About Simbolic 16 Priorat
DO Priorat, Spain
Simbolic 16 Priorat Crianza 2012 D.O. Priorat is a limited production wine with only 150 cases imported. It is produced from estate grown grapes grown in our high altitude vineyards with soils that have a significant slate content. Produced from Garnatxa (Garnacha or Grenach), Samsó (Carignan) and Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is aged for 16 months in mostly used French and American oak barrels.
Priorat: The Region
The Priorat is a peculiar region; it is located 30 km from the coast and yet has a mountainous climate. We grow our vines at an altitude of 450 to 600m above sea level, in various directions, although we like the South side as there, they receive more hours of light and wind, an important requirement for a correct ripening and aeration of the grapes.
The land in the Priorat is entirely formed of the so-called "licorella", a Stone from the family of slates, very old and of a brittle nature, which gives to the grapes notes of minerality. The land is rough, so the vines have had to develop great strengths. The low rainfall makes our vines thirsty and the little water there is quickly slides towards the water tables of the Priorat causing great strains on the vines, especially on the oldest ones. In order to access that water and thrive, the vines have developed extraordinary deep and long roots. An eighty-year-old vine can have roots of over thirty meters deep into the ground, looking for even the smallest trace of subterranean moisture, surviving strains of summer heat (temperatures between 38-45°C) and cold winters (-2, -10ºC), although it snows on some rare occasions, when it does, it is in small quantities.
The winery is built in the 17th century by the Carthusian monks of Scala-Dei, in order to centralize the production and elaboration of their wines in Torroja. Over the centuries and after the confiscation of Madoz, the cellar passed to private hands in 1868. The winery fell into disuse after the civil war, until was rescued from oblivion and renovated it, following its original structure, and restored it to its original activity: winemaking.
The winery is semi-subterranean on three sides with only the north side facing out. Within its three story structure. the winery occupies the deepest part of the building in the cellar. The vault of the cellar is formed by a set of arches called "de palmera" flattened, since the structure is broader than tall, which imprints an aspect of solidity and withstands time. Humidity and silence are constant in the cellar creating a micro-climate of its own, ideal for winemaking.
We combine traditional craftsmanship and up-to-date wine techniques in all its processes (harvest, vinification, elaboration, aging, production and quality control). Although we have the necessary structure to increase our production, we prefer to improve the quality of our wines, and that’s why our production is limited. Nowadays, 24 hectares of vineyard of over 70-year-old vineyards and young vineyards in terraces with different varieties of grape in Torroja’s area. This allows us to perform an exhaustive control of the vineyard during the whole year and the different grape growth stages.
Simbolic 16 wines are elaborated with grapes from our own plantations, in Torroja del Priorat. It is a cellar which combines tradition and the most actual techniques of elaboration. We care of our vines as from their very birth with the strict control and the love necessary to obtain wines which are worthy of their denomination of origin. They will be then aged in oak barrels during 16 months and they finally will be bottled for extra 12 months.
The vineyards are cultivated in the valley of Siurana river, and they are pruned per medium pruning. These varieties were harvested by end September, beginning October, the period for harvest in Priorat. We carefully ferment and macerate this excellent variety at a controlled temperature which is around 25ºC. The malolactic process is made spontaneously in stainless steel tanks and therefore the produce is poured into French and American oak barrels where it will be aged for 16 months.
From our beginnings we have worked our land in a traditional way: trimming, winter pruning, green pruning, clearing, etc., are done with the aim of enhancing the grapes’ character and helping the vineyard to develop optimally. As for the method of work, we use two. For the old vines of more than sixty years, we use a vine training system, in which 4 arms are allowed to grow out of the common trunk, upwards. The vines are planted on the side of the mountain integrating in the environment, forming a whole with the mountain and sustaining each other.
Everything changes and in the newer vineyards, the land "breaks", creating structures of terraces to accommodate the rows of vines. In our case and given the topography of the terrain, we can only put 2 rows on each terrace with just enough space for a small tractor to pass. Here, the work is mechanized a bit to work or to fertilize the land and it is the tractor that helps ostensibly to take good care of it. In this case, the vines acquire a different shape, taking a “T” form and leaving only 2 arms on each side of the central trunk. This is done to limit the amount of grape clusters, allowing the grapes to get more nutrients from the soil and improve their quality.
Whilst the depth of tannin flavors and concentration is much greater in the grapes of old vines, in the young vines they give a higher concentration of aromas.