Tag: priorat

Toni Coca: Interview With The Winemaker Of Clos Galena


“We started making ECO wines from the beginning (1991)…; for us, it is more a matter of philosophy than of being commercial.”

When it comes to sustainable viticulture and organic production in the DO Priorat, the Clos Galena winery has positioned itself as a pioneer since its inception. What started as a matter of philosophy for the team behind the Catalan brand has now evolved into a clear trend. And in 2017 one of its wines was represented at the Nobel Prize gala. Here at Uvinum, we got the opportunity to sit down for an interview with Toni Coca, the winemaker at Clos Galena, to learn more about the winery and its successes.

In the past few years there has been a growing trend when it comes to eco-friendly or organic wines. What, according to your opinion, is the reason for this development?

Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of health issues, meaning, we are giving more and more attention to what we eat and drink and the ECO-certified products have greater guarantees.

What is the role of Clos Galena in the organic wine movement in Priorat?

We started making ECO wines from the beginning (1991) in Domini de la Cartoixa; for us, it is more a matter of philosophy than of being commercial. Today there are many producers in Priorat who are making ECO wines, it is a clear trend. We were only a few in the beginning but every year we are growing in numbers.

This year the star of our winery is without a doubt the Formiga de Vellut 2014, the wine that was chosen to be served at the Nobel Prize gala in Stockholm.

How does the Formiga wine connect with this event with regards to the values and ethics represented by the Nobel Prizes?

The Formiga de Vellut wine was chosen for this event through blind tasting, which means that those who have tasted it were looking for an honest wine with multiple nuances, freshness and above all a wine with a Mediterranean character.

What impact have you noticed after being represented at the Nobel Prize dinner?

On the media level, it has had a lot of impact; it has given a lot of visibility to both the wine and the winery.

The director of Clos Galena, Merche Dalmau, has already expressed his pride, saying that “it is a great honor that the Formigas del Vellut 2014 wine was served to harmonize the Nobel dinner”. Being the winemaker and creator, what are your thoughts on the fact that Formigas was invited to the “most intellectual table in the world”?

Without a doubt the importance is remarkable. Primarily because it was chosen and because of this the most cultured minds of today have now tasted it. For me, it is very gratifying to have played my part in this project and to recognise the remarkable work done by many skilled people also working on this project.

Of all the wines of Clos Galena, which one is your favourite?

Actually, although it sounds a little cliché, all the wines we make have their own personality, which connects with your preferences in different ways depending on the moment, but if I have to choose one I would choose the Clos Galena for its complexity, character, and kindness.

Do you have any special recommendations for others to enjoy a wine that you are passionate about?

It is time, especially to connect with wine, to reach a little further than the obvious, emotion and seduction. I think it often depends more on oneself than on the wine.

 TAGS:Formiga de Vellut 2015Formiga de Vellut 2015

Formiga de Vellut 2015



 TAGS:Clos Galena 2013Clos Galena 2013

Clos Galena 2013

Which are better, the Priorat’s wines or the Montsant’s wines?

 TAGS:undefinedIf we talk of Catalan wines, there is no doubt that renowned names as Priorat and Montsant come to mind, both of which have been booming over the recent years. The location for production of these two can easily be confused, as geographically the areas of growth overlap each other. One winery can produce Priorat, and the neighboring one might grow Montsant.

As for the Priorat, it is the only Catalan wine recognized with the highest quality. Even though Montsant does not yet have this distinction, this does not mean in the slightest that it is of secondary quality. On the contrary, both regions produce high-quality wines.

While it is true that Priorat wines tend to be better valued economically, this is more due to the particular organization of the wineries in the different regions, and due to the fact that Priorat has focused on author wines. Moreover, there is a tradition of cooperatives which makes the production system very different from the Montsant system.

There are also differences in agricultural land and weather: in Priorat, slate soil predominates, and this gives the wines a particular organoleptic quality. Also, rainfall is scarce. In the Montsant there is a combination of clay and limestone soils. In addition, rainfall is more generous, resulting in increased quantity in the production of grapevines.

Consequently, while the wines of Priorat consists of aromas and very particular flavors, reminiscent of the predominant minerals in the ground and with a high ranking, the Montsant are fresher and fruity.

So we are faced with two very close wine regions, but with very different characteristics. A question such as “What is better?” Would likely remain unanswered because it always depends on the subjective taste of each one of us.



 TAGS:Scala Dei Negre Jove 2015Scala Dei Negre Jove 2015

Scala Dei Negre Jove 2015



 TAGS:Flor del MontsantFlor del Montsant

Flor del Montsant

Priorat: know its wines and cellars


The viticulture of the DOC Priorat, in Catalonia, has a long tradition. No wonder, then, that there is a lot of cellars and wine routes to explore.

