Scala Dei Garnatxa, Grenache, Priorat, Spain

Paired with Rosemary Steak with Mashed Potatoes & Cabbage, Sautéed Mushrooms with Garlic

Priorat is a Denominació d’Origen Qualificada (DOQ) for Catalan wines produced in the Priorat county. It is located in the province of Tarragona, in the southwest of Catalonia (so just outside Barcelona). The mountain range Serra del Montsant runs through Priorat, which means the vineyards are at a high elevation, so it has little weather. It primarily produces powerful red wines, and has been doing so since the 1500s. Priorat gets its name from the primary figure from the monastery – the Prior.

Scala Dei is home to the historic ruins of the Priory of Scala Dei. But more interesting is the story:

There is a ‘legend’ that says it was there where a half-asleep shepherd had dreamt of angels ascending to heaven through a stairway: God’s stairway, or Escaladei (from Latin Scala Dei, meaning «stairway to God»). [source]

What does any of this have to do with the wine served during the September wine dinner at Randy’s Steakhouse? It’s a great back story to the wine region and actually made me want to go out and research it more. See more on the region here and more on the Cellers Scala Dei here. Oh, and note that vines in the region are 25-35 years old.

This is a ruby colored wine with a strawberry scent – much heavier than the rosé earlier in the meal. It smells like a Grenache, with what I associated to Welch’s Grape Juice and sugar scent. However, the taste is a heavy grape and spice flavor. (I know that makes so much sense… just know it tastes like a slightly spicy typical red wine.)

The steak made it sweeter, and the mushrooms, with which it went well, also made it sweet. And just sipping on it after eating – it was too sweet.

Final Thoughts

Let me start by saying when the wine rep described this wine she called it “yummy, yummy, yummy.” Personally, to me it was just worthy of one yummy. While the wine was good and earned a Tuesday/Wednesday rating from me – I really preferred the Tempranillo.

In the end, we decided this Tuesday wine (with a Thursday price point) on its own (so a Wednesday with the right food) needed to be paired with Jägerschnitzel or something with a garlic aioli sauce (not the two together though).

However, you may find yourself agreeing with the wine rep and that this is a 3-yummy wine. I wouldn’t turn it down and I might even order it at a restaurant – but I’m not sure I’d buy a bottle for home.

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