Cellers Scala Dei

Scala Dei is the oldest winery in Priorat.  Its origins lie in the lands surrounding the Scala Dei Monastery, where Carthusian monks made wine as far back as 1263.  Today, the same spirit of traditional craftsmanship - adapted to new techniques - is retained. The Scala Dei wines are a true expression of the terroir, made from vines located in a very special location. These vines stand out for being the oldest in the area and are located at altitudes between 400 and 800 metres, with unique soils and different orientations.

Priorat

Designation of Origin

70 hectares

Vineyard area

History

Scala Dei is the oldest winery in Priorat, its origins go back to 1194, the year in which the Carthusian monks established themselves in the village of Scala Dei in the province of Tarragona.

The winery has retained the same traditional spirit from its origins right to the present day. As such the Scala Dei wines capture the legacy of its rough terrain and Mediterranean climate, giving rise to wines from historic vineyards that are truly unique as well as being are authentic and honest.

 

Scala Dei is the living history of wine in Priorat. The families that founded it continue to cultivate the same vineyards that the Carthusian monks laboured for centuries. In 1878, wines were bottled for the first time under the name of Priorat de Scala Dei, asserting the origin and terroir that have been present since its origins. The same year saw these wines participate in the Universal Exhibition in Paris, where they gained a gold medal for their quality and personality.  

 

Ten years later, in the Barcelona Exhibition of 1888, they gained a new gold medal that rewarded their quality and unique character. It was already possible back then to get a glimpse of the excellence that would come to characterise the wines of this region.

The philosophy of Cellers Scala Dei is based on the belief that "wine is born in the vineyard and is the maximum expression of the land."

After overcoming the phylloxera crisis in 1893, the owners of Scala Dei and other vine growers in the area formed an association in 1928. This had the aim of protecting the quality wine of Priorat and eventually led to the creation of the Priorat Designation of Origin in 1954. In 1973, the winery was renamed Cellers Scala Dei, a name that it retains until this day.

Wine tourism

Visiting Cellers Scala Dei means visiting the birthplace of wines from the Priorat Qualified Designation of Origin. It is the oldest winery in the region, located in a building where the Carthusians’ legal and financial representative lived in the 17th Century.  

Visiting the winery will transport you to a time when everything happened more slowly, you will get to know how the first bottled wines from Priorat were made, in an artisanal way and with the maximum respect for the land and the countryside that provides us with the grapes. You will discover centuries-old fermentation lagars, medieval buildings like the barrel hall and you will taste some of the most internationally renowned wines hand-in-hand with our professional experts.

Monday to Sunday, including holidays.

The wines

Ricard Rofes

Winemaker at Scala Dei

Ricard Rofes started his enology studies in the Escola d'Enologia Jaume Ciurana de Falset. He then studied Agricultural Engineering at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili de Tarragona, completing his studies with a Masters in Viticulture, Enology and Wine Marketing, sponsored by UNESCO, in Vilafranca del Penedès. He juggled his studies with his first jobs, working alongside Álvaro Palacios and in the Celler de Capçanes winery.

 

He was Director of Enology and Viticulture in the Cooperativa Agrícola del Masroig for seven years; and between 2004 and 2009, he was technical and winemaking director at Portal del Montsant and Portal del Priorat. He joined Scala Dei in 2007, where thanks to his passion and profound understanding of Priorat, he has taken the wines from this winery to an even higher level.

The vineyards

Scala Dei is a fantastic location for growing Grenache, where this variety can achieve its maximum potential. The vineyards located in the lands of Scala Dei have been maintained for centuries as their grapes have always offered undeniable quality. The ones used for the Scala Dei wines come from vineyards that are an average of 50 years old.

 

Scala Dei covers an area of 70 hectares, planted mainly with Garnacha and Cariñena, divided into 41 different vineyards. Each one is a world unto itself, completely different from the others, and should be cultivated and cared for according to its own particular nature. The lands are located between 400 and 800 metres above sea level, meaning that Scala Dei has some of the highest altitude vineyards in Priorat.

 

There are three types of soil (slate, clay and limestone), which occur in all possible orientations due to the jagged nature of the terrain. Based on these different types of soil, a wide range of nuances is created during vinification, when the production process is cared for down to the smallest detail, as it is the winery that controls and works directly in the vineyards.

 

Of the 41 parcels, it is worth highlighting two vineyards, among the oldest in the Priorat Qualified Designation of Origin, and the winery's most iconic, which give rise to two estate wines of the highest quality: Masdeu and Sant Antoni.

Masdeu

12 hectares

Vineyard area

Masdeu is a terraced vineyard located on the slopes of Montsant, the highest of the Scala Dei vineyards. South-east facing, it was planted in 1945 and was one of the Grenache vineyards that the monks tended centuries ago.

Vineyard characteristics:

Chalk and red clay

Soils

700-800 metres

Altitude

Bush

Training

Red Grenache

Variedad

2,500-3,000 kg/ha

Yield

75 years

Average age of the vineyards

Sant Antoni

3 hectares

Vineyard area

Sant Antoni de Montalt is a vineyard located above Cartoixa de Scala Dei, on a small terraced plain that falls away in a dramatic cliff overlooking the Monastery. It is shaped like an amphitheatre, with one part facing the east, another the west and the central part facing the south. In is one of the vineyards that the monks planted five centuries ago; the plants that grow there now were planted in 1945.

Vineyard characteristics:

Red clay

Soils

600 metres

Altitude

Bush

Training

Peluda Grenache and Red Grenache

Grape varieties

2,500-3,000 kg/ha

Yield

75 years

Average age of the vineyards

Sustainable viticulture

Cellers Scala Dei champions sustainable viticulture and winemaking.


Scala Dei is privileged to be at the foot of the Montsant mountains, a protected nature reserve, a historic natural environment. Most of the vineyards are old and are planted in bush and as they are small, very stringent control of the plants can be carried out

No herbicides, chemical fertilizers or insecticides are used to control diseases. All the treatments used in the vineyards are natural and organic. The Garnacha variety is very well adapted to the environment, so the vines obtain all the nutrients and water that they need from the soil.

 

During the winemaking process, both the alcoholic and the malolactic fermentation occur spontaneously, using the yeasts and lactic bacteria found on the grapes themselves and in the winery atmosphere. Our commitment to recycling is also a key part of the winery's production process. As such, the lees produced during the fermentation and ageing process are taken to distilleries to be reused, and the skins from the grape press are used as fertiliser in the vineyards.

 

Scala Dei's commitment to reducing its carbon footprint has led it to change the bottle used for the wines that are produced in the greatest quantities to lighter bottles, thus reducing the CO emissions generated through their transport.

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