Paisatge de l'Albera
10 Jun 2012 0 comments Lídia Penelo

A visit to the wineries and Cooperatives from Albera

The wines of Empordà (in the northeastern corner of Catalonia) are strong and full-bodied and have earned a well-deserved respect among its Catalan counterparts. But it has not been an overnight success.  It all started a long time ago with the Greeks who settled in this area.  They boosted the interest on the locals for vineyards. In the sixth century B.C. the foot of the Albera, a massif combed by the powerful north wind, was one of the highest wine producing zones. Now it’s a natural park with mild winters and hot summers tempered by sea breezes, a more than perfect climate to grow grapes and olives.

Vineyards of the Alt Empordà

In the Middle Ages, the monasteries of Sant Pere de Rodes, Sant Quirze of Colera and Santa Maria de Vilabertran were the guardians of the vast majority of vineyards of the region. Currently in Empordà there is a seven square miles stretch of land devoted to the vine, one fifth of which, belongs to the small town of Garriguella. Flanked by the mountains of the Albera, the Gulf of Roses and the hill of Mala Veïna, this town of little over 800 people is proud to have a Cooperative that offers wines of all the varieties typical of the area: Carignan, Grenache and Tempranillo. Their goal? Striving for excellence.

Tradition and modernity

One way to test if this is true is by tasting the local product. Make sure you visit the Celler Espelt winery in the town of Vilajuïga. The grapes they produce grow in a privileged environment, surrounded by three natural parks: the Albera, the Cap de Creus and the wetlands of Empordà. It is no coincidence that all these natural wealth has seeped into the flavor of their wines. A good example we find it in the Comabruna, a powerful red wine, that combines Syrah, Carignan and Marselan grapes from the harvest of 2008. It’s intense cherry tones, aroma with hints of ripe fruit and toasted and a fleshy and flavorful palate, make it one of the best calling cards one can get.

Next to Vilajuïga we find the town of Capmany, home of the winery Castillo de Capmany, a small entrepreneurial operation in business since 1995. Despite their humble enterprise, they have managed to position one of its wines, the Moll de Alba, among the most internationally distinguished wines of the region.

And you could carry on for many days, since you can find a winery practically in every town. We can’t fit all of them here, so we selected a few. If you get near Cantallops, make sure you stop at Vinyes dels Aspres. In this winery you will be able to witness the contrast between a new vinification cellar and an aging cellar. In the old cellar, it is captivating to see the French oak Allier barrels where they age the wine. They work with the following grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan/Carignan, Grenache, Merlot, Syrah, White Grenache and Lledoner (Red Grenache). They also offer the possibility to taste the wine.

Write your comment...

* Required fields.
Comments on this BLOG are moderated by its author.