The wines from this region are produced in an area of ??20,000 ha, of which only 1,600 have been planted with vines, according to the DOC of this region itself. Being the terrain somewhat difficult, it makes the production of wine to be expensive, but abundant in quantity and quality, since they are recognized not only in Spain but throughout the world.

While it should be noted that this region is also home to the DO Montsant, which is younger and has 2,006 hectares of vineyards within a total area of ??35,676 ha.

In the Priorat designation route we highlight some cellars such as Celler Sabaté, with wines such as Mas Plantadeta (red oak), Mas Plantadeta Roure (white oak) and Mas d’en Bernat (young red). This family cellar produces wines since 1910, now ageing in French and Hungarian oak.

While in Saó del Coster you can find the varieties S (young red), Pim pam poom (young red) and Terram (red crianza). A wine cellar, which unlike the previous one, was founded in 2004 by a group of friends in order to bring modernity and dynamism to this sector in the region.

The Balagué y Cabré cellar offers red crianza wines such as La Guinardera and Ruella. It offers tradition and innovation, with a new renovated cellar that has a tasting room overlooking the vineyards and the environment.

The Celler Castellet, in Porrera, is a feast for the senses. It offers Empit Selecció, Empit and Ferral, all crianza reds. It is also a young cellar, being a family company founded in 2005.

 TAGS:Finca Dofí 2011Finca Dofí 2011

Finca Dofí 2011: DO Priorat based on garnacha negra and syrah of 2011 and 14.00º of alcohol. 



 TAGS:Clos Martinet 2011Clos Martinet 2011

Clos Martinet 2011: a red wine with this DO: Priorat vinified with garnacha negra and syrah from 2011 and with an alcoholic strength of 14.5º. 



 TAGS:Camins del Priorat 2014Camins del Priorat 2014

Camins del Priorat 2014:  a red wine from the Priorat DO based on the top of garnacha negra and syrah from 2014 vintage and with an alcohol content of 14.5º. 



Rabbit with Chocolate

 TAGS:Rabbit with Chocolate is one of those delicious recipes that can be prepared with wine, in this case red. It is a perfect recipe for overweight people because it is made from wholesome ingredients.

Originally from Ribargoza, it is like other recipes of Catalan cuisine. Rabbit with Chocolate is a delicious meal for four, perfect for families and a happy weekend. This dish goes well with a red wine from Priorat, for example:


  • 1 rabbit
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 40 grams of grated dark chocolate
  • 1 glass of red wine with good acidity, as Luis Cañas Reserva 2010.
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of corn flour refined
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Parsley


Step 1:
Clean the potatoes and place in a baking tray, then add a little olive oil and put in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 40 minutes.

Step 2:
Take the potatoes from the oven and let cool. Peel the skin off and then put them in the blender. Finally, add a pinch of salt and reserve your puree.

Step 3:
Cut the rabbit and season to taste, brown over medium heat in a pan with a little olive oil 4 cloves garlic, peeled.

Step 4:
When the chopped rabbit begins to take a gold color, pour a glass of red wine. Cover completely with water and cover and simmer for 35 minutes.

Step 5:
Remove the rabbit from heat and separate the broth rabbit, both must be booked separately.

Step 6:
Then you need to chop the onion, carrot and 2 cloves of garlic to sauté in a pan with a little olive oil.

Step 7:
Add to pan the thyme, rosemary and bay leaf and pour broth rabbit previously booked and cook for 10 minutes uncovered, until you have a strong flavor.

Step 8:
Stop sauce. Remove herbs (pass through a sieve). Mix with a little flour diluted in water to give more character.

Step 9:
Add rabbit and chocolate in a pan with the sauce, stirring constantly to dissolve the chocolate while avoiding the burn. Simmer for 5 minutes.

To serve your rabbit, pour chocolate on each plate and serve with mashed potatoes garnished with a little parsley.

To accompany this dish, we recommend a mineral wine, to refresh your palate between bites, or a powerful and fleshy wine that is unfazed by the power of chocolate. Here are our recommendations:

 TAGS:Rotllan Torra Reserva 2008Rotllan Torra Reserva 2008

Rotllan Torra Reserva 2008



 TAGS:Gotes del Priorat 2012Gotes del Priorat 2012

Gotes del Priorat 2012

How prestigious wine regions achieved success?

 TAGS:A few days ago I was reading a great article in the journal La revue de vin de France. Recommended to anyone who wants to understand how they formed the great world wine regions such as Bordeaux, Burgundy, Tuscany, etc … Wines that today are recognized worldwide and whose market prices sometimes reach thousands of euros.

