Introduction

Rambling across softly sloping vine-wrapped hills, 40km west of Tarragona, Catalonia's Priorat region famously produces some of Spain's most prestigious (and most expensive) wines under the Priorat Denominació d'Origen Qualificada (DOQ; www.doqpriorat.org). It's one of just two Spanish winemaking areas awarded this coveted categorisation (the other is Rioja), and specialises in robust reds, mostly from cariñena (carignan) and garnatxa (grenache) grapes. Priorat's wine country is almost completely encircled by the undulating vineyards of the Montsant Denominació d'Origen (www.domontsant.com) territory, also known for its full-bodied reds from the same grapes, as well as its unique kosher wines.

Falset, just north of the N420, is the region's main town, and its liveliest, best-equipped base. Alternatively, make for charming hilltop Gratallops (10km northwest of Falset), home to several of Priorat's most high-profile wineries.