White, rosé, red, sweet … The wines of the Empordà are some of the best known in our country. With a wine tradition that goes back to the time of the Greeks, they are all a benchmark in the sector. Past and present are united through their excellent vines to offer us a sweet, unique and timeless flavor. Therefore, from Labois we have wanted to know this passionate project that brings culture, landscape and gastronomy.
Wines with identity
For centuries, the history of the Empordà is linked to the production of wine. Along with cereals and olives, vines have been part of its landscape and tradition. Its cultivation extends from the border with France to the south of the Costa Brava. The perfection of cultivation techniques and the commitment to local varieties has allowed developing a wide range of varieties and flavors.
The terraces excavated in Alberes Mountains are still visible. In this way, the area destined for the vine was transformed and multiplied, sometimes reaching the top of the mountain. For that reason, the recognition of Denomination of Origin in 1975 was a decisive impulse to reactivate the sector.
Today the Empordà is a living space that has managed to recover wine as a symbol of identity. Currently, 52 wineries work under the DO Empordà label, adding an area of 1,786 hectares. The average annual production is around 65,000 Hl, of which 15% is destined for international export. They are considerable figures, especially considering the high competition of the sector and the proximity of other denominations like Penedés or Priorat.
Flavors that fall in love
Under the Empordà label we find a wide variety of flavors and varieties. Overall, 60% of the production corresponds to red wine, 19% to white, 17% to rosé and only 4% to sweet wines. On the contrary, the wines of this area are justly known for the production of Garnatxa and Moscatell. They are very sweet wines, highly recommended as dessert.
Among the more than 200 winegrowers that group this denomination, we find a great diversity of producers. For example, Castell de Calonge stands out as a small winery that produces very limited productions. This allows them to offer an original and high quality wine, following traditional ecological methods.
Tourism of quality wine
The revival of the wines of the Empordà is closely linked to its history, but also to its present. In the last years, the public administration, the local entities and the own warehouses have woven a quality wine tourism. The coincidence of the Costa Brava and the proximity of the Pyrenees make this area a strategic tourist space. Thus, we find routes from almost all tourist points, which connect with museums, charming villages, historic sites and even beaches.
On the other hand, many wineries offer activities open to the public, many of them free. Thus, we will be able to know how they make the wine, attend tastings or even participate in the grape harvest. In some cases, such as the Empordàlia of Vilajuïga cooperative, we can also taste local products. Here we will also find the oil of Pau, elaborated in the same municipality. Like the wines, it is of high quality and we can buy it at a very attractive price.
Without a doubt, the months of August, September and October are the best to visit this area. These are the months of harvest and of greater activity. With the arrival of autumn the vineyards take on brown and pink tones before losing the leaves.
On the other hand, in Figueras (capital of Alt Empordà) takes place the annual fair of the “Mostra del Vi“. It takes place the first or second week of September and hosts the majority of producers of this zone. It is a good opportunity to know and taste these wines and encourage them to do some of these routes.
If you want to know more information about the wineries, do not forget to visit the website of the Regulating Council Denomination Empordà.