The small wine region of Priorat is located in the Catalonia region of Spain. This world-famous region is well known for producing unique and high-quality bottles of red wine that can not be replicated anywhere else in the world.
There are two wine grapes that make up the vast majority of Priorat’s production, though there are nine total wine grapes that are commonplace in the region.
The Top Wines of Priorat
The bold red wines of Priorat are nearly always blends, with Garnacha Tinta and Samsó making up the majority of the mixture.
- Garnacha Tinta
- Garnacha Peluda
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- Cabernet Franc
- Ull de Llebre
- Pinot Noir
- Picapoll Tinto
Garnacha Tinta is the local name for the French red wine of Grenache. Outside of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, France, the Priorat region is known to produce some of the highest quality red wines using the Grenache grape in the entire world.
This is one of the two most important grapes in the entire region and is the primary grape that is used in the vast majority of red wine blends that are produced here. Some of the best wines in the entire region are also bottles of single varietal wines using this versatile grape.
While the Grenache grape originated in France, it is most commonly associated with the country of Spain today. There are more Grenache vineyards planted in Spain than anywhere else in the world, and both the local climate and soils are well suited for the grape.
Outside of Tempranillo, Grenache is the most popular Spanish grape today, and it became increasingly important after the phylloxera outbreak of the 18th century devastated local Temranillo vineyards. Grenache was planted instead in many places, and the vines thrived.
This juicy red wine grape produces full-bodied red wines that are dark in pigment and generally low in tannin. These wines are also generally fairly low in acidity and high in residual sugar content, making them very easy to drink and a great option for use in red blends.
Alvaro Palacios L’Ermita Velles Vinyes is an extremely prestigious and high-quality bottle of single varietal red wine made using the Grenache grape, A single bottle often sells for over $1000 at restaurants, and the quality of this wine justifies the price tag.
In the year 1998, the prestigious publication Wine Spectator ranked Alvaro Palacios L’Ermita Velles Vinyes #26 on their annual top 100 list. This brought a great amount of attention to the producer and label, and prices have increased steadily ever since the award.
Clos i Terrasses Clos Erasmus is another extremely popular bottle of single varietal Grenache that has received high praise from some of the most important wine critics in the world. Sommeliers and critics agree that this is one of the best expressions of the Grenache grapes.
A single bottle usually costs between $200 and $250, though prices can be much higher for certain sought-after vintages. While widely distributed, it can be difficult to find this particular wine outside of fine dining restaurants and specialty wine shops.
Samsó is the local Spanish name for the Carignan wine grape, and along with Grenach it dominated the landscape of Priorat wines. The wine grape contains a very dark skin that is full of deep dark pigmentation, which shows in the resulting wines.
This is a thick-skinned grape that is well suited to warm weather wine-producing regions, and the skins contain high levels of tannin. These tannic wines are bold and aggressive, making them a perfect candidate for blending with Grenache.
Similar to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in the world-famous Bordeaux blend, Garnacha Tinta and Samsó work to achieve a balanced wine with a depth of flavor that surpasses the possibilities of each grape on its own.
While some wine enthusiasts do not regard the Samsó grape as highly as Grenache, Tempranillo, or Cabernet Sauvignon, this versatile wine grape is essential to the famous red wine blends that are produced in Priorat, Spain.
Ferrer Bobet Seleccio Especial Vinyes Velles is one of the most popular bottles of single varietal wine made with the Samsó grape in the entire world. It has received 94 and 91 point scores from Wine Enthusiasts for the 2011 and 2013 vintages, respectively.
This is one of the most famous wines from the entire area of Catalonia, and it is a staple at some of the top restaurants across the country of Spain. It is distributed widely around Europe and is available at a variety of specialty wine shops in the United States and Canada.
Terroir Al Limit Soc. Lda. Les Tosses is another single varietal Samsó that has gained international acclaim as well as a strong local following. This makes for a fantastic “steakhouse wine,” as the tannins work to break down the fats in hearty pieces of meat.
This bottle of wine continues to draw high marks from a number of respected international wine critics, and it is available at some of the best restaurants in all of Europe.
While the Samsó grape is well known for its use in blends, it shines on its own in this setting.
Garnacha Peluda is a variant of the Grenache grape that is identified by the long filaments that extend from the underside of its leaves. Translated, the name means “hairy Grenache,” and the wine grape is most often used to bring depth and color to blends.
Mas Martinet ‘Martinet Bru’ is one of the top red wine blends that contain this wine grape, and it has increased in popularity dramatically over the past several years. It is a complex blend containing a mixture of five different wine grapes.
Cabernet Sauvignon is the most popular red wine grape in the entire world today, and this bold and tannic French wine grape has established itself as a key secondary varietal when it comes to red wine blends in Priorat.
Cellers de Scala Dei Prior is a popular and high-quality wine that is made using a combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, and Syrah to make a Spanish blend using only french red wine grapes.
Cabernet Franc is a famous French wine grape that is used in Priorat to provide “backbone” and depth of flavor to the region’s red wine blends. While not often labeled on the bottle, this red wine grape is used sparingly in a large number of blends locally.
While very important in the famous French region of Bordeaux, Cabernet Franc is not traditionally utilized to a large degree in the Priorat region. In recent years, however, winemakers have increased the plantings of the grape and focused on higher grape quality.
Ull de Llebre
Ull de Llebre is the local name for the Tempranillo grape. While this wine grape is very predominant across Spain, it is only used in a background role in the Priorat region – providing structure and spice to red wine blends.
2019 Merum Priorati – Tempranillo Priorat Desti is one of the few red wines from this region of Catalonia that prominently features the Tempranillo grape. It is fairly hard to come by, as eager wine enthusiasts tend to buy large quantities every single year.
Pinot Noir is a famous wine grape that is used in Priorat to add acidity and red fruit flavors to red wine blends.
This delicate French red wine grape is fairly thin-skinned, making it difficult to mass produce in the warm weather regions across Spain.
The Merlot grape is one of the key varieties used in the famous red wine blends of Bordeaux. It is also used in the red wine blends of Priorat, though in much smaller ratios compared to Bordeaux. Merlot works to bring softness and depth to tannic blends and helps achieve balance.
De Muller Les Pusses is one of the rare red blends from this part of the world that does not include either the Garnacha Tinta or Samsó grapes. It is a blend of Syrah and Merlot, which work in harmony to strike a perfect balance between smooth and bold.
Syrah is a spicy red wine grape that has been described by many wine enthusiasts as having a taste that is similar to black pepper.
It is a fantastic candidate for blending with other wine grapes, as it imparts flavor and spice without overpowering the mix.
Bodega Les Cousins Marc & Adria L’Inconscient is made using a combination of Syrah, Merlot, and Grenache. This affordable bottle of wine has become popular for its accessibility and is easily recognized by its fun and colorful label.
Is a rare red wine grape that contains such a high degree of pigmentation that many wine enthusiasts describe it as having black skin. It is best utilized in red wine blends that are light in color and lacking in depth of flavor.
While Orto Vins ‘La Coma del Genis‘ is not technically included within the Priorat designation, it is produced in the same geographical area of Catalonia, Spain. This affordable red wine is very food friendly, especially with Spanish tapas and pork-based dishes.
Wines Of Priorat – Conclusion
The Priorat wine region of northeast Spain is one of the most important wine regions in all of Europe and is well known for producing the best wines of Catalonia.
The red wines that are produced here are distinctly bold and deep, with strong flavors and incredible depth of flavor.
Also, check out our list of wine regions around the world to deepen your knowledge of wine.