Posts

Located in the Emporda DO Wine Region of Spain, as the name implies, the site of this winery, Terra Remota (Remote Land)  is isolated and secluded, feeling even more so since the devastating fires that destroyed much of this region recently- leaving a path of charcoaled lifelessness in its wake.

DSC04526
Thankfully Terra Remota, in the Emporda DO Wine Region of Spain, was, for the most part, unharmed with only a small plot of vines damaged but learning more about the history behind the Spanish winery it is terrifying to think not only about the possible destruction of the building but also of everything it stands for.

The land here, in the Emporda Wine Region, symbolizes more than just wine production, for the family it stands for identity.  Terra Remota winery is owned by Marc and Emma Bournazeau.  Emma’s grandfather was a man from Catalonia that, after the Spanish Civil war, escaped to France to live in Perpignan. For the family, Terra Remota represents a return from exile and to the land of origin, reclaiming the lost identity of a family.

Terra Remota Winery

The first thing you notice when driving up to Terra Remota is the extraordinary raw concrete “bodega”, which is designed by the Spanish architects Pépe Cortés & Nacho Ferrer and is made up of “Three shoeboxes” nestled into the hillside with the intention of integrating the building into the surrounding landscape- respect for the natural environment is a reoccurring theme here at Terra Remota. The three levels of the structure reflect the three stages the grapes go through from sorting at the top level to bottling, ageing and tasting on the bottom floor, respecting the principle of gravity.

Terra Remota Winery

Every process inside this building is designed to treat the grapes with utmost respect and care.  The key principle at this winery is to avoid excessive manipulation of the original quality of the grape- convinced that the better the raw material the less need for interference.

The idea is that each wine is different and must be treated as such.   The wines “Caminante”, (white) “Caminito” (rosé) and  “Camino” (red), named in homage to Machado’s poem, are the product of respect, and perseverance from the team.

Emporda Wines

Many of guests have thoroughly enjoyed a visit and relaxing picnic in the vineyards at this great Emporda winery!  Join us on a Private Food, Wine and Culinary Tour including the Emporda DO Wine Region of Spain and you too could be visiting this wonderful winery for a private tour and exclusive wine tasting!

Not only is the Empordà region of Spain a beautiful and fascinating place to visit with Medieval Girona, Besalú, Pals and Peratallada, not to mention gorgeous picture-postcard seaside villages, but it also offers some unique and very exciting young wineries.  Led by wine specialists and oenologists, who prefer to grow their grapes on an ecological  basis, some fine wines are now being created from Empordà vineyards and they are well worth a visit.

Emporda Spanish Wine

One such Empordà winery is Terra Remota lying under the mountains, close to the border of France.  Nothing less than “great wine” is the goal of this winery owner and his team.  Lying long and low on a plateau embellished with hillocks in the shadow of the Pyrenees,  is the raw concrete “bodega” designed by Spanish architects Pépe Cortés & Nacho Ferrer.  It is recently built, but in time will surely hide itself entirely in its natural surroundings. This ecologically run vineyard and their fine wines have gained a fabulous reputation, having resided on the Wine Lists of more than one Michelin 3 starred restaurant!

You can really enjoy something very special after a visit to this Empordà winery;  take a lazy short walk through the vineyards to the picnic area, where you can put your feet up and lounge in the shade of the tall trees on the sun beds provided. Having selected the wine of your choice beforehand, everything will be delivered to you at the picnic area – local cheese, ham, pate, tomato, grapes and bread, a feast for two. With the sun filtering through the tree tops, take time out to breathe in the fresh mountain air as you sip your delicious coffee at the end of a truly relaxed picnic.

Mas Estela – Not only do they produce high rated wines, but the location of this Empordà winery is sublime. It is tucked into a valley within the Cap de Creus natural park and is only 3 kms from the Mediterranean sea, with it’s moderating influence, and near to the charming village of Selva de Mar.

The family came here in 1988 and bought a large ruin with some 50 hectares of valley and scrub land with steep slopes on either side. Having rebuilt their house, they planted the terraces with varieties such as syrah, monastrell and garnatxa gris to complement the garnatxa, cariñena and muscat which already existed.

This organic Empordà vineyard  also applies bio-dynamic principles by looking at the cycles of the moon to interact with the soil, to know when to work on the vines or add natural fertilizer. This means that the environment is not polluted by any type of chemical and as such the whole variety and diversity of organic, insect and wildlife is preserved and encouraged creating a truly healthy environment.

Mas Oller – Carlos Esteva is a pioneer in creating quality wines in Spain.  He started making wines in the Penedès Wine Region at Can Ràfols dels Caus Estate, near Barcelona.  In the seventies he was the first to introduce the Merlot grape variety to Spain and his GRAN CAUS Tinto 1984, a wine made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot aged in French oak barrels, was a completely new concept in Spain. Also, his white wines are unique.

Mas Oller

With the Mas Oller project, Carlos decided to rescue the Empordà family estate from oblivion and asked his old friend, Peter Schoonbrood, a Dutch expat, to set up the concept for the new winery and the wines.  In the year 2000 he decided to plant vines to produce new, prestigious, high-quality wines.  Some wine was made from the young vines in the earlier vintages and was sold locally.  Now, the Empordà vines have reached the right age for achieving the desired concentration of fruit.  The first wines were launched in April 2009 and the response since then has been extremely positive.

