I was kindly invited by Devino Catas to give a wine tasting at Celler Brugarol in Palamós (Girona) on 29th September 2013. The reason for that was to introduce some Catalan wines from Empordà to a group of international recognized bloggers who were travelling invited by a governmental office.
The venue was great. We were at the entrance of Celler Brugarol with its fantastic architecture, surrounded by vines. The day, despite the forecast was rain, it was sunny and shinning. With twelve wines to taste and two hours of delay, we started the wine tasting as it follows:
- Mar 2011 (Picapoll and Malvasía) by Celler Mas Oller (Torrent)
- Amic Clos d’Agon 2012 (Garnacha blanca, Macabeu, Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne) by Clos d’Agon (Calonge)
- Bell-lloc 2011 (Xarel.lo, small grain Muscat and Malvasía) by Celler Brugarol
- CTÒNIA 2012 (Garnacha blanca) by Celler Masía Serra (Cantallops)
- Clos d’Agon MO 2010 (Roussanne, Viognier and Marsanne) by Clos d’Agon
- Pur 2011 (Syrah, Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon) by Celler Mas Oller
- Bell-lloc 2009 (Lledoner, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Samsó) by Celler Brugarol
- Bell-lloc 2008 (Lledoner, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Samsó)
- Amic Clos d’Agon 2011 (Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah)
- AROA 2008 (Garnacha and Marselan) by Celler Masía Serra
- Clos d’Agon MO 2008 (Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Merlot)
- INO (Garnacha roja –a grape variety different of the Garnacha tinta) by Celler Masía Serra.Personally, the wines I liked the most were:
- Bell-lloc 2011: it reminds me the wines taken directly from the butt with a Sherry dipper, tasted with my friend Manel in Montilla last spring. Flavorsome and thick.
- Bell-lloc 2008: strange flavor. It needs to be decanted, where it improves a lot. Deep and smooth.
- Aroa 2008: strong personality marked for the Empordà traditional grape variety.
- Clos d’Agon MO 2008: delicate and thin.
- INO: great personality in a sweet wine made of a blending of the vintages 94, 97, 00, 03, 06 and 2008 plus a 5% of the mother barrel dated 1860.
Regardless my personal opinion, it is good to state the differences of style among the ancient wines made in this area and the ones that are produced nowadays.
Lledoner (Garnacha) and Samsó (Cariñena) were the main traditional red grape varieties. Garnacha blanca and Macabeu (Viura) were the white ones. The majority of grape varieties authorized by the D.O. Empordà (funded in 2006), and some experimental ones were not allowed thirty years before, when the production was ruled by the Regulatory Council of D.O. Ampurdán-Costa Brava (1975). That is, some cellars have continued the production with the traditional grape varieties while others have started to experiment with foreign grape varieties, mixing them with the traditional ones or just using them in their own way. This will bring in the coming future a complex and rich panorama. Some of the new grape varieties and blending will be successful and they will become traditional, while others will disappear. In any case, D.O. Empordà hardly will get worldwide recognition with an area under vine near to 2.000 hectares and a total yield near to 80.000 hectolitres unless they manage to develop a deep understanding of their soils, climate and grape varieties, and be able to project a consistent image. Meanwhile, some wineries will stand on their own right.
Keeping these technical issues aside, I enjoyed the day a lot. Celler Brugarol is sited at the Finca Bell-lloc, a cosy rural hotel run for nice people. They work organic. Meat, cheese, honey, sausages, jam, vegetables… are made by them! I enjoyed a lovely food with my friend and sommelier Carlos Córdoba, among other people. Everything was very tasty and very simple. Just great.