WINE SCHOOL 30 January 2023 - 5 February 2023

REGION: Spain > Catalunya > Priorato

The region known locally as Priorat, and in non-Catalan speaking Spain as Priorato, produces rich, powerful reds from low-yielding old vines planted in near barren soils. Situated in the hot Catalunya region just south of Barcelona, the quality and reputation of Priorat has been transformed since the 1990s and top wines now command prices as steep as the terraced slopes from which they originate.

Key grapes: Garnacha, Cariñena

GRAPE: Carignan

Often somewhat maligned, Carignan developed a bad reputation in the 1970s and '80s as a bulk ingredient in poor quality European (predominantly French) wines. High tannins and acidity combined with aromas blunted by high yields or under-ripe grapes certainly make for an unappealing drink. But if you judge a grape by its poorest wines, no variety would command much respect.

Grapes from low-yielding old vines can make excellent wine. Carignan needs a decent amount of heat to thrive. Plantings in the Languedoc and southern Rhone ripen to produce wines with concentrated black fruit flavours. In Spain, under the guise of Cariñena, the grape adds smokey liquorice notes to brooding Priorat wines. Old vines in Chile can produce beautiful single varietal wines, balancing rich berry scents with uplifting spice or rose.

Synonyms: Carignane (USA), Carignano (Italy), Cariñena (Spain)


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