An Extensive Tasting at Espelt

Over a summer, two travelers drink their way through the wines of Mediterranean Europe Given the setting, Espelt is a young winery that was founded in 2000 on a family property in Vilajuïga in northeastern Catalonia, led by the eldest daughter Anna Espelt who studied enology in the US. In spite of being a traditional, family-run business, it is a cutting edge winery with experimental vine growing techniques and labels designed by Mariscal (famous for having designed the mascot of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics). With this in mind, it’s not surprising that in only five releases it has become the biggest winery in the area (the D.O. Empordà) with the largest vineyards. The vast majority of those vineyards are located inside two natural parks in the area, producing mostly local varietals, such as Carinyena (Carignane) and Garnatxa (Granache). In the natural park of the rugged Cap de Creus, the easternmost cape of Spain, Espelt has reintroduced vines planted in the traditional terraces of dry stones. This area had been a historical wine-producing region until the phylloxera plague destroyed all of it in the late 1800’s and since that point the land was left barren. We had the chance to taste … Continue reading An Extensive Tasting at Espelt

Experiencing the New La Vinyeta

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: … Continue reading Experiencing the New La Vinyeta

Europe Travels

Over a summer two travelers drink their way through the wines of Mediterranean Europe. Your hosts: Michael and Elia. Their target: wines of Southern Europe. We are Michael and Elia, two seasoned travelers and wine lovers who will be writing a series of blog posts for Blue Danube Wine as we travel around Mediterranean Europe, sampling the local wines and cuisines. We will be writing both about wineries that are trying new methods of production like “biodynamic” and about those that have done things the same way for literally hundreds of years. While we are not on a quest to find out what it is that ultimately defines these wines, we will definitely be noting similarities and comparing how different growing techniques, climates, and cultures affect the wines of each region we pass through. We are starting our trip in north-eastern Spain, in the region of Catalonia. From there, we will be making our way to southern Dalmatia in Croatia, including a few of the islands. Then, we will look in to the wines of recently independent Montenegro before heading up to neighboring Serbia. After a stop in Bosnia and Herzegovina, we will be back out on the coast of … Continue reading Europe Travels