Over a summer two travelers drink their way through the wines of Mediterranean Europe.
Through a personal connection we were very fortunate to get a first glimpse of an exciting new winery in north-eastern Spain near Figueres called, La Vinyeta. The overall region is called d.o. Emporda and this is a new winery that has been built over the last few years. They now lay claim to 40 hectares (100 acres) of thriving vines. Part of this area was and continues to be occupied by 75 year old vines that are growing Garnatxa (Grenache). The rest have been planted with many different varietals including Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot.
We were given a taste of the Merlot from the tanks before it has been aged in the French Oak barrels. It’s quite an exquisite wine that has a nose like that of a Merlot that has already been aged for five years or more. The taste is relatively light and will need some time in the oak to really play out the full potential, which will undoubtedly be fantastic.
In addition to the Merlot, we were given a real treat in trying the Garnatxa from the tanks. In two words: absolutely delicious. For those not familiar with this, it’s a sweet wine that shares some flavors in common with Tokaj, but is very much its own. You’ll taste wonderful caramel flavors as well as smell these aromas in it.
As a sharp contrast to the age of these vines is the owner, Josep Serra Pla, who is a very fresh face in the winemaking business at only 29. A native of the area, he has invested a great deal of time and money in to building this winery quite literally from the ground up. While the Merlot and Garnatxa have yet to be released unfortunately, they have already released a Rose that is called Heus Rosat, a white called Heus Blanc, and a red called Heus Negre (the Catalans refer to red wine as a “black” wine, thus the ‘negre’). Both are solid wines at their core and while only currently available in Spain, they show great promise for La Vinyeta. We look forward to tasting more in the near future!