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Priorat, part 2 – Villainous Wine From Outer Space?

The perpendicular vineyard of Ferrer&Bobet

Having wanted to show my friend Staffan the wonderful and wild Priorat wine region ever since I was there last year (see previous posts) we didn’t waste any time when he came to visit in June!  With the GPS ready to go to places with impossible sounding names, we first stopped to have lunch in the central town of Falset (yep, felt like some kind of wine tribute to the Bee Gees!) Not sure where to go – having been a bit put off by last year’s visit to a snooty place whose English menu offered ‘slithered Foie Gras’ and ‘sauteed Pulpet’ for god’s sake – we picked a place with maybe a not too promising name ; Hostal Sport! Lacking any TV screens showing games with accompanying loud commentary, we were more than pleasantly surprised . In fact, it turned out to be one of the better meals I’ve ever had. A shrimp carpacchio starter was groaningly good!

After spending the night at the cozy B&B Mas Ardevol, just outside the village of Porrera, I asked Gemma, the wonderful proprietress, which local winery she recommended for a visit. Ah, she said, you have to visit Ferrer Bobet, for sure!

She kindly called to ask if we could come by, and having expected a tiny old family run bodega, we went right Back to the Future!  Ferret Bobet is perched on top of a mountain 400 m above sea level, with their surrounding vineyards reaching up to 700 m! I remember passing by last year and thinking to myself that the fantastical building looked like one of those places that would be a James Bond villain head quarters, preferably under the sea, and it turned out to not be too far off. This area used to be under water! And ‘the Villain’ is one of Spain’s foremost wine lovers/enthusiasts/connoisseurs (you don’t have to pick, he’s all of them) Sergi Ferrer-Salat, a pharmaceuticals businessman who also created one of Barcelona’s best wine restaurants, and Raúl Bobet, a well known adviser to the Torres winery, who started their own winery with a vineyard of approx seventy hectares, planted with century-old stock of cariñena and garnacha grape. Set on a slope, the building was a challenge but beautifully envisioned by architect Miquel Espinet. And though I conjured up many a James Bond movies, Staffan thought it looked like Star Trek had landed in wine country.

The wonderful Elena showed us around the ecologically progressive winery – the two sleepy vineyard dogs couldn’t be bothered, although the 37 degree heat could have something to do with it – and we tasted the superb reds that unfortunately were sold out , so nothing to bring back to the cellar. At this point in time Ferrer Bobet still source grapes from trusty neighborhood vineyards, but by next year they should be able to use their own meticulously monitored grapes, which should also include a Viognier (white Rhone varietal) apart from the cariñena and garnacha (grenache) wines.

I, for one, can’t wait!  Beam me up, Scotty!!



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