Costers del Priorat	- ‘Pissarres’ (Samsó and Garnatxa) - Priorat, Spain

Costers del Priorat - ‘Pissarres’ (Samsó and Garnatxa) - Priorat, Spain

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The Priorat region about 90 miles Southwest of Barcelona in Catalonia has a tradition of wine production dating back to the Romans, but after the Spanish Civil War it was almost completely abandoned due to the steep, treacherous and therefore labor-intensive nature of the vineyards. Grape vines are hardy, however, and many very old Garnatxa (Grenache) and Samsó (Cariñena in the rest of Spain, Carignan in France) vines survived until the late 1980s when conditions had brightened enough to make a go of it. Once the pioneering winemakers hit on the formula of using the old vine Garnatxa and Sàmso with small French Oak barrels, the wines experienced a meteoric rise. Priorat is one of only two DOCs in Spain (the other is Rioja) and is the most expensive in the country. Recently, however, less oaked versions have become more prominent as is the case with this wine. Slovenian oak casks that are 8 to 10 times the size of Bordeaux barrels are used to allow minute amounts of oxygen into aging process without the flavors of the oak interfering with the flavor of the 60% Samsó and 40% Garnatxa.