Priorat wines are among Spain’s most distinctive: Rugged, robust and powerful. Hailing from steep, sunburnt terrain, the wines are definitely of their place. The reds are blends, with prominent grape varieties being Carignan and Grenache. A whole host of other grapes are permitted, including Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Pinot Noir. The resulting wines are deep, rich and full of body and flavour. It is not unusual for red Priorat wines to reach – or exceed – 15% alcohol by volume. These elements mean that Priorat reds presents a challenge when pairing the wines with food: They may simply overpower lots of dishes, or the alcohol may have a negative effect on the flavours of the food. Don’t worry, though, because we’re here to help!
Understanding the basics of wine pairing in a few minuts:
5 tips for pairing food with Priorat wines
1. Spice up your life
Priorat wines often have a strong undercurrent of spicy or black pepper notes. You can match this component in your food, by selecting a dish that has a generous amount of spice and pepper. Steak with pepper sauce, or a beef stir fry with a cracked black pepper sauce would both make wonderful accompaniments. Many Priorat wines show this sort of spice or pepper character, and it is especially present in those that have some Syrah in the blend.
Try one of these dishes with Reflexe 2014 from Costers del Priorat to see for yourself.
2. Play the game
The best Priorat wines are big, bold and tough. Match this body and structure with a similarly strong game bird or game meat. A powerful and full-bodied Priorat such as Ferrer Bobet 2014, bolstered by a year in French oak, will be sublime with wild game like goose, duck, hare, rabbit or venison.
A toast for the roast
Traditional Sunday roast dishes such as beef and pork with gravy and roast potatoes have the depth of flavour to stand up to the strongest Priorat red wines, even those with high alcohol content. Priorat from old vines, such as Ferrer Bobet Vinyes Velles 2012, is probably the region’s most concentrated and fullest-bodied wine and would be a welcome addition to any Sunday dinner table.
The high alcohol content in Priorat wines can make for some unpleasant food pairings. One way to get around this is by pairing the wine with a food that has a little sweetness in it. Sweet and sticky barbecue sauces, for example, will enhance the wine by playing down the alcohol and emphasising the wine’s acidity. Clos Cypres, with its 14.5% alcohol, is a great match here.
What grows together goes together
Priorat wines are highly distinctive and very much reflect their place of origin. Pair the wines with foods that come from in and around the same area to really get a sense of place. Cheeses like Garrotxa, Nevat or an aged Manchego make the perfect accompaniment with a mature Priorat wine such as Closa Batllet 2005.
Do you have any tips of your own for pairing Priorat wines with food? We are always looking for new ideas, so let us know!