La Conreria d’Scala Dei Black Slate Escaladei Priorat 2019 really is an elegant wine, not always something expected from this region where wines can often be “big”. The nose and palate scream bramble fruit, blackcurrant and red berries with a hint of vanilla, spice and liquorice. The slate and quartz soils add a touch of mineral complexity. There is a touch of dryness from the tannins in Black Slate Escaladei Priorat but they are very smooth tannins. Often Priorat wines, like Rioja, can be a little too ‘sweet’ from juicy fruit flavours but in this instance the ripe fruits are very well balanced with fresh acidity. This wine’s name was inspired by the Burgundian concept of village nomenclature (Escaladei) and by the local “llicorella” or black slate soils for which Priorat is renowned. Offering little organic matter, this type of soil makes the vines work that much harder to find water and nutrients for the grapes.
La Conreria d’Scala Dei Black Slate Escaladei Priorat is certified organic & produced from the two main native grapes of Priorat – Grenache 80% and Carignan 20%. The vines are old, 40 to 100 years old in this case and yields are low. The combination of old vines, poor soil and low yields make for a concentrated wine with complex aromas and flavours. Priorat wines have the same DOCa status as Rioja wines (DOQ being the Catalan equivalent) but are generally less well-known than Rioja; in fact they are the only two Spanish wines at this highest qualification level. The Conreria d’Scala Dei winery was founded in 1997 by a priest, a teacher and a winemaker and named after the 12th century Cartoixa d’Escaladei, a Carthusian monastery in the nearby village of Scala Dei, which translates as “Ladder to God”.