1990. René Barbier, a Catalan wine-maker who had studied and worked in France, arrives in Paris with three bottles of red wine he has just bottled in the Priorat. He goes to have lunch at the restaurant run by the best sommelier of the moment, Jean-Claude Jambon. René asks Jean-Claude to taste the wine he has brought from Catalonia. Jean-Claude uncorks the bottle, smells the wine, tastes it and leaves. During the meal, Jean-Claude comes back several times to Rene’s table to taste the wine.
Eventually, Jean-Claude says to René: “I can’t guess the region where this wine was grown”. René does not give him any clues, but asks him: “Will you buy this wine for 1,500 pesetas?” Jean-Claude answers: “To start with, give me three boxes — it is not expensive”.
This episode marks the turning point for the Priorat, a poor and ruined wine region in Catalonia which ten years later had become one of the most prestigious wine regions of the world.
To learn more about the “miracle” of the Priorat, click here.
During our trip we pass alongside the vineyards that have made this change possible on our way into the Montsant Natural Park.
In the morning (8:45), meet Miguel at Sants railway station, in Barcelona.
Transfer to Falset by train. Arrive Falset two hours later. A taxi drives our luggage to our first accommodation.
Gentle walk of 15.6km and an elevation gain of 425m.
The first part of the walk is 8.6km long: we follow an ancient path which was used to travel between Gratallops and Falset. Gratallops is the capital of the DOCa Priorat. Native holm oak woods and hazelnut groves, reed-beds and poplars and DO Montsant and DOCa Priorat vineyards. (DO = Wine Appellation).
We will cross Serra de les Obagues range and enjoy beautiful views of the Priorato.
Private guided visit to a winery in Gratallops and wine tasting.
Lunch en route (packed lunch)
After Gratallops we walk 7 km to get to La Vilella Alta.
Quite hilly leg with some scrambling parts. 14km and an elevation gain of 1.100m
We will start this imposing hike at la Vilella Alta.
We scramble two graus: Grau de la Vilella Alta and Grau de l’Enderrocada. We probably will not see anybody for several hours, because this part of the park is quite wild and the paths are not easy to follow.
Olive groves, stone walls, old farming terraces, …
Lunch en route (packed lunch)
Check in at small village hotel in La Morera del Montsant. Definitely, this a hike not to be missed!!!
Again, a quite hilly leg. 16km and an elevation gain of 840m
We enter the Montsant Natural Park, on a route that allows us to climb to the highest part of this fantastic mountain range: breath-taking views over the entire Priorat region, all the way to the Mediterranean Sea.
Lunch en route (packed lunch).
Optional: Guided visit and wine tasting at the Celler Cooperatiu de Cornudella del Montsant, a long-standing multi-generational winery of notable modernist architecture built beween 1919 and 1922 to a design of Cèsar Martinell, an architect disciple of Gaudí.
By 18:30, a bus will take us to Falset railway station, where we take the train to Barcelona at 19:33. Arrive Barcelona two hours later.
Balcó del Priorat in La Morera del Montsant
Family-run charming hotel located in La Morera, a small village where quietness is guaranteed.
Double and twin rooms. Dinner and breakfast at the hotel. They also provide the packed lunch on the third day.
Casa rural L’Abadia in La Vilella Alta
Pretty house with 4 rooms and three bath rooms. There is also a kitchen and a dining room or saloon.
However, we have breakfast and dinner (tapas) out.
Available places on:
> March 17 2018
> March 30 2018
> April 21 2018 (Guaranteed tour)
> May 3 2018 (Guaranteed tour. Priorat and Montsant wines fair)
> November 10 2018
> November 24 2018
> December 8 2018
Bespoke trips: let me know the dates that best suit you!