Conreria d’Scala Dei
- Priorat, Catalonia, Spain
It’s uncontroversial to say that monks and wine go together like peas and pods, so when the Carthusian order arrived in the Priorat in the late 12th century, one of the first things that they did was plant vines. Their priory, the Cartoixa d’Scala Dei, literally the steps to god, might have referred to the rugged landscape or the terraces required to farm this remote land. These priors would lend their name to this entire region, the Priorat, and were instrumental in creating many of the now-famous villages in the DOQ – the oldest of which, Escaladei, bears the original name of the medieval priory. While now in ruins, any visit to the Priorat inevitably includes a stop at the Cartoixa d’Scala Dei, picturesquely situated at the foot of the Montsant.
Adjacent to the derelict priory sits Conreria d’Scala Dei, with the very talented Jordi Vidal at the helm. The estate was founded in 1997 by Jordi and two friends. Their top site, Les Brugueres, and its centenary vines of Garnatxa Blanca produces one of the most delicious, single-varietal white wines in the DOQ. Jordi also makes an elegant version of Black Slate from vines in Escaladei and our only Black Slate white from vines he tends in the village of La Morera.
Jordi organically farms several sites that vary in location, elevation, and soil. While most are located near the winery, there are a few vineyards in La Vilella Alta, Poboleda, and La Morera. Some sites are planted on steep slopes and terraces, while the remainder are on lower-elevation alluvial soils. The vine age at Concreria d’Scala Dei ranges from 10 to well over 100 years old. While most of the vines are rooted in llicorella soils, higher percentages of clay and limestone are mixed with schist closer to the Montsant range. The estate controls 26.5 hectares planted with Garnatxa Negra, Carinyena, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Garnatxa Blanca, and Pedro Ximénez.
With nearly a dozen sites and such an array of varieties, harvest at Conreria d’Scala Dei is quite hectic. Each site and variety is harvested by hand and brought to the cellar to be fermented separately. The whites are crushed and see a short maceration before pressing, followed by fermentation and aging in tank. The reds see short macerations of less than 20 days, followed by aging in neutral French and American oak barrels.
This profile and tasting notes were edited from the European Cellars website, along with the pictures used. For more information please visit: European Cellars.