Talking about the landscape of a place is always a difficult task, given the complexity of factors involved and the varying viewpoints therein.
However, the one thing the Priorat has is its uniqueness. No-one strolling through the terrain can help but be aware that he is in a unique landscape, one that has characteristics that make it very different from any other place, even if it has similar mountainous and agronomic features.
Here, in the DOQ Priorat, the climate and the sun have together defined a landscape that may not be appealing to some people, but can seduce others. Indifference will never be a feature that defines it. However, like any landscape, the hand of man is present and gives a personal touch. It is the symbol of honest work in a difficult and forbidding field, which transforms the area into a special landscape. In the end, the main feature that defines the landscape of the Priorat DOQ is uniformity; all of the enclosures, hillsides, streams, farms, gardens, paths, stone outhouses or farmhouses, have a characteristic and authentic touch that define the essence of the Priorat. We know that you will find this singular place to be a land of character, tradition and spectacular landscape. It is the territory of slate, which runs from the mountains along gentle ridges to hillsides so steep that one wonders how it was ever possible to plant vines on them.
The DOQ Priorat forms a compact and well-defined landscape unit, formed by the great mountainous amphitheater that stretches out at the foot of the sierra de Montsant, by the slate-bed of its hillsides and by its role in the agricultural sector, which has remained almost intact up to recent times.
The tortuous geography of this area means that many vineyards are worked as “costers” (Catalan word meaning steep slope) which are so steep than in some areas terraces have been built.
The resulting landscape, which these vineyards provide us with are one of the defining characteristics of the Priorat, giving it a distinctive personality.
A large part of the territory of the DOQ Priorat has countryside protection, either as a special Plan of Natural Interest (PEIN); Natura 2000 network; or as part of the territory included in the Natural Park of Serra de Montsant.
The DOQ Priorat has catalogued 100% of the territory according to the specific conditions for the planting of vines.
The DOQ Priorat, member of CERVIM
The Centre de Recerca, Estudi i Valorització per a la Viticultura de Muntanya (CERVIM) is an international institute formed in 1987 under the leadership of the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV). It unites regions and regional, national and international organisations that work for the valuation and preservation of mountain viticulture.
This institution has been regulated according to the legislation of the Aosta Valley since 2004, which has its headquarters in this region. Since it was founded, the centre has safeguarded the interests of mountain and hillside viticulture. It carries out studies, research and conferences and participates in all international meetings of this sector that debate issues relating to viticulture.
The DOQ Priorat was admitted to this select group of wine-producing regions at the beginning of the year 2013. The president of CERVIM, Roberto Gaudio, presented on May 30th this organisation in Barcelona and, later, in the village of Porrera.
All the producing areas that are part of CERVIM have a series of common characteristics that give rise to the term ‘heroic’ viticulture. Viticulture ‘heroic’ is defined by a number of conditions into which the DOQ Priorat falls, such as the following: orographic conditions with little mechanization; small vineyards, sometimes divided and often organized on terraces; agricultural companies with a surface of enclosed farmland; a need for high economic investments for the modernisation of the crops and, finally, the existence of adverse weather conditions.