Book Review: “Ethos Priorat,” by Elisabeth Hecker

Ethos Priorat is not only a great book for fans of the wines from this magnetic region of Cataluña, it’s a lot more than that. It’s a love story that chronicles how a sip of wine can sometimes change your life. Elisabeth Hecker was a brand designer for California wineries. She first had a wine from Priorat in 2003 without ever having heard the name of the region before. As it often happens to many of us, she felt the urge to see the place that produced that magical liquid.

Hecker spent 10 years documenting what she saw in Priorat throughout the different seasons, often spending long periods of time in the vineyards on her own, enjoying the silence and the calm. The book is eminently vivid, you get a good sense of what’s it like to be there. But she also consulted with experts in different fields, such as history and geology, not just viticulture or winemaking, talking to old-timers and newcomers, digging into the history of the villages and following the work in the vineyard and in the winery throughout the year.

Ethos Priorat is a holistic view of the region, covering many different aspects: terroir, climate, nature, the plant cycle, the history of each of the villages, the pioneers and the renaissance.

She commissioned detailed maps and recounts the history of how the Carthusian monks developed the region in the 12th century and how it came back to life at full blast through the work of a handful of visionaries that changed the perception of the region forever.

Hecker photographed, wrote and designed a beautiful book, over 300 pages of detail and love for a region that has a special attraction for day dreamers, a place that captures you and doesn’t want you to leave. Listen, the wine is talking…

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