The heat creates a haze that makes everything seem like a mirage. Infinity and nothingness coexist, suspended in the heat of the life-giving sun. The Mediterranean sends respite in the form of moisture-filled breezes. They cool the nights and give the vines needed moisture to restore and recuperate before another day of uncompromising sun.
Rain rushes down the streets. The green glow coming from the streetlights creates an eerie sensation, like being inside an old science fiction movie. Thunder booms through the theatre of light that has taken over the sky; its magnetic power will release the heavy pressure of humidity in the air. It is a storm, the kind that typically moves through the mountains in the summer. These storms pass through, cool the air and encourage the mushrooms to grow. No worries — the vines are no longer at risk, apart from drinking too much water and losing concentration in the fruit. The threat of fungus is over. It is just a matter of days before harvest begins.
The vines have stopped growing. All the energy will now be sent to the fruit. The fruit will ripen and change its color, sugar flowing, acidity in place. Meanwhile the cellar is being prepared; people are busy cleaning, preparing barrels and bottling wine to make room for the new vintage. Soon harvest will begin and all must be ready.
In the Priorat, the vines and the people move through time as if they were one. They respond to the sun and its seasonal rhythms with an unconscious awareness of when to rest and when to be fruitful. They are dependent on one another. Nature takes care of man so man can take care of nature — the perfect circle for ongoing life. This kind of synchronized rhythm could be explained by the fact that man is ultimately an integral part of nature, but in the Priorat this relationship is also a matter of heritage.
This is what makes generations’ cultivating the same land so crucial to a good wine. The more experiences that growers have with the land, the better prepared they are for dealing with the unpredictable that each vintage delivers. Knowing the trends, being familiar with each vine and recognizing signs inform intuitive viticulture. These experiences are recorded in memories that have become part of a farmer’s DNA. Stories are shared over a game of dominoes; children and grandchildren appear to be playing, but they are also listening as if to a collection of Aesop’s Fables, each with a lesson for life.
The neutral gray of hibernating winter gives way to the electric glow of spring. This is the signal for the people to wake up, put on sunglasses and get to work. The vines have rested and so have they. It is nice to be outside again, in motion, clinging to the sides of their beloved schisty slopes. They have no will to resist the telluric impulses. Walking amongst their ancestors, breathing the air of new life, they greet the new vintage with vigor for another year. Hard work, challenges and great reward await in this blessed life.
Ethos Priorat is vividly panoramic. It is best viewed in landscape format to fully enjoy the experience.