Wildfire threat to Mas Martinet’s Els Escurçons vineyard

A wildfire broke out in Gratallops, Priorat on June 9th on the mountains around Mas Martinet and quickly moved towards the vineyard of Els Escurçons. Planted in 2000 by Sara Peréz when she took over running the winery from her father, Josep Lluís Peréz, this vineyard is the source of their namesake wine, Els Escurçons.

The cause of the fire was determined to be from a lighting strike. These are a relatively common occurrence in Catalonia where the terrain is usually quite dry, scrubby, and otherwise flammable. This fact was exacerbated in Catalonia and especially in Priorat as the preceding days had been abnormally hot for the region.

Twenty four engines on the ground as well as four planes and three helicopters were called in by the rural firefighters who have managed to control the blaze–one of several around the Tarragona Province. According to Mas Martinet sales manager, Magí Batllevell, “In the end it burned 15ha around and up to the vines but the vineyard itself was thankfully saved.”

A unique vineyard for Mas Martinet, it sits at 600m and is believed to be the highest vineyard in the region comprised of black slate. With recent vintages Ms. Peréz has been aging the wines in a combination of clay amphorae and glass demijohns in order to present as clear an expression of the locale as possible.

A new trip will be needed up there to see the terrain as after visiting with a private wine tour on Monday just before the fire broke out, it has undoubtedly changed a great deal.