For the first weekend in may Falset becomes the wine capital of Catalonia when it celebrated their 14th wine fair. Priorato and Montasant are the remote and arid areas which became one of the poorest parts of Spain after the lead mining industry closed down in the 1970's and agriculture was always marginal at best.
Until a few brave and visionary souls decided to recover the old vines and plant new ones in the 1980's and 90's there was very little reason to come here other than for the mountain scenery and general tranquility of the villages.
Now it is recognised as producing some of the most exciting wines in Spain, with prices, in some cases, to match. Like most luxury goods, the last ten years has seen some real booms and these fashionable wines were leading the pack. Now comes the reality that from a dozen wineries to 82 registered with the regulatory body there is bound to be a pretty brutal shakeout process.
None of this seemed to worry the crowds who poured into this sleepy farming town for the festival to try the wonderful olive oils, varied local foods and of course the wines.The weather was truly summery and added to the festive spirit. Salud as they say here!