June 23, 2023 by
Maytte Rivera

Llicorella is the Catalan name for the unique soil type found in the wine region of Priorat, Spain, made of black slate and quartz.  This flakey and fragile slate soil is poor in nutrients and retains little water, forcing the roots of the vine to dig deep to reach more nutritious layers of clay. Some roots go down 30 feet in the ground looking for food and water! This stress causes the vine to grow slowly and produce a lower quantity of richly flavored grape bunches.  The quartz particles in the soil retain heat and reflect it back to the grapes, helping to ripen the sugars and develop full flavor aromatics.

Priorat is known for producing red wines based on Garnacha tinta and Cariñena, with some international grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah permitted in the blend, among others.  Most examples, like Alvaro Palacios “Finca Dofí” or Buil & Gine “Pleret”, are full body with long ageing potential, structured tannins, high alcohol content, and concentrated dark fruit and mineral flavors. These wineries also make more approachable, young versions like “Camins del Priorat” and “Giné Giné”, both ready to drink with smoked sausages or dry, aged cheeses.

Author: Maytte Rivera

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