For generations the village life of the Priorat centered around two places, the village church and the Cooperativa. The rhythm […]Keep Reading
For generations the village life of the Priorat centered around two places, the village church and the Cooperativa. The rhythm of life was guided by the calendar of feast days and the succession of seasons. Children were born, young couples married, feasts were celebrated with simple country fare, and each autumn the local farmers would bring their crops to the Cooperativa to be made into olive oil and wine. The memory of this time and a few, scarce, surviving bottles of wine from the era have survived, and the Cooperativa buildings are still present, mostly shuttered, and quietly moldering.
While working on establishing Terroir al Limit, Dominik Huber became entranced with the history of the Priorat – it’s rhythms of life, the simple cuisine and the honest wines that honored their origins. There was a vital culture of wine that predated the modern revolution of winemaking in the Priorat, one that was worth exploring and rediscovering. When walking past the crumbling Sindicat Agricola Centre del Priorat in Torroja, he would recall those few bottles of Priorat he had tasted from vintages in the 1970s, and he envisioned a future where such wines would be made again.
That’s how Dominik and his partners, Jaume Sabaté and Carlos Masia found themselves in possession of the old Cooperativa of Torroja in the heart of the Priorat– one with a roof threatening to collapse with the next storm and with plenty of other desperately needed renovations. For this new project fittingly name, Terroir Historic, they envisioned not only a negociant operation, but the rebirth of the local economy. With only about 100 residents in the village of Torroja and with a majority of them over 60 years old, Dominik, Jaume and Carlos wanted to encourage young people to remain in, or move back to the Priorat, to take over their parents’ and grandparents’ vines, to convert them to organic farming and to be able to earn a decent income from their efforts by selling Terroir Historic their grapes as well as working at their new “Cooperativa.” It is still largely a dream but one Dominik, Jaume and Carlos are avidly pursuing.
For Terroir Historic’s first vintage in 2015, Dominik sourced grapes from vineyards in Bellmunt, Gratallops, El Lloar, Escaladei, Porrera, Poboleda, Torroja, Vilella Alta and Vilella Baixa. Included in these are some of his younger vineyards he has been planting high up in the Montsant near the border of Escaladei and Morera and where the soils are unique for being clay and limestone rather than schist. Finding that white varieties are under-appreciated in the Priorat – especially at the table – half of Terroir Historic’s production is white wine. Unlike Terroir al Limit, which was founded on the Burgundian principal of site specific wines, Terroir Historic is meant to showcase the complexities of the Priorat in its entirety. There is one red and one white. The white is currently a blend of Garnatxa Blanca and Macabeu, the red, Garnatxa and Carinyena. Harvest is manual and the grapes are pressed whole cluster (whites) or fermented whole cluster (reds) without any manipulation so their flavors are infused rather than extracted. Nothing is added or removed and the wines ferment and age in 5000L concrete tanks. Bottled 6 months after the harvest they are meant to be drunk young. To quote Dominik:
The French have a very beautiful expression, they call it vin de soif. You drink Terroir Historic not with your mind but with you belly and emotions. With Terroir Historic you are hungry and thirsty and want to socialize because in the end this is the fundamental thing about wine, you share it with your friends and family.Close