Gratallops and Lloar
The first recorded evidence of grape growing and wine production in Priorat dates from the 12th century. The Carthusian Monastery of Scala Dei was founded 1194 and the monks introduced the art of viticulture in the area.
At the end of the 19th century, the phylloxera pest devastated the vineyards causing economic problems and emigration. Before phylloxera Priorat had around 5,000 hectares of vineyards. It took decades to replant vineyards.
The DO Priorat was formally created in 1954. However, the
Clos Alkio is located in the heart of Priorat, in the village of Gratallops. Gratallops has more than 25 officially certified cellars, including some of the most famous wineries in Spain.
The lands of the Clos Alkio winery are right next to Gratallops and the nearby village of Lloar. Most of the vines are old, able to benefit from the minerality of Priorat’s llicorella soil.
Motel in Lloar
The lands of Lloar are the first that our winery acquired. The name Motel comes from my favorite song, which I listened to while walking through Priorat’s villages and kilometers of paths. And finally I got here. I didn’t think about buying the land for many hours. So the land is very special to me. My first harvest took place here on September 12, 2020.
I have watched the growth of the recently planted Carignan vines in amazement. Despite the dry summer of 2022, the wines already produced a lot of grapes. Here, as in all other Clos Alkio lands, we use only organic products and do our best to take care of natural diversity. We do our best to produce the highest quality grapes possible.
We have also started the renovation of the Motel. I dream that in the summer of 2023, together with our friends and customers, we can hold wine tastings on the Motel’s terrace.
Motel in Lloar
Fulles Daurades is Catalan and means Golden Leaves. I acquired this land from the same family in Lloar as the Motel. The vines are very exceptional, planted in the winter of 1939, almost at the same time as the last battles of the Spanish Civil War were being fought just a ten kilometers away. At the time, my own grandparents did not yet know that at the end of the year war broke out between Finland and the Soviet Union, the Winter War. Here the wines have been growing for more than 80 years, fully alive enjoying the minerals of the licorella land.
At the end of 2020, I sat here totally exhausted. Winter was about to arrive, to which the vines also react by changing their leaves color to reddish gold. That feeling gave rise to the name of this land and the wine made from old Carignan grapes. Fulles Daurades.
Costers in PO
Priorat DOQ covers a small area, but are several different micro-climates. Generally, the climate is more extreme than most continental areas, though there is a marked contrast between the valleys and the higher areas. There are both freezing winds from the north (mitigated somewhat by the Montsant mountain) and also the warm Mistral wind from the east.
Land we call PO, located between Gratallops and Lloar, is a good example of how the microclimates impact the vineyard. In total, the area of PO is almost 10 hectares, but only about 4,5 hectares have been planted. In the very upper parts of the PO grow old Carignan vines, which we use in Clos Alkio, our future flagship coupage.
In terms of soil type, the upper parts are all Llicorella and on the top of the hill the vines enjoy not only the sun but also the winds from south.
Walking through PO lands, I often close my eyes and think about what it will be like here in the 2030s. PO will be one of Clos Alkio’s most important vineyards. The location in the immediate vicinity of Gratallops, the multi-generational terrain and the special soil enable the production of different grapes in their optimal locations. The Pedro Ximenez grapes for Aino wine and the Shiraz we use in Clos Alkio already come from the PO valley. In the winter of 2023, we are preparing to restore the vines and replant. Hopefully, in 2024, we will get planting rights and really develop this area, taking care of its shape and biodiversity.
I have been told that the history of the Mas Espill is related to the five hippies who settled in Gratallops in the 1980s, namely René Barbier, Carles Pastrana, Alvaro Palacios, Daphne Glorian and Josep Lluis Pérez. I have sat for hundreds of hours at the kitchen table, read their stories and thoughts, watched videos and of course tasted their different wines. I have great respect for these pioneers. Without them I wouldn’t be here and the world would probably know Priorat as a very different wine region.
The feeling is special on the terraces of Mas Espill, which were originally planted by some pioneers. The land is home to one of the first Priorat Cabernet Savignon vines.