The D.O.Q. Priorat mainly consists of the territories, which formed part of the area formerly under the control of the monastery of Scala Dei, founded in the XII century by the cartusian monks at the foot of the Montsant mountain range. Once they were established they started to produce wines of such an excellent quality that they graced the tables of the nobility. Demand grew, and between the XVIII and XIX centuries, vines were planted throughout the Priorat.
The area's soil has a crucial influence on the final product. The region has a rugged terrain formed by the foothills of the Montsant mountain range. The vineyards are planted between 200 and 1,000 metres above the sea level either in small plots on the steep slopes themselves or on old terraces. The soil is composed of dark slate (the famous “licorella”) mixed with patches of quartzite, which sparkle in the sun. This rocky layer plays an important role by allowing vines to be grown on steep slopes without the need to plant them on terraces, whilst at the same time it prevents excessive evaporation. The vine roots go deep into the fissures of the slate to find water and nutrients, making a positive contribution to the quality of the wine. The soil is very healthy with little organic material.
Registered area under vine is 1,600 ha. Vine spacing: between 2,500 and 9,000 vines/ha. Varieties: Garnacha Blanca, Macabeo, Pedro Ximenez and Xenin, in whites; preferred red: Garnacha País, and authorised reds: Garnacha Peluda, Cariñena, Cabernet-Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. The maximum authorised production: 6,000 kg/ha. in whites and reds.
VITICULTORS Mas d´en Gil PRIORAT