Climbing the Stairway to Heaven

Scala Dei 2011

If you like your wines with a bit of muscle and intensity then Scala Dei translated from Latin to literally mean ‘Ladder to God’ is one to try. Made by Carthusian monks in the Scala Dei winery, founded in the 12th century and found in the Priorat region south-west of Tarragona Spain. I actually picked up this bottle in a small supermarket down a back street in the historic old town of Ciutadella in Menorca where I think I paid around 8/9 Euros for it, a bit of a bargain I’d say.

Although probably not a wine for everyone and definitely one to drink with food, It is mainly a blend of Garnacha with some Carignan, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. When initially opened there were heady aromas of seriously dark fruit, liquorice and tar with perhaps a touch of smokiness but it’s on the first sip when you realise that this needs time to open up and develop, initially you notice the bright acidity along with strong flavours of dark plummy fruit, black forest gateaux, liquorice followed by grippy tannins.

Word of warning, ‘do not drink this straight way’  this needed to be decanted for a few hours before going anywhere near it but I went ahead anyway as we were eating. Sharing it around the table this divided opinion, although there were more positives with only my wife turning her nose up at it and passing while continuing with her glass of Pimms. Over the course of the meal, the wine initially very tarry and bitter softened and the fruit became more evident and turned into a very enjoyable drink.

Another reason to decant was the sediment that showed as we neared the bottom of the bottle, luckily I didn’t get the last glass. So what was the verdict? well, I liked it, then I tend to like this style of wine and most of the guys that tried it seemed to like it too.


All in all a good wine that needs some respect, don’t drink it straight away, give it some air and you will be left with a decent interesting wine with some complexity.

My rating 8/10 corks

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