lledoner roig

lledoner roig

The harvest starts! Heat, drought, wild boars and all the variables you know make this year special. The harvest is a few days ahead and we have already started to collect the varieties of the plan and also the red hawthorn from Mas Marès.

August, the days are shorter and the heat seems to be giving us a break, at least at night. However, the high temperatures in July and the drought we are experiencing -it hasn’t rained hard for many months- have meant that exceptionally this year we had to advance the harvest by a good week.

We say exceptionally, but we know that this reality can be the general tone in the years to come. Climate change is unstoppable and we feel that we must adapt to it as best we can. Making progress in an integrated management of the territory, which takes into account the climatology, soil conservation and the fragile balance of the ecosystems, will favor that we can reap the benefits in the future as well. That is why, since we started the Mas Marès project, we decided that we would do everything possible to preserve the legacy that we as humans have received from nature. Land near the sea, with low bushes, corks and now also vineyards that favor the control and protection of unique species of Cap de Creus.

In these lands where Anna Espelt’s most personal project is built, a few years ago we planted Grey Grenache, with grafts from the old vines of Rabós. This week is the grape we start to harvest, this local variety of Grenache that is rosé. Planting local varieties has for some time been the most suitable decision for our land: they are more adapted to the territory and will therefore need less water and withstand the wind.

Emporda varieties, unique terroirs and a vintage that is just beginning. Happy harvest everyone!

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).