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Nov 3, 2020

There are five founding estates of the Priorat region of Spain. Mas Martinet was the first and in this show, brilliant, philosophical owner Sara Peréz discusses its history, philosophy, and how she sees the land and wines of this magical, mystical region.

This woman is a role model for us all -- she has found true happiness in her part of the world, her work, and her life!

Here are the show notes:

  • Mas Martinet, originally owned and run by Josep Lluis Peréz, Sara's father, was one of 'los Closos', the group of five people and families that settled in Priorat and worked together from 1981 to change and revive the Priorat wine region and make it the legendary wine it has become (they are: Clos Mogador, Palacios, Clos Erasmus, Clos de l'Obac, Mas Martinet). Sara runs the winery and has brought Mas Martinet down new and exciting paths that have only made the wines more interesting, modern, and terroir driven. 

  • Sara tells us about her dad and mom,  who moved from teaching into setting up an enology school and then starting Mas Martinet after much study of the terroir by the pupils (as Sara calls them!) to help examine the best soils, slopes, and sun exposures for each grape type.

  • We learn about things used to be in Priorat -- abandoned vineyards, Carignan growing on the flats, Garnacha on the slopes, and lots of empty land with few people staying to farm it. We discuss schist and the famed black slate licorella soil (pic here from Mas Martinet):

  • Sara and I address tradition versus market appeal and why some French grapes were introduced into Priorat. We discuss the high alcohol levels (she discusses a 2001 trip to visit Didier Dageneau in the Loire and her shock at how high he was allowing his alcohol levels to become. This made her want to make a different kind of wine). 


  • Sara's commitment to organic viticulture and holistic farming rather than using anything that will harm the land is powerful. She uses herbs as cover crop to stop erosion on steep slopes, she doesn't spray -- even in the worst of years (she lost 86% of her crop this year), and she believes that small changes collectively can stop climate change. 


  • We discuss the top grapes of Priorat -- Carignan and Garnacha. Sara tells us how she creates Mas Martinet's three  flagship wines to pay homage to all styles of Priorat:


    • Clos Martinet is the original wine made my Mas
      Martinet. It includes Garnacha, Carignan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah and is aged in lightly toasted oak, as it always has been since her father created the wine. 

    • Els Escurçons pays homage to the sharp hillsides
      covered in licorella slate that were once abandoned when people left for cities. This wine is their most expensive, aromatic, and is 100% Grenache, and is elegant and light, as only Sara can make it in Priorat.

    • Cami Pesseroles is Sara's homage to the wines madeby the farmers who stayed in Priorat after the wealthy gentry moved to cities. They grew Carignan lower down on the slopes. This wine has a significant proportion of old vine Carignan, which is heavy and powerful but still has the light touch that Sara is known for. 

    • We mention the Mas Martinet Bru and Menut -- both which are affordable invitations into the wines of Mas Martinet


  • Sara tells us about her winemaking philosophies -- how oak can mask the essence of a wine, her willingness to experiment with amphora, glass, cement, and to make orange wine. 



Sara Peréz's overarching message is that Priorat is a place of mysticism, with elements in the land and the soil that you can't find anywhere else. It is a place that needs to be experienced and that can bring you great peace and calm, as can the wines when they are made in concert with the land. 

I can't wait to go visit! 


Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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