Founded in 2003, Cellers Can Blau is located in the town of El Molar, in the northeastern region of Catalunya. The appellation of Montsant is a small region that surrounds the appellation of Priorat, and the two regions share many similarities in terms of climate, soils, and wine style.
Cellers Can Blau has 99 acres of estate vineyards, most of which average 40 years old, planted mainly with Mazuelo (Carignan), Grenache, and Syrah. Each is planted in soils which give personality to each grape: Mazuelo is planted in sandy and clay soils; Garnacha is planted in slate soils (known as llicorella), and Syrah is in limestone soils.
The climate is Mediterranean with some Continental influences, characterized by dry summers and about 25 inches of rainfall per year, mostly in the fall. The vineyards are planted on the sloping hillside of the Sierra de Montsant at an altitude of approximately 2,000 feet. The region is known for red blends, typically based on Mazuelo (Carignan) and Garnacha, lending to complex and intense wines with a strong mineral character marked by the slate soils (Llicorella) that make this area so unique.
All of our vineyards are dry-farmed, without the use of pesticides or herbicides, and the winery is fully off the electrical grid using solar power. Vines are hand-harvested and then the wine is fermented in stainless steel before being transferred to French oak barrels for aging.
Tiny and entirely composed of craggy, jagged and deeply terraced vineyards, Priorat is a Catalan wine-producing region that was virtually abandoned until the early 1990s. This Spanish wine's renaissance came with the arrival of one man, René Barbier, who recognized the region’s forgotten potential. He banded with five friends to create five “Clos” in the village of Gratallops. Their aim was to revive some of Priorat’s ancient Carignan vines, as well as plant new—mainly French—varieties. These winemakers were technically skilled, well-trained and locally inspired; not surprisingly their results were a far cry from the few rustic and overly fermented wines already produced.
This movement escalated Priorat’s popularity for a few reasons. Its new wines were modern and made with well-recognized varieties, namely old Carignan and Grenache blended with Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. When the demand arrived, scarcity commanded higher prices and as the region discovered its new acclaim, investors came running from near and far. Within ten years, the area under vine practically doubled.
Priorat’s steep slopes of licorella (brown and black slate) and quartzite soils, protection from the cold winds of the Siera de Monstant and a lack of water, leading to incredibly low vine yields, all work together to make the region’s wines unique. While similar blends could and are produced elsewhere, the mineral essence and unprecedented concentration of a Priorat wine is unmistakable.
With bold fruit flavors and accents of sweet spice, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre form the base of the classic Rhône Red Blend, while Carignan, Cinsault and Counoise often come in to play. Though they originated from France’s southern Rhône Valley, with some creative interpretation, Rhône blends have also become popular in other countries. Somm Secret—Putting their own local spin on the Rhône Red Blend, those from Priorat often include Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah make an appearance.