Interestingly, the prestige and recognition of these large regions have been achieved for historical, economic, social … and political reasons. Yes, the political influences in creating great wine regions. It is a clear demonstration that even if the terroir is still a key element, it may not be the biggest influencer when it comes to create a prestigious wine region. And this is a clear demonstration of the opportunity for small regions, which can too take that step forward and achieve in the future a great acknowledgment (as Priorat reached in a few years).

The long report shows how the feudal, church (yes, yes, it also influenced), and social powers slowly created the recognition of these regions, becoming a relevant sector and actor in trade and upper class consuming. It was precisely these large sections of society which ?promoted? these regions, a promotion that has been done to the detriment of many others small ones which disappeared over the years. And not because they were not able to create great wines, but because they did not receive the key support the deserved.

There is so many people who influenced the history of wine, from the Romans in France who developed the wine culture in the Rhone Valley or along the Seine, or the Greeks in Italy, or the Corton Charlemagne (yielding their vines to the Church), or the emperors of the Austrian -Hungarian kingdom, etc … A curious history, and yet much more contemporary is the story of the Petrus. Petrus has been considered as the best wine of the twentieth century. 


And its success (the only grand cru Bordeaux not named Châteaux or Domaine, by the way), is due to a great marketing coup. Before World War II, it was a small and relatively unknown producer of the appellation of Pomerol (unknown it too) but it appears that Marie -Louise Loubat started buying vineyards in the area. And she purchased the Petrus to the Arnaud family, because she considered it as a wine of great future but still unknown to almost everyone. While trying to promote it, she can?t manage to exceeds the prestige of her neighbors? wines of Saint – Émilion. Until she decided to send a box of his wine Petrus to the young Princess Elizabeth of England (and later Queen), symbolizing modernity at that time. Luckily, the princess chose the Petrus for her wedding on November the 20th, 1947 and since that time, the Petrus is considered as the great politicians wine, like the Kennedy family who considered it as its favorite wine, or the movie stars Marilyn Monroe who worshiped it. This is how the Petrus legend was made.

Interesting, uhm?

This shows that in addition to the terroir, in wine there are other elements that influence, and a lot, in recognition. Because wine are stories, traditions, chances … That?s the beauty of the wine world, don?t you think?

Today we suggest you 2 special wines

 TAGS:Sol de MálagaSol de Málaga

Sol de Málaga, a great sweet wine from Malaga



 TAGS:Luis Cañas Crianza 2009Luis Cañas Crianza 2009

Luis Cañas Crianza 2009, 92 Parker points at a great price

2012: three best DOs from Spain

 TAGS:I know that I’m going to surprise you with my choices of designations of origin for 2012. The news is that I have knocked out two of my favorites: DO Ribera del Duero and DO Toro, to include others, it is quite a step. The reason is that I do not want to be so repetitive and that tasting new wines is always fun.

The first on this podium is the DOCA Rioja, which gives us so much satisfaction when we are outside Spain, as it is the easiest to find and everyone knows or have heard about it. Already within our borders, we find that Rioja is a great region (of which I am a fan) for the beauty of its landscapes, its rich cuisine (also regarding sweets, do not think that stewed potatoes with chorizo Rioja-style are all what they have to offer) and the fantastic wineries, particularly proliferating in the Haro area.

I recommend a one day escape visit to the Viña Tondonia facilities (where I went to this summer and left absolutely delighted), to have the chance to experience a truly old winery and tasting that Viña Tondonia Blanco Crianza that has me completely under its spelt.

I will also have to suggest that once out of the cellar when the visit and the wine taste is over you can wander through the streets of the town and you can as well take the car and go visit to Santo Domingo de la Calzada (15 minute drive) to enjoy the full flavour of the Rioja in a legend and pilgrim tradition place.

Ribera del Guadiana and VT Extremadura would be in second position on the podium because between Salitre 2009 and Habla num. 10 I am beside myself with joy. This region, from which soil is so difficult to extract a good pair of grapes to make wine, has been giving it all lately and these two wines are the best prove of it. And if despite all the lines that I have dedicated to the Bodega Habla there is still someone who has not yet tasted some of its wines, they can ask for it upon request in their letter to Santa.

Finally, the bronze was going to go to the DOQ, Priorat which deserves it for their latest releases and for so many years in the spotlight (and in a particularly privileged place my cellar), but I have instead decided to nominate for it to VT Mallorca because of the surprising combinations I always find in its wines and for the unexpectedness of the image in most of its bottles, which bring a breath of fresh air to the table, especially if you choose one of its wines to accompany some of those delicious vegetables cakes they specialize in.