Sweet Grenache: the sweet childhood of Empordà
Our roots are in sweet Grenache. Before building our cellars, before making the first of our wines, our palates got to know and love sweet Grenache; the most native wine of all the wines from Empordà and also one that we have gradually grown with and have transformed in to other very different wines, using all its experience and variations that are at its base. It is the case however that the first sweet Grenache we remember from the past wasn’t a wine to have at the end of the meal with desserts, but a very different beast altogether…
When we were young, sweet Grenache was a wine to welcome guests that was generally served in cheap cups that one was offered upon the arriving to a home, together with another traditional Empordà treat, Galetes Barceloneta. Our grandfather had noticed that not all sweet Grenaches were equal and after considerable investigation, he arrived to the conclusion that the best were the ones kept/aged from one year to the next.
Perhaps without being aware of it, those viticulturists that made this wine in their homes had “re-engineered” the traditional Solera system in that they refilled the barrels annually with the sweet Grenache and left it to oxidize. The Airam was the first wine we made at our home and is still the one that we love the most. Today our Airam sees two years of oxidative aging in the barrel where it is refilled with our Garnatxa de l’Empordà. One wine leads to another, like the roots of a tree that climb up to form the branches to the sky.
Airam is very friendly to have with panellets (marzipan balls covered with pine nuts) and roasted chestnuts, dark chocolate or chocolate spreads, hazelnuts, and anything where we find a lingering, sweet finish. The Garnatxa de l’Empordà is better had during the spring, and it pairs well with the brunyols from Empordà (basically a Catalan donut hole.)
Given its flavor profile, we have created this cocktail that we’ve named, Tòria. It serves to compliment the dessert after a meal or when the classic discussion arises of, “don’t open the Cava, I want a cocktail” or “don’t make cocktails, we’re opening the Cava”. The Cava brings a touch of yeastiness that complements the other flavor characteristics of brunyols, lemon peel, and anise. To garnish the glass and chill the drink, we also put in a frozen grape–of Grenache naturally.
- 30 ml sweet Grenache from l’Empordà
- 10 ml sweet anise liquor
- 10 ml limoncello
- Cava Escuturit to fill up the glass
- One frozen grape
All of the ingredients need to be well-chilled. Put the grape at the bottom of a champagne flute. Add the sweet Grenache, sweet anise liquor, and limoncello. Finish filling the glass with the Escuturit Cava and give it one gentle stir with a bar spoon.