In a previous post I already commented on the fact that Catalan villages with wolves in their names tend to produce excellent wine. This time we will speak about Gratallops.
Philologists tell us that Gratallops means the place where wolves sing, but the straightforward translation of the name from Catalan would be scratch wolves.
Gratallops was the original place where the five Priorat pioneers set up their wineries and still now are producing their wines, solidly installed among the best in Priorat.
In these surroundings the hotel Cal Llop (Wolf House) hosts the Tast amb Llops, Tasting with Wolves. No actual animals around, but rather nine of the twenty-odd wineries active in Gratallops (not bad for a village with 260 people), plus four from other Priorat villages, and a guest from the Rhône valley, Maison Tardieu-Laurent.
In the very pleasant plaza in front of the hotel, in a cool afternoon (in many ways), with music and some tasty tapas on offer, I was able to taste and chat, and discover or find again several treasures. These were the wines I enjoyed most:
- Celler Alvaro Palacios, the winery of one of the five pioneers, with their Alvaro Palacios Gratallops Vi de Vila (village wine, a concept resembling the parallel in Burgundy, and now being introduced in many of Priorat villages).
- Celler Clos Mogador, with Rene Barbier, another of the pioneers, explaining his Manyetes and Solertia.
- Celler Clos i Terrasses, maker of Clos Erasmus, with their second wine, Clos Laurel.
- Celler Vinya del Vuit, with their Vuit, in its 8th anniversary. This is relevant because Vuit means Eight, the number of people working in this project, which includes names like Sara Pérez, René Barbier Jr. and Ester Nin.
- Celler Trio Infernal, with their Trio Infernal 2/3.
Alas, time flies, and I could not taste all the wines on exhibition. Better luck (or planning) next year. But at least I could scratch the wolf’s fur, tasting some of the best wines from this outstanding village.