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Clos Galena – 25 years showcasing Priorat’s potential

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The Catalan winery shares the story behind its highly-praised organic wines.

Deep in the heart of Priorat, close to the village of El Molar, lies Clos Galena; a stunning winery created by husband-and-wife team Miguel Pérez and Merche Dalmau. In 1999, after visiting the region, they fell in love with its steep, terraced vineyards and slate soils, and decided to follow their dream: to build a modern winery devoted to organic viticulture.

The goal was simple: to bottle the essence of Priorat and share it with the world. Sadly, Miguel Pérez passed away in 2013, passing the torch to Merche, who has led the winery since with the help of expert oenologist Toni Coca and of a fantastic viticulture and winemaking team. In 2024, Clos Galena will celebrate its 25th anniversary in Priorat: quarter of a century producing remarkable wine with precision and passion, alongside the fantastic community it has built along the way.

Winemaker Merche Dalmau, part of Clos Galena's husband-and-wife team

Merche Dalmau, winemaker at Clos Galena

Heroic and organic

Miguel and Merche, both trained and experienced pharmacists, made the decision to follow organic viticulture early on as a way to celebrate and capture the amazing biodiversity of Priorat. They also felt that by following organic principles, they would be able to showcase a purer expression of the DO’s remarkable terroir.

Clos Galena’s vineyards sit on traditional terraces known as ‘costers’, cascading down the steep slaty hillsides of Priorat, with 30 hectares planted with Garnacha, Cariñena, Garnacha Blanca, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot. The term ‘heroic viticulture’ certainly applies here, with the dizzying slopes managed entirely by hand. The signature, slaty, llicorella soils of Priorat impart a dense, smoky, mineral intensity to the wines, and naturally limit the yields to less than 1kg of grapes per vine.

Wines from Clos Galena winery in Priorat, Spain

Priorat in a bottle

The results are spectacular. Clos Galena is a blend of old vine Garnacha, Cariñena, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon from the oldest vineyards surrounding the village of El Molar. Dark, smoky and intense yet incredibly well defined, this is the soul of Priorat in a bottle. Galena is a similar blend, with Merlot in lieu of Syrah, with ripe red and black fruits, wild herbs and refreshing acidity. Formiga de Vellut, meanwhile, is a spicy, evocative blend of Garnacha, Syrah and Cariñena whilst Crossos is a modern blend of Garnacha, Cariñena and Cabernet Sauvignon.

What stands out in all these wines is the fruit intensity and definition, supported by the unmistakable, earthy minerality of Priorat ́s deep, llicorella soils. A special edition wine will be launched to commemorate the estate’s 25th anniversary in 2024, the details of which are a closely guarded secret but it will be worth the wait!

Casks at Clos Galena in Spain's Priorat wine region

High praise

Plaudits, both at home and abroad, reflect the quality and expressiveness of the wines. Gratifyingly, Formiga de Vellut was selected as the wine served at the 2017 Nobel Prize Awards Dinner in Stockholm, making it the first Catalan wine ever to be chosen in the long history of the awards.

Both Clos Galena and Galena have featured in the Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines and were also chosen as the first Priorat wines served on British Airways First Class flights. Adding to the accolades, Robert Parker, James Suckling and other leading wine critics have bestowed high scores on Clos Galena’s wines since the first releases in 2004, and Decanter and Mundus Vini have consistently awarded them Gold medals.

Grapes from Clos Galena in SPain's Priorat wine region

Beyond Priorat

Merche Dalmau and her talented team are always hard at work, pushing the boundaries and dedicating their life ́s work to creating transparent, characterful wines. This philosophy has now extended beyond Priorat to two new projects in Montsant and Terra Alta, where the focus is similarly on old-vine vineyards, sustainable viticulture and an open approach to showcasing the uniqueness of each vineyard and micro-climate.

Moments del Montsant is a Grenache-led blend that highlights the red-fruited, spicy nature of this indigenous grape in the DO. On the other hand, Cariñena takes centre stage in Terra Alta to create Secrets del Mar, a fresh, engaging wine that evokes brambly fruits, anis and deliciously soft tannins.

Clos Galena's winemaker Miguel Pérez

Other half of Clos Galena’s original husband-and-wife team, Miguel Pérez in his vineyard

Proud Catalans

Central to Clos Galena’s identity are its Catalan origins, which are a source of strength and great pride. Merche prizes the happiness and motivation of the team above all else and, as a united force, they play an active role in supporting the local community, contributing to several local charities, fundraisers and events. The striking labels that adorn the wines are also created by local artists, commissioned through the Anquins gallery in Reus in an effort to employ and promote local talent. .

Open for the public to visit, Clos Galena offers a variety of experiences designed to showcase the life at the winery, with a strong focus on understanding the unique terroir of Priorat and El Molar. Fortunately, these wines can also be found outside of the region, as Clos Galena exports to 30 different countries worldwide, spreading the message and philosophy of Merche Dalmau and her team.


Discover more about Clos Galena

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