Loading... Please wait...


Priorat: The Newest Oldest Region

Posted by

Priorat emerged in the late 1980s and 90s as one of the hottest "new" wine regions in the world, and quickly garnered international acclaim for its bold and innovative winemaking style. In truth, though, this is an immensely old area for wine production. There is evidence of winemaking dating all the way back to the 12th century, mostly due to the Carthusian monks living in the mountains of the region. It was also somewhat influenced by the practices in the Roussillon, just across what is now the French-Spanish border. 

The first blow to Priorat came when the monasterial vineyards were appropriated by the state and redistributed to small shareholders. Then, in the mid-19th century, the region was decimated, as was the rest of Europe, by the arrival of phylloxera, the devastating pest that essentially obliterated Old World strains of vitis vinifera. While other, more lauded regions like Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Rioja, were able to invest the money needed to rebuild their holdings, Priorat fell behind. After decades of failing to recover from these crises, the almost fatal blow came in the early 20th century, when Franco essentially outlawed non-subsistence farming, meaning that vineyards across the country, and especially in Priorat, lay abandoned for years. 

Though the DO of Priorat was established in 1954, the rebirth of Priorat came only much later, as winemakers from Rioja began to invest in this forgotten appellation, including Álvaro Palacios and René Barbier. These pioneers were convinced that the old vines of Priorat, combined with the breathtakingly steep hillsides and unique llicorella soils, could create exceptional, world-class wines. The natural suitability of the land, combined with attention from premier Spanish winemakers and investors worldwide, turned this region from a quiet backwater into an internationally recognized producer in the span of only a few decades. In fact, Priorat remains one of only two regions in Spain (along with Rioja) to earn a DOQ (Denominació d'Origen Qualificada) in 2000 (in Catalonia) and a DOCa (Denominación d'Origen Calificada) 2009 (in Spain). That's basically the same thing, nine years later. Politics, eh?

A spectacular producer of red wine (a small proportion of white wine is made as well), there remains a surprising amount of flexibility in terms of production for such an esteemed wine region. As it is so new, laws are more in keeping with modern winemaking practices than in most Old World regions. There is no regulation on what proportion of grapes must exist in the blend, although they are typically mostly Garnacha Tinta and Cariñena, as well as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah. As in Rioja, the aging is the focus, with a required 6 months in barrel, 18 in bottle for criança; 12 months in barrel, 24 months in bottle for reserva; and 24 months in barrel, 36 in bottle for gran reserva. However, in such a modern, innovative landscape, most winemakers eschew these traditional labels and pursue the aging practices they feel is most suitable to their wines. 

The best way to get to know Priorat is not to read about it, it's to taste it! So join us on Friday, March 23rd, 6-8 PM, as we taste the wines of Cesca Vincent, an organic producer working some of the oldest parcels in the region. Bold, complex, and spicy, these wines are guaranteed to blow your mind!

Champagne: Not Just Fizzy Wine

Around New Year’s Eve and every Sunday morning, there’s one question we get more than any other: “Where’s your Champagne?” While this is always an exciting question because it inevitably means someone is either celebrating or brunching, we counter with, “Our sparkling wines are right over here.” Because it’s inarguable fact: Champagne is more than [...]

Read More »

Cognac, from VS to XO and Beyond

While Cognac has more than established its own reputation on the international market, ultimately it is still classified as a brandy or an eau-de-vie: a fruit-based distilled spirit. In addition to terroir and other quintessentially French establishments of quality, there are also a few technical differences worth noting:First, the spirit must be produced from grapes, unlike schnapps or Calvados. While [...]

Read More »

​Trockenbeerenauslese, Anbaugebeit, Qualitätswein... What?

It seems that every wine region has its fair share of mysterious idiosyncrasies, little quirks and traditions which may take years to fully understand. The tiny parcels of Burgundy, the cru classé of Bordeaux, the hills of Chianti... Well they’re nothing compared to Germany. A relatively small producer of wine on a global scale, they [...]

Read More »

So you missed October Wine Club...

... but you still want to know what the hip kids of Brooklyn are drinking these days? Well, check out this month's selection below! Of course, you'd have to join the club to take advantage of the discounts, free NYC delivery, and the only the finest bottles, always hand-selected around a different and exciting theme! Wines [...]

Read More »

It's all Greek to Us (and We Love It!)

Greece... The name calls to mind images of white buildings with sky-blue rooftops, blazing against the vivid waters of the Aegean. The timeless myths of the Olympians, tales of the great warriors of Sparta and Athens, and the lasting works of formative philosophers and scientists inspire the imagination...What it doesn’t necessarily conjure is a reputation [...]

Read More »

The Wines of Valpolicella, From Start to Finish

Valpolicella has long been one of the most popular wines of Italy. Not only does it come in a variety of styles, from light and fruity, to intense and concentrated, to delectably sweet; Valpolicella also lies right on a railroad line through the Alps, meaning the wine was able to easily tap into continental European [...]

Read More »

A Quick and (Somewhat) Easy Guide to Burgundy

Burgundy has been a headache for wine enthusiasts since the Romans. This small but exceptional region is best known for its two ruling grapes (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay), the importance of vintage variation (every year is drastically different), and most of all, its terroir. The concept of terroir, now worldwide, may well have first emerged [...]

Read More »

Los Vinos Blancos de España!

Jorge from Ripe Wine Imports shares three white wines from the some of the most notable wine regions in Spain, tonight from 6-8 PM! When you think of Spanish wines, you probably think red. And for good reason, more and more Spanish reds are emerging as premium, world-class wines in a variety of styles. However, though [...]

Read More »

Tasting Tonight: London Dry? Try American Dry.

Master distiller and founder of Greenhook Ginsmith, Steven DeAngelo, pours his award-winning local gins, today from 5-7 PM.Since we opened our doors, we've been huge supporters of the local distilling movement in New York. One of our favorite Brooklyn spirits, Greenhook Ginsmiths in Greenpoint, has been a regular on our shelves for years now, and a store favorite. Today, we'd [...]

Read More »


    Waterfront Wines & Spirits
    360 Furman Street
    One Brooklyn Bridge Park
    Brooklyn NY 11201
    (Joralemon & Furman Sts)


    12:00 pm - 9:00 pm

    7 days a week.


    Mon-Thu 4:30 pm - 8:30 pm

    Fri-Sun 3:00 pm - 8:30 pm

    Delivery Info Here.


    Delivery Zone