The village of Porrera is located in the southwestern corner of the Priorat and is the largest of the 12 villages of the zone. Written records of a town (Valporrieram) in this location date to the beginning of the 12th century and the succeeding years encompass a long tradition of anti-clerical and anti-authoritarian local spirit – so much so that the town has been destroyed three times by invading forces. Yet despite these setbacks, Porrera continued to thrive, especially with the rebirth of the Priorat as a major wine producing area. Despite being on the DOQ’s southern border, Porrera is considered to be a more temperate area due to its location in the valley formed by the river Cortiella and the preponderance of north-facing vineyards sites.
Joan Sangenis is descended from eight generations of unruly locals who farmed various crops in Porrera. His family first started making wine in 1814 and until 1996 they sold their wines in bulk to the residents of the village. Joan’s parents Jaume and Merce, who both still tend to the family’s vines, purchased Mas d’En Compte in 1988 greatly expanding the scope of the family business. Along with this purchase came a ancient, ruined house in the village that they renovated with the intention of bottling their own wines. With much of the newly purchased vines being in disrepair, they also undertook resuscitating these old vineyards, replanting and awaiting the return of their son, Joan, who was finishing his studies in enology. Upon his return to Porrera in 1996, Celler Cal Pla was born.
The Sangenis family farms 20 hectares of vines located around Porrera. Their oldest vines of Garnatxa Negra and Carinyena are located in the famed Mas d’En Caçador vineyard – arguably the Grand Cru of the village. The remaining vines vary in age from 15 to 80 years old. Farming is done organically, which may sound easy in such a warm and dry climate until you see the incline of some of their sites – here any kind of farming is arduous. In addition to Garnatxa Negra and Carinyena the estate grows Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnatxa Blanca, Xarel.lo, Picapoll Blanca, Macabeau and Moscatel.