La Cartuja Priorat 2008
About the Region
Until the mid-1980s, this mountainous region southwest of Barcelona, near the ancient Roman capital of Tarragona, was known mostly for the production of undistinguished, high-alcohol bulk wines (including altar wines for the Catholic Church) and a type of fortified wine called vi ranci. Winemakers René Barbier and, slightly later, Álvaro Palacios recognized the potential of the region, however, and began tending the ancient garnacha (grenache), cariñena (carignan), and other vines here and planting new vineyards. Syrah, cabernet sauvignon, and merlot are now increasingly grown here (as are garnacha blanca, macabeo, pedro Ximénez, and chenin blanc for white wines), and the region has become one of the most prestigious in Spain, above all for its inky, hearty, mineraly reds. The whites, while less successful overall, can have some of the spicy, flowery character of white Rhône wines.