of our trip there. Great wine list with all the top local wines represented, many not available in the U.S.
As mentioned the area is very mountainous and remote. What looks like a 20 minute drive on a map could take 1 hr. 4 winery visits in a day is very aggressive. The places we tasted at aren’t set up like California style tasting rooms. It’s less touristy so all the visits were tours and sit down tastings with the wine maker. Everyone was so kind and welcoming that each visit took at least an hour if not longer. Highlights were Mas Doix and Vall Llach.
Amazing area, try to spend more than a day if possible.
Fintan, many thanks for the mention. I was surprised to see a bit of traffic hit that site from Wine Berserkers. I broke off my tours from my personal site as the interest has grown in the last year despite it being something that I still do on the side of the wine journalism work. You can find the main site here: The Wine Tours – The Priorat Guide
Lawrence, Spanish Trails offers up similar tours to the buses you find in San Francisco that go up to Napa Valley for the day with a set route and the tours are in a mixed group. I create each tour for the client, keep them private, and am a Certified Sommelier in addition to the author of the books that cover all the cellars of DOQ Priorat & DO Montsant: http://www.vinologue.com
If you’ve chosen to hire them, no problem as they are slightly cheaper than my rates. Whatever the case, feel free to read up on Priorat on my blog here priorat · Hudin.com as well as a Penedès here do penedès · Hudin.com
Cheers and pleasant travels
Miquel, I looked at your site and had questions. Do you pick up at the hotels? How many wineries do you go to on a tour and who picks the wineries? Is wine provided at lunch?
Pickups in Barcelona, no. In the region (or within a half hour of it) yes. For people who don’t want to drive down, I usually recommend the train as it’s economic and nearly the same amount of time as driving. It also allows for a full day in the region with me as opposed to part of the trip counting as the tour.
I do three wineries in a normal day. Every so often, it’s possible to fit in a quick taste at a fourth but I find that three is pretty sufficient lest you get really saturated. As for the winery selection, I take in to account the requests from the client as much as possible whether it be specific wineries or another theme for example, Grenache. Priorat is quite closed off overall and so some wineries simply aren’t possible to visit such as Álvaro Palacios.