The approach is very reminiscent of the Amalfi coast road: precipitous, tortuous and plain scary. We arrived at Conreria d’Escala Dei for a personal guided tour by Jordi, the winemaker. Escala Dei is considered the historical center of Priorato because the Cistercian monks established their monastery(cartoixa) there in the 1300’s. The winery was started in ’97 with 3 partners and now is up to 22, a necessity to get cash for investing in the beautiful winery. Our lunch was the typical calçotada with grilled leeks swallowed as you hold them above your head. The primary grapes in Priorato are the grenache and carignan, with a few other varieties as needed. The result is a rich, dark, voluptuous yet rustic wine that is enjoyable with grilled meats.
We ended our visit to the area at Celler Joan Simo in Porera, a town of 500 inhabitants. (Escala Dei only has 22 souls!) Priorato is not to be missed so add it to your bucket list.