The tangible and cultural heritage of our estates and vineyards shows the vestiges of various religious orders: chapels, monasteries, fortifications, and other sacred spaces that point to the close relationship between human existence and the divine. The Purgatori winery (DO Costers del Segre) brings the echoes of its Benedictine legacy back to the surface.
Purgatori winery (DO Costers del Segre) amid vineyards in the heart of Les Garrigues (Lleida)
The Benedictine Order
The order founded by Saint Benedict (Piemonte, Italy, 6th century) contributed greatly, more so perhaps than any other, to spreading wine culture during the Middle Ages. Following their traces takes us to the finest wine regions in Europe where the Benedictine legacy is palpable in majestic abbeys and monasteries, and in old vineyards rooted in the careful study of different soils and select parcels to find the most suitable.
The hard work rendered by the members of the order justified the additional wine rations exceeding the daily hermina of 27 cl allotted to each monk. The dialectic between prayer and labor expressed in the vocation and monastic life of the Benedictines resulted in countless vineyards and wineries established to supply the community with wine, both for consumption and liturgical purposes.
Remnants of the last wine barrel in the old monastic winery, right below its modern-day counterpart
Winegrowing was so important to the Benedictine monks that the decision to build a new monastery was often dependent on the yields produced by the first vineyards planted in the surrounding area.
Saint Benedict not only normalized moderate wine consumption as a way of coping with hard labor, but he strove to break the everyday tedium by organizing feasts for the community, known as consolationes refectionis, that celebrated a variety of events, both sacred and profane.
The Purgatori winery is a tangible testament to the order's sojourn in Les Garrigues (Lleida). In 1780, the Desterrats estate became a place of penitence, home to many monks from the abbey of Montserrat who had committed a sin of some sort. Over time, the extreme climate—seen as punishment—and the arduous vineyard work to supply the diocese gave the monks the necessary experience to understand that this was an exceptional terroir—which would one day illuminate a heavenly wine. One legend tells the tale of countless barrels mysteriously disappearing, leading some to believe that angels had descended to take them up to heaven.
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Today Purgatori is the tangible expression of Familia Torres's commitment to the region; a place steeped in silence which seems to precede the echo of bygone voices. This is the Benedictine legacy of an elegant, modern wine. A deep hue meets a seductive nose, where forest fruit cavort harmoniously across a subtle smoky bed with echoes of dried fruit. It unfolds to embrace the palate, voluptuous, but with fine tannins; powerful, yet balanced. Full-bodied elegance.