Priorat Lovers Newsletter: April and May



In April and May, activity on all fronts, vineyard, winery and wine tourism has accelerated.


We seem to be leaving the pandemic behind us and the situation is normalising.


This month Rafel explains the particularities of organic farming, Eva talks about the cleaning of ageing barrels and Diana writes about the origin of the varieties.


As always, I wish you all, Priorat fans, good health and good wine.


Enric Vives


Enric Vives



In the vineyard

Special features of organic viticulture.



With the sprouting of the vines of the vines and the growth of the vegetation and development of the new organs, the need for the first phytosanitary treatments begins.


In organic viticulture only preventive treatments are possible,

 i.e. before the disease or pest develops and becomes externalised.


It is therefore essential to know the most sensitive stages of the plant and the most favourable for fungal, mite and insect attacks on both leaves and bunches.



Only contact products can be used, the main disadvantages of which are that they are washed away by rain, have low persistence once applied and are easily degradable in general for extreme climatic conditions.


The CCPAE is the body that regulates certified organic viticulture in Catalonia. It has very strict regulations and carries out an annual audit and inspection of all registered operators to check that authorised practices are being carried out correctly and thus offer the required safety and guarantee to consumers of organic foodstuffs.


Rafel Gauchola

Vineyard manager


In the cellar

Cleaning of boots.



April is the time to take the wine out of the barrel. It has spent a whole year ageing in it. Before emptying a batch of wine from the barrels, we taste them all and if any of them is not up to the expected level, it will be discarded.


We then rack the wine into a large stainless steel vat where we homogenise the blend of barrels. where we homogenise the mixture of the barrels.



We work with several coopers and each one gives us different aromas and nuances, providing aromatic complexity and the structure in the mouth that we desire.


Once the barrel is empty, we clean it with a pressurised water machine (as shown in the photograph). This machine is rotating and washes all the corners of the barrel with hot water and a lot of pressure. When we see that the water that comes out is clean, we let it drain for a few hours and then it can be filled again.



We use the barrels for a maximum of 5 years, as the natural tartaric acid in the grapes forms its salt over time, and this salt sticks to the barrel, forming a type of crust that prevents oxygen from entering the barrel and natural evaporation, and also loses its aromatic and gustatory properties.


Eva Escudé



Local vs. foreign varieties



In every wine-growing area of the world there are certain grape varieties that are the most widely planted, either because they are the ones that have always been planted, or because they are varieties that at some point in history became fashionable and were planted all over the world.


In the 80's, there was a fever of French wines all over the world, they were considered by the great wine market as the best wines in the world, and that is why they started to plant typical French varieties, as they were the ones used to make the great French wines. As an example, if you notice, you can find Cabernet Sauvignon wines in any wine area of the world, when it is a typical variety of the Bordeaux area.


They came to be called "improving varieties" because they improved the varieties that had always been planted in the different wine-growing areas. because they improved the varieties that had always been planted in the different wine-growing areas. And they used them in coupages with their own varieties or they made monovarietals.


All this has changed.

What is valued now is the uniqueness of each region.


That variety which is unique, which is different from the varieties found in other wine regions. We have become accustomed to calling these varieties unique to each region the autochthonous varieties. This would mean that the variety was born in that place for the first time, and this is not always true. Usually, the varieties that represent a wine region are the ones that have been cultivated for the longest time, and are the ones that have best adapted to the terroir, climate and soil. This is why they are said to be historic varieties.



In Priorat, for example, our historic varieties are Grenache and Carignan. Two varieties that were brought by the Carthusian monks at the end of the 12th century. For us they are our historic varieties, they are the grape varieties that have best adapted to our climate and to our Llicorella.


Defending historical varieties gives wines a personality of their own. Every wine region in the world is different, has a particular climate, a particular soil and that is what we look for when we taste a wine.



We want to find the expression of a territory in a bottle.



Diana Juarez