Viticulture

Viticulture

If there’s one thing we learn from listening to and observing the earth, it’s that everything changes and nothing stays the same. Time changes everything and transforms us as well. Being tied to the cycles of nature is one of the most valuable learnings that viticulture has given us.

These days the grape has begun to turn brown. Verolar is when the grape begins to take on the color it has when it is ripe. It is one of the most beautiful changes of the vine. The word verolar in Catalan is in itself also an example of the change inherent in everything around us, it comes from ver a variant (precisely) in old popular Catalan of the adjective vari/vària. Ver soon disappeared from the current language to be confused with ver with the meaning of ‘truth’, but it remained in this word: verolar.

The change in color actually occurs throughout the landscape that now turns brown because the water stress we have in the Mediterranean is becoming apparent, despite being a very green year. We have already removed the vegetation cover in most places so that there is no competition and this water stress is fair. Now is the time to realize that all the efforts, fears and dreams of winter are beginning to take shape and color. The real harvest is approaching. The tips of the thoriums have stopped growing, the plant ceases to be expansive to concentrate on itself and give the best possible grape. The grape changes color, yes, but inside the plant there is a total change in its operation: it begins to accumulate sugars, aromas, colors, tannins. The berries begin to soften, go from hardness to texture change and become more fleshy.

This is the end of July, there is nothing left to do, it’s just time to wait. Let the summer pass, be patient and watch the blackberries ripen near the vineyards, smell the crickets, the summer insects and the smells that have completely changed their aroma compared to those in the spring. Nothing more, just the sweet wait for the vintage.

We love to live here, in the Empordà, and take care of the landscape, take care of the land and be able to make a wine that is a genuine expression of it. Our work makes sense when we act with the utmost awareness of the fragility of what we have on hand. Taking care of each of the steps in winemaking, without ever losing sight of the legacy of nature, is a sine qua non condition for feeling that we are doing our job well. Therefore, we are very happy to announce an agreement on agricultural stewardship with the IAEDEN, an organisation that works to preserve the most valuable things we have, face to face with roots, shrubs, animals, plants and all biodiversity. which reigns in and around the vineyards.

We’ve always thought that making organic wine was just the tip of the iceberg (which is melting with each passing day). Nothing makes sense if we look at what we do in watertight compartments. Nature is not, and neither are the places where we live and work. Having the vineyards between three places of natural interest, two of them natural parks, makes us more aware and demanding with everything we do. Many times we feel that it is not enough, but today this announce makes us happy, because it names the practices we already do: having a herd of cows that graze in winter, eat too much forest left over and fertilize the ground at the same time; beehives that pollinate in Mas Marés; dry stone walls that we recover year after year because it is culture, landscape, but also because they are a beautiful place for animals of all kinds to live; plant cover to minimize the risk of soil erosion and root out nutrients and happy vines. Because if we listen to the Earth and we take care by doing so, She always answers us with the best fruits. She is biodiverse, we collect her happiness. Making a land stewardship agreement with the IAEDEN was another step in our commitment to practices that we had been carrying out for longtime ago.

From this June we are partners in this project that ensures that all our agricultural activity is as respectful as possible with the biodiversity of the territory where it is developed. We know that the conservation of agricultural, environmentally sustainable and local activities are the best guarantee to preserve our Empordà landscape and its biodiversity. Making it possible every day is our essence. This agreement is a further step in the commitment of mutual aid between producers and conservatives. We will continue to preserve the Mediterranean mosaic in Cap de Creus and the Serra de l’Albera, using the most environmentally friendly methods we have. We have good travel companions, IAEDEN entity dedicated to the conservation and protection of the territory of the Alt Empordà for over forty years, will continue to advise us and collaborate to make known this magnificent land that gives us wonderful fruits.

Lledoner roig, red grenache, grey grenache. Different words to name the same type of grape. A local Empordà variety that we want to recover to make wines that reflect our terroir.

lledoner roig variety
Lledoner roig grapes, local Empordà variety

Let’s talk about the red hawthorn: the grapes. This is an exotic variety because they are neither white nor black but pink. Grapes from the Grenache family that complete the trilogy: Black Grenache, White Grenache and Red Grenache. Lledoner negre, lledoner blanc, lledoner roig, we call it the Empordà. The residents of Banyuls call it Grey Grenache. Rare grapes, because it is difficult to find a whole vine, and they are often mixed with other varieties.

A more vigorous variety than the Carignan, which often accompanies it. Very resistant to the north wind and drought, it gives us the best fruits – more pink than gray – when ripe well. This usually happens when you are in poor terrain. They must also be typical Empordà vines, less vigorous than those that came from France in the 1960s.

We have set out to recover this unique variety to make exceptional wines. Have you already tasted our Lledoner Roig, a single variety made from 100% of this exceptional grape?

Let’s talk about Lledoner Roig: wine. Because lledoner roig (aka Grey Grenache), the grape, has always been in the Empordà. Lledoner Roig is the first 100% Espelt lledoner roig.

Lledoner Roig Espelt
Lledoner Roig

Lledoner Roig (aka Grenache Gris) is a grape that’s always been here. Since we started to work with the old vines in Rabós we found that there were pink grapes mixed in with the Carignan. Initially we were a bit at a loss about how to make use of them but in the end, we did what was done traditionally done which is to make a sweet Grenache wine with them. Although we love these sweet wines as they’re part of the Empordà tradition, we thought we could get a bit more from these grapes.

We saw in these grapes a jubilant personality with full aroma and body, versatile yet delicate. We thought ourselves fortunate as in our hands there was this little jewel with each more valuable than the last, only requiring that we carefully pass through every vineyard to find these small, treasured vines. We knew that this Lledoner Roig was fully Empordàn: unpredictable, delicate yet very strong, full of unconventional flavors and with good phenols.

With each harvest we experimented with this grape. The wines that emerged were full of character, a touch rustic and wild. When we started to know this grape better, we added it to the blend of Quinze Roures. Now, finally, we’ve dared to make a wine solely of Lledoner Roig as the singular protagonist.

What has ultimately come about is a white wine from grapes that you would never had known were pink. It has aromas of chamomile, orange blossom, and stoniness. The wood aspects are only sensed due to using large oak barrels for three years to accompany the wine but not disguise a single aspect. In the mouth, it is reminiscent of its good sibling, Llendoner Blanc, but it maintains an acidity like you would find in colder wine regions.

Want to know more about this unique local variety we’ve recovered? We tell you all about lledoner roig (the variety).

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