Stitch and Bear

A long-running Irish blog with reviews of the best restaurants in Dublin and throughout Ireland. Some wine and cocktails thrown in for good measure!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

[Wine] Torres Priorat

DISCLOSURE: My visit to the Torres winery at El Lloar in the Priorat was provided free of charge by Pico Communication and Torres. Many thanks to all those who helped arrange the visit. 

The Priorat is a sun-baked, mountainous region inland from Tarragona and south of Barcelona. Climbing up through the mountains via the modern but very windy roads brings about a sense of awe. Abandoned terraces are visible, cut into the hillsides, once verdant with vines but now abandoned for decades. The combination of emmigration and the fascist rule of Franco took their toll on the Priorat, resulting in an 80% reduction in the area under viticulture. 

The DO Priorat winemaking region was created in 1954, but it wasn't until the late 1980s and early 1990s that things started to change. In 1985, the bottling of bulk wine was phased out and the production of quality wine was phased in. Then came the revolution. In 1989, winemaker Rene Barbier and a gang of likeminded winemakers bought land in the Priorat and introduced fine winemaking techniques along with French grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot. The world started to take notice, the modern reputation of Priorat wines was born and it has continued to grow ever since.
Stitch & Bear - Torres Priorat - Vineyards at El Lloar
The vineyards at Torres near El Lloar


Saturday, August 12, 2017

[Wine] Torres Purgatori

We spent a recent weekend in the stunning Priorat wine region, which is located a bit under a 2 hour from Barcelona. It's one of just two DOQ wine regions in Spain, the other being Rioja and it's a majestic place, renowned for powerful red wines which possess incredible minerality. When you see the steep, sun-baked terraces, perched on the sides of the hills and mountains, it just all makes sense. 

If you travel even further inland far away from the sea, through the Priorat and near the city of Lleida, you will enter the territory of DO Costers del Segre. It's a harsh, semi-arid region with dry, hot summers and colder winters. According to Spanish winemakers Torres, the monks of the famous Montserrat abbey would carry out their penance at the Desterrats estate in Costers del Segre, working the land to produce food for the diocese. In the manner typical of monks all over the world, they also managed to produce some excellent wines in the region, which now inspire the name of Purgatori, the first Torres wine from this region. 
Image taken from Torres website


Monday, August 7, 2017

[Opinion] A tale of two cocktails

The incredible growth and creativity that the Irish cocktail scene has exhibited in the past few years is a wonderful cause for celebration. The parallel explosion in the Irish spirits industry, including whiskey, gin and vodka, has given Irish bartenders expanded access to top quality ingredients for their creations. 

Many bars and hotels now have a cocktail programme of one form or another, which can range from the pedestrian but decent, to the original and highly creative. From a business sense, cocktails and premium drinks can offer an attractive profit margin which makes it worth while to invest in staff training and inventory. But in order for a cocktail programme to be successful and gain a solid reputation, bartenders need to exhibit consistency and adherence to quality standards. 

Let me illustrate with an example...
Stitch & Bear - A tale of two cocktails
The original on the left, the second on the right

© Stitch and Bear | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Developed by pipdig