* La VinyetaA small Empordà vineyard and olive farm situated at the heart of the beautiful Emporda wine D.O region. It is a young, dynamic, family company, run by the enthusiastic oenologist Josep Serra and his wife that is the fruit of much effort and ambition. In 2002 they purchased two excellent old Carignan and Grenache vineyards, aged between 50 and 75 years. From that moment on, more and more vines were planted, up to the present 30 hectares.

La Vinyeta

The project was consolidated in 2006 with the construction of the winery and the making of the first wines. In 2009, La Vinyeta became one of the first wineries to adopt Integrated Production, an environment-friendly cultivation system. This is the context in which the wines of La Vinyeta are born.

Their signature wines (Heus, Llavors and Punt i Apart) are structured as if they were part of a unique story.

  • “Once upon a time” for the Heus label, the freshest and youngest of their wines; which is produced in red, white and rosé varieties.
  • “Then” for  Llavors, which suggests evolution after spending six months in oak casks.
  • The story is completed with the distinct Punt i Apart  “new paragraph”; La Vinyeta’s flagship wine, and our definite favorite, which stays 13 months in oak casks.

 

Besides their great tasting Empordà wines, another aspect that sets La Vinyeta apart from other wineries is their superb design. The work of Lluís Serra, Josep’s brother, has been recognized for its originality in their packaging, logo design and the naming of their products. Every detail of their concept is well thought out and has a reason for being there, from start to finish, as the story goes.

 

Enjoy visits to some of these, and other, wineries in the Empordà region of Spain on one of our  Private Wine Tours custom designed just for you

grape harvest and stomping tour in Spain

Grape stomping fun:  Kick off your shoes and get ready for an unforgettable experience

The idyllic perception of a winery visit is a tour of a vineyard followed by a tasting of their respective wines.  Everyone knows this; so, at Gourmand Breaks as we are always on the lookout for a bit of extra special, we added some hands on action and some good food and “voila” a Harvest, Stomping Winery Day was born – enjoy this innovative experience in early Fall on one of our Private Wine Tours

What is it?  

Grape-stomping, also known as pigeage, a French winemaking term for the traditional stomping of the grapes, is part of a method of maceration used in traditional winemaking.  Rather than using a wine press or other mechanized method, grapes are crushed by foot in opPurple feeten vats to release their juices and begin fermentation.  However, to make certain types of wine, grapes are put through a crusher and then poured into open fermentation tanks.
Once fermentation begins, the grape skins are pushed to the surface by carbon dioxide gases released in the fermentation process.  The grapes and stems are mashed together, releasing not only the juice from the grapes, but also the phenols and tannins that provide color and acidity. This layer of skins and other solids is known as the cap. As the skins are the source of the tannins, the cap needs to be mixed through the liquid each day, or “punched,” which traditionally is done by stomping through the vat.  Pigeage, literally means “punching down the cap,” and describes the pushing down of the grape skins that float to the surface of the fermentation vats, forming the “cap.”

A little bit of history:

Grape stomping probably goes back to the very beginnings of winemaking.  Historical evidence shows that grapes were stomped at least as far back as Rome in 200 BC. One of the earliest existing visual representations of the practice appears on a Roman sarcophagus which depicts a group of demigods harvesting and stomping grapes at a rural Roman festival.

For centuries grapes were picked by hand and grape stomping was the universal method used to extract the juice to make wine. In America, most grape stomping by human feet was legislated out of existence by the end of the twentieth century, the concern for public health outweighing tradition. Most other countries eventually banned grape stomping too, but there are still places where you can stomp grapes.

What you can expect: A day in pictures

La Vinyeta 2013_047

Fantastic vineyard settings provide the perfect setting for a private harvesting and stomping tour

La Vinyeta 2013_042

Harvesting the grapes.
The berry bunches grow at the bottom of the vine, dry ones are discarded and green ones are left to ripen

La Vinyeta 2013_063

As the harvester transfers overflowing buckets into the vat, the next step is the stomp

IMG_7340

A hop, a skip or a jump…….a stomping we will go.

La Vinyeta 2013_093

Everything from the vat gets transferred into the Wine Press

La Vinyeta 2013_099

The lower the the press churns the more liquid flows

DSC02007

The grape juice then transfers into the fermentation tanks where it will continue on its journey to become wine

La Vinyeta 2013_112

Depending on the intention of the winemaker the wine may be fermented in oak barrels

La Vinyeta 2013_116

After an exciting day at the vineyard and after gaining a deeper understanding of the process now a chance to sit back and truly appreciate an example of the finished products. Cheers!

IMG_7333

A group of ladies who recently enjoyed one of our stomptastic private harvest tours

 

For more information on this or any of our private wine tours please do not hesitate to contact us !

This innovative experience can be included in our longer private tours such as the Wine Connoisseur Tour of Spain or The Best of Spain & France Grand Private Wine Tour

Please note that grape harvesting, and subsequently stomping, is only available during the appropriate grape harvesting season of each vineyard.  In Spain the focus will be in the months of September/October.