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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".
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. Black Slate 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.
This 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 but they are very smooth. Often Priorat wines, like Rioja, have a sweetness from the fruit flavours but in this instance they are very well balanced with fresh acidity.
Recommended to drink with game, duck, goose, steak and other red meats, also with paella and other Spanish dishes
"Exudes classic Priorat aromas of black cherries and bramble fruit with notes of baked slate, licorice root and wild herbs. Medium to full-bodied, fresh and focused palate with a lengthy finish"