Castell de Peralada Cellar
SINCE THE 6th CENTURY BC:
The history of winemaking in the Empordà dates back more than 2,500 years. The vineyards of the Empordá, the most ancient in the Iberian Peninsula, were introduced by the Greeks when they founded Empúries, then developed by Roman colonizers and finally settled by Benedictine monks from the monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes. Nowadays, a number of different sized vineyards coexist in the vineyards, representing the continuity of the experience acquired, offering a very solid selection of bottled wines. The history of the Empordà has been deeply influenced by the work of the vine, and also its territory, with its characteristic buildings, dry stone walls and terraces, which make up the unique landscape of the Empordà. Magical scenery, mentioned by writers such as Josep Pla and immortalised by artists like Salvador Dali, the illustrious sons of this land of the Tramontana wind. A world full of enchantments, which includes the popular “platillo” cuisine of the Empordà, and the nouvelle cuisine, as represented by chefs of great international prestige, marrying perfectly with these exceptional wines.
QUALITY OF ORIGIN
The Empordà Denomination of Origin, created in 1975, covers and guarantees wines produced in this zone, situated in the north-eastern extreme of Catalonia, with vineyards covering 200 hectares distributed among 48 municipalities in the districts of Alt Empordà and Baix Empordà Over recent years, the Denomination of Origin has undergone some significant renovations. More modern growing and harvesting techniques are being used with the utmost of care. These are indispensable preludes to good wine making.
BETWEEN THE MEDITERRANEAN AND THE PYRENEES
There are natural factors that make this an exceptional location for producing the unique wines of Empordà. Its closeness to the Mediterranean and the Pyrenees gives it a climate of sharp contrasts, characterized by strong sunlight, low rainfall and frequent strong winds from the north (the Tramontana). Winters are mild and summers hot, but moderated by the effects of sea breezes. Because of its location among mountains and valleys, the soils in the DO Empordà vary greatly. Clay and slate, and granite-like soil all allow the creation of wines with many nuances.
SAMSÓ, LLEDONER AND MUCH MORE
The Cariñena and Samsó are the dominant red varieties, constituting the base of wine making in the Empordà, together with red Garnache (denominated in the Lledoner zone). These traditional varieties are complemented by the new varieties being introduced, such as Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Monastrell and Grenache Poilu. The dominant white varieties are Grenache, white and red, and Macabeo. Also, but to a lesser degree, Moscatel, the traditional Xarello, and the newly introduced Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Gewurztraminer. The Malvasía and Picapoll Blanc varieties are also authorised.
WINES OF TRAMONTANA
The range of wines produced in the l’Empordà is very extensive. Reds are of high quality, with body, well constituted and harmonious, sometimes refined with painstaking ageing. These Reserva and Crianza wines feature very characteristic aromatic notes. They are complex, with a subtle fragrance and with touches of spice, but they always maintain the aromas of fruit and plants. They are full, tasty and very pleasant in the mouth. Fresh, tasty wines are produced, frequently with autochthonous varieties, but also monovarieties of notable quality. Also rosé wine, characterised by its well-defined cherry hue, a great personality and delicate aroma, with moderate alcohol content. A unique product of the zone is the Garnatxa de l’Empordà, a sweet natural wine produced with the variety of grape that gives it its name. The flavour of this mature grape is generous, both warm and silky, all virtues that make it an exceptional dessert wine, together with the other sweet wine typical of the zone, the Moscatell de l'Empordà.