Situated on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and in the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains lies the Emporda, the Northeastern most corner of Spain. The Emporda is the oldest wine-growing region in Spain having been planted by Phoenician settlers close to three thousand years ago, but remains one of its least well known. Castillo Perelada is one producer determined to bring the region’s wines to the forefront of consumer consciousness.
For centuries, due to the hot Mediterranean climate, the wines of the Emporda were highly alcoholic and sold in bulk, but in the 1990’s producers began a shift from quantity to quality and began planting more international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot– mirroring the efforts of the Priorat a couple of decades prior. The five vineyards owned by Castillo Perelada provide a perfect terroir for being a leader in this movement. Granite, schist, and stony soils, paired with the strong Tramuntana winds, allow for low yields, naturally concentrating the flavors of the full-bodied reds created here.
Perelada has five vineyards of different aspects, slopes, and soils allowing for the production of a wide array of wines. From special single-vineyard and single varietals, to complex blends from among several or all of the vineyards, these wines never disappoint. Winemaker Delfi Sanahuja was brought in a decade ago from Bordeaux and employs extensive use of new French and American Oak to produce full-flavored wines that appeal to lovers of both new and old world styles. Delfi believes that the single-vineyard Finca La Garriga, made from 100% old-vine Carignan, captures the soul of the Emporda, while his Gran Claustro is Bordeaux blend styled to compete with the Grand Vins of Bordeaux. The blend from all five vineyards and aged for eighteen months in new oak, 5 Finques, will impress with its price-to-quality ratio.
Along with their stunning red wines, Perelada produces a single white wine, an Garnatxa Blanca from sixty year old vines, and are also famous for their stunning Cavas, including their Brut Reserva that spends a minimum of fifteen months in the cellar before disgorgment.
Be sure to check out the wines from Castillo Perelada when you are ready to travel off the beaten wine path and you will be glad that you did!