Scala Dei Priorat Prior 2018  Front Label
Scala Dei Priorat Prior 2018  Front LabelScala Dei Priorat Prior 2018  Front Bottle Shot

Scala Dei Priorat Prior 2018

  • JS92
  • RP91
750ML / 14% ABV
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  • JS92
  • RP91
  • RP92
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750ML / 14% ABV

Winemaker Notes

It is clean and bright. It is ruby red with a high layer of maroon and brown tones on the edge. Its aromas are intense and persistent, reminding us of red berries and black fruits, strawberries, blackberries, violet floral nuances, all paired with subtle spicy hints and toasted notes. It is a wine with a strong body, defined by its fineness, it is then silky in the mouth with ripe and elegant tannins that are complemented with the mineral aromas.

Blend: 75% Garnacha, 15% Cariñena, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Syrah

Critical Acclaim

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JS 92
James Suckling
Aromas of redcurrants, cherries, lemon zest, herbs, vanilla and sweet spices. Medium-to full-bodied with sleek tannins and bright acidity. Fresh, vibrant and racy. Drink now or hold.
RP 91
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2018 Prior is the one red that keeps a more commercial profile, and it's also the entry-level and more affordable red. It's a blend of 75% Garnacha, 15% Cariñena and 5% each Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah from different vineyards, mixing grapes form llicorella slate and clay and limestone soils. It has some creamy notes on the nose, a soft mouthfeel and almost unnoticeable tannins. But it has deep flavors, very good definition and a more serious, mineral-driven finish. It fermented in concrete and stainless steel vats, always with natural yeasts, and completed an élevage in a mixture of 500- and 600-liter oak barrels, foudres and concrete vats for 13 months.
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Scala Dei

Scala Dei

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Scala Dei, Spain
Scala Dei Winery Image

Scala Dei (Latin for "Ladder of God") is the oldest winery in the Priorat region, being established by Carthusian monks in 1163. Nowadays, it still conserves the same traditional spirit of its origin. 

The dramatic terroir of the region surrounding the winery is breathtakingly steep –Scala Dei owns 220 acres of vineyard distributed over 40 different sites – and covered in black slate. Moreover, the extremely low yields, in some cases only two pounds of fruit per vine, produce highly concentrated grapes.

Scala Dei has hence a very limited production of hand crafted wines, which capture the essence of the abrupt landscape, the intense climate and the old vines, resulting in a great variety of flavors that age well. In short, wines with a truly unique, regional flavor

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Tiny and entirely composed of craggy, jagged and deeply terraced vineyards, Priorat is a Catalan wine-producing region that was virtually abandoned until the early 1990s. This Spanish wine's renaissance came with the arrival of one man, René Barbier, who recognized the region’s forgotten potential. He banded with five friends to create five “Clos” in the village of Gratallops. Their aim was to revive some of Priorat’s ancient Carignan vines, as well as plant new—mainly French—varieties. These winemakers were technically skilled, well-trained and locally inspired; not surprisingly their results were a far cry from the few rustic and overly fermented wines already produced.

This movement escalated Priorat’s popularity for a few reasons. Its new wines were modern and made with well-recognized varieties, namely old Carignan and Grenache blended with Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. When the demand arrived, scarcity commanded higher prices and as the region discovered its new acclaim, investors came running from near and far. Within ten years, the area under vine practically doubled.

Priorat’s steep slopes of licorella (brown and black slate) and quartzite soils, protection from the cold winds of the Siera de Monstant and a lack of water, leading to incredibly low vine yields, all work together to make the region’s wines unique. While similar blends could and are produced elsewhere, the mineral essence and unprecedented concentration of a Priorat wine is unmistakable.

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With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended red wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged resulting in a wide variety of red wine styles. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a red wine blend variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.

How to Serve Red Wine

A common piece of advice is to serve red wine at “room temperature,” but this suggestion is imprecise. After all, room temperature in January is likely to be quite different than in August, even considering the possible effect of central heating and air conditioning systems. The proper temperature to aim for is 55° F to 60° F for lighter-bodied reds and 60° F to 65° F for fuller-bodied wines.

How Long Does Red Wine Last?

Once opened and re-corked, a bottle stored in a cool, dark environment (like your fridge) will stay fresh and nicely drinkable for a day or two. There are products available that can extend that period by a couple of days. As for unopened bottles, optimal storage means keeping them on their sides in a moderately humid environment at about 57° F. Red wines stored in this manner will stay good – and possibly improve – for anywhere from one year to multiple decades. Assessing how long to hold on to a bottle is a complicated science. If you are planning long-term storage of your reds, seek the advice of a wine professional.

GLO552844_2018 Item# 1083584

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