In the center of the small village of Porrera (population 432), the cellars of Joan Simó are located in a two hundred year old house, passed down from Gerard Batllevell Simó’s mother’s family. Gerard farms the old vineyards from his family (Les Eres) as well as La Garranxa which he planted in 1999 and 2000 to Garnatxa, Samsó, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. THis high altitude plat had been barren since the phylloxera onslaught. The death defying hike/Land Rover trip up the steep mountainous slopes of the Priorat make one realize why these ancient vineyard sites are so coveted and rare.
PRIORAT || Viticulture has an ancient history in the Priorat, and winemaking dates to the 12th century, when monks founded the Carthusian Monastery of Scala Dei in 1194. The prior of Scala Dei ruled as a feudal lord over seven villages in the area, which gave rise to the name Priorat. The basis for the soils (called llicorella in Catalán) are reddish and black slate with small particles of mica, which reflects the sunlight and conserves heat. Vines are forced deep into the ground in search of water and nutrients, in many cases well over 30 meters.