37/365 – Catalonia – DOQ Priorat – Gratallops – Celler DeVinssi– Mas de les Valls 2008
……., I just got time for a little more wine!
Small, small, small……, when I first visited DeVinssi, about 4 years ago, I almost didn’t find the cellar. If you blink, briefly, while walking past the house where it is located, you might miss it! In the days, production was only 8.000 bottles, they have now reached 12.000 per year. Then it was the smallest commercial winery in Priorat. Now, there is one that is smaller!
Artisanal principles apply, both in the vineyards and in the cellar. Bottling, putting a cork in it and labeling is all done by hand. Just as well, as the space wouldn’t accommodate any fancy machinery.
In the year 2000, Josep Roca Benito founded DeVinssi, because he really likes wine! Not only does he hold the Masters Diploma in Enology and Viticulture, but he also holds the keys to one of Barcelonas best wine shops! Now, that’s love for wine.
Out of the wines they make, todays choice is Mas de les Valls. It transmits the Priorat terroir very well and at the same time, for the quality, it is a very affordable wine. I have in my small wine collection, their Vi Ranci Dolc 1963. Sorry but I am saving that for a very special occasion, at which time I will share it with you!
Gratallops, the village, in which you will find the Celler DeVinssi is overhanging the Siurana river, Gratallops is in the heart of a licorella (slate) basin, irrigated on the other side by the Montsant river. Gratallops is about 320 m. above sea level and about 25 km. from the Costa Daurada, as the crow flies.
Tradition says that the village was named Villanova del Pi, a long time ago. The land was property of the township of Siurana for centuries but all this ended in 1153, when the Moorish Empire declined and the Christians started to occupy the land. The Moorish Princess blindfolded her horse and jumped of a cliff, realizing she couldn’t escape!
In 1258, we find the first evidence of Gratallops being mentioned in the “Carta de Poblacion”. The Convent of Scaladei decided for the township of Gratallops to be repopulated. Some say, there was a castle built there in the 14th century but no remains are to be found today.
Vine growing became the main acitvity in the 18th century and since the end of the 1980ies, Gratallops became synonymous with Priorat, as the gang of five, established their cellars there. Today we can count up to 18 cellars in Gratallops, so what do you think people here drink for lunch?
Walking around the village is quite easy and there is plenty to see and do, even for those (why???) that doesn’t like wine!?! If you get tired of walking you can always take the tramway of Gratallops for a ride, as it is only 10 meters in length, the ride wont take that long!
Once you find Celler DeVinssi, a warm greeting will be bestowed upon you by Jordi Ustrell, the front of the winery. Tour guide, marketeer, grape picker, you name it, he does it! Jordi will look after you in the best possible way, always! And if you ever feel like adopting a grapevine, DeVinssi offers this option as a curiosity.
Mas de les Valls 2008, Garnacha, Carignena and Cabernet Sauvignon
The color is cherry red of medium intensity with vivid purple hues. The primary aroma is that of red apples, fresh cherries, jam of berries/raspberry. As it opens up and even throughout the tasting, as it is changing, strawberry, vanilla, floral notes, slight dates and soft wood accents. Light balsamic tones. In the palate has a balanced acidity, medium to high body, very velvety and a long finish. If you like this one the Rocapoll (by DeVinissi) should be tried as well!
337 to go!