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The varieties from Terra Alta (I): The White Grenache

garnatxa blanca verema

We look back to the year 1647 to find the first written document about the White Grenache from the Father Onofre Català; and it was collected by the Father Manyà in the book "Notes d’Història de Gandesa" (1962). In this writing, it clearly mentions that ""vernatxa"(white variety) has been planted on one of the farms belonging to the parish of Gandesa”. Throughout the Mediterranean area, several authors refer to the variety in his literary work long before Father Onofre Català; such as Eiximenis a Catalan author who refers to it in his work "Lo Crestià" (1385); however, although no one knows for sure if they refer to the same variety, but they defined these wines as dry, white and liquor wines.

Nowadays, White Grenache and Terra Alta form an inseparable binomial which have carved a niche to international markets, thanks to several motives listed then. The White Grenache represents 22% of total production in Terra Alta that represents more than 90% of White Grenache in Catalonia and it is said that it represents a third part of the world's production from this variety.

An important fact which explains the good adaptation of White Grenache in Terra Alta is the climatology which is Mediterranean with continental influences, abundant sunshine, scarce rainfall and cold winters. There are two particularities, on the one hand, the balance between the two prevailing winds and on the other hand the large temperature variation between day and night during summers. All these characteristics make the plants fit in smoothly and have excellent ripeness.

The characteristics of White Grenache in the field are:

Vigorous plant and an average production.

Very resistant to drought, heat and adapts to non-very fertile and rocky lands.

Very resistant to the wind.

Sensitive to excess of moisture and being waterlogged.

Sensitive to poor fruit set of flowers.

Medium bunch, medium and small grain with thin skin.

Sensitive to the grape worm, mildew and botrytis.

Shortly sensitive to powdery mildew and mites.

However, the behaviour in cellar is:

Sensitive to oxidation.

It produces alcoholic wines.

It has medium-low acidity (increases in cold climates).

Suitable for aging due to good evolution.

Straw yellow or golden yellow, depending on the type of elaboration.

Aromas of medium intensity, floral, fruity and herbaceous notes.

Flavour: persistent and full-bodied.

In short, this is a rustic variety in fields and delicate during winemaking. In glass it is a variety which is not highlighted for its intense smell, but it is by its intense and structured palate and its complexity, as well as a good aptitude for aging.

The DO Terra Alta also identifies the bottles with a quality seal that are made with one hundred percent of White Grenache which exceeds 80 points out of 100 rating on the tasting panel.

segell cent per cent garnatxa blanca

Grenaches du Monde 2017

Terra Alta won seventeen medals, 11 gold medals, 3 silver medals and 3 bronze medals. The awarded wines from Terra Alta in the 5th edition of the International Competition Grenaches du Monde 2017 are:

Gold Medal:

EDETÀRIA SELECCIÓ NEGRE

Ratings by Robert Parker: The wines of Terra Alta scores more than 90 points

Robert ParkerRobert Parker is considered one of the most influencer wine critics around the world with his own bimensual publication called "The Wine Advocate". He and his collaborators every two months publish the scores of an specific wine region and in the same time these regions don't be repeated or renewed after a year. So, this year the scores from Terra Alta have exceeded 90 points are:

 

93 Parker pointsComa d'en Pou 2013 - Celler Bàrbara Forés

93 Parker pointsLa Personal 2013 - Edetària

93 Parker pointsLa Serra Blanc 2015 - Herència Altés

93 Parker pointsLa Serra Negre 2015 - Herència Altés

93 Parker pointsFinca Morenillo 2013 - Celler Piñol

92 Parker: Abrisa't 2014 - Bàrbara Forés

92 Parker points: El Templari 2014 - Bàrbara Forés

92 Parker pointsEdetària Selecció Blanc 2013 - Edetària

92 Parker pointsFinca La Pedrissa 2013 - Edetària

92 Parker pointsLa Peluda 2015 - Herència Altés

92 Parker pointsLa Serra Blanc 2014 - Herència Altés

92 Parker pointsMather Teresina 2011 - Celler Piñol

92 Parker points: L'Avi Arrufí Blanc 2013 - Celler Piñol

* Photo: www.erobertparker.com

29th Terra Alta Wine Fair in Gandesa

The 29th edition of this fair is ready to start next Friday 28th until Sunday 30th.

festa del vi 2016The most important activities of this edition are the Night of White Grenaches takes place in the modernist winery in Gandesa. Besides on Friday at 7:30PM the prizes from DO TERRA ALTA wine contest will be given in the building of “Societat Unió Gandesana” next to carp’s fair. There will be music performances by MR Highland band on Friday and the Young Wine Party in Elàstica Club & Lounge.

There are many activities scheduled for wine lovers like the activity that ViOrigen prepared specially the activity consists in a blind wine tasting of indigenous varieties like White Grenache, Dark Grenache, Morenillo and Carignan. You can book here. If you are interested in other kind of activities you can visit this page: WINE TOURISM IN TERRA ALTA.

In the winery stalls you can find new wine releases like “Llàgrimes de Tardor Garnatxa” from Sant Josep Wines or “Il·lusió Negre” from Xavier Clua Winery.

Have a nice Wine Fair in Terra Alta!

ViOrigen awarded in the 2nd Wine tourism Night of Catalonia

ViOrigen premis enoturisme Catalunya

Last Tuesday 26th of July took place the 2nd Wine tourism Night of Catalonia in the Wine Cathedral in El Pinell de Brai close to Gandesa in Terra Alta. The event was organized Agència Catalana de Turisme, Departament d’Empresa i Coneixement and INCAVI which was presided by the Minister of “Empresa i Coneixement” Mr Jordi Baiget and Secretary Mr Joan Aregio and the Tourism General Director Mr Octavi Bono. The night began with White Grenache wines from Terra Alta and a dramatization that takes us to the early of the twentieth century. After that began the awards ceremony to deliver the prizes to the seven awarded companies by this time:

- Accommodations: Cava & Hotel Mastinell

- Restaurants: El Cigró d’Or

- Art and Culture: Tastavins Penedès

- Wineries: Heretat Mas Oller

- Travel agencies: ViOrigen

- Sustainable practices: La Gravera

- Public institutions: Patronat de Turisme Girona – Costa Brava

You can find much more information about the other winners in the previous post 2nd Wine tourism Night of Catalonia.

The night ended with caterers from Restaurant Villa Retiro accompanied with wines of different catalan DO’s, and we also had the opportunity to exchange several point of views with different professionals of Catalan wine tourism sector