We took a guided tour to Priorat and had the opportunity to visit both sides of the winery spectrum: modern and traditional. Our stops included Ferrer Bobet, Clos Figueras, and Clos Dominic. Priorat is known for its black slate and quartz soil known as llicorella, which produces concentrated, full-bodied reds.
A large winery with floor-to-ceiling windows, Ferrer Bobet overlooks its vineyards growing up along the hillsides. The grapes (Carinyena, Garnatxa Negra, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon) are handpicked and sorted to ensure only the highest quality fruit goes into each bottle. The Priorat blends produced by Ferrer Bobet are complex, aromatic, and elegant. Touring the impressive production facility and learning about the meticulous winemaking process explains why these wines are some of the best I have experienced from this region.
Pitstop: After our tour and tasting at Ferrer Bobet, we visited the tiny village of Morera de Montsant, where we were able to view the entire region from the foothills.
The next stop on the journey took us to Gratallops, where we had lunch at the Clos Figueras winery and estate. The winery is run by Christopher Cannan, who is known for being one of the first in the region (along with Alvaro Palacios, Rene Barbier and Josep Lluis Perez). Their wines are produced with their own grapes from old vines, without watering the vines and without using insecticides or any other synthetic products.
I had my best meal of our entire trip at Clos Figueras in its sunlit dining room, overlooking the gardens from which the vegetables are picked. They served juicy, flavorful lamb chops, roasted potatoes and vegetables, and traditional tomato bread. Of course, all of it tasted better paired with their wines.
After lunch, we met with Paco Castillo-Serrano of the family-run Clos Dominic winery. This old-vine vineyard (with some vines over 100 years old) was purchased by Paco and his wife, Dominic, in 1998. To this day, they manage and harvest their vineyards with help only from family and friends. This winery is about as traditional as you can get, with the tasting room being downstairs among the barrels and cellar.