This is a project born out of friendship and a longing to return to ones roots. The idea took hold after a long afternoon lunch at Piperade on a summer’s day back in 2003, when the opportunity to buy a vineyard in Montsant near Barcelona, had just surfaced. Master Sommelier and proprietor of Miura Vineyards, Emmanuel Kemiji and Chefs Gerald Hirigoyen, Sylvain Portay and Laurent Manrique were mesmerized by the romance of possibly owning a vineyard and producing a wine with their own signature. In 2005 the venture grew to include more friends, significant among them Roger Lethander and Bob Hackman, and several more vineyards in neighboring Priorat. In 2010 a winery was finally completed and over time the production will reach a scant 2500 cases but the object here has never been commercial and is instead driven by quality and pride.
Located about 85 miles southwest of Barcelona, Priorat (meaning priory in Catalan) can trace its roots back to the 12th century when a group of Carthusian Monks that had been persecuted out of France stumbled upon a sheppard who the night before had a vision whereby he saw angels coming down from the clouds on a huge ladder. He pointed to an enormous pine tree where he had seen the ladder propped up against in his dream and it was there, at the base of a huge mountain that the monks decided to build an incredible monastery and called it Scala Dei (stairway to God). It was these same monks that planted the first vineyards in the area.
Priorat is a foreboding place. It’s like walking back in time as one can easily envision that very little has changed here over time. Its amazing that anything can grow here as the soil is mostly made up of a soft, crumbly slate and one sees almost no dirt on the ground of a very mountainous terrain. The vines struggle constantly in this brutal and harsh environment, but that is exactly what makes the wines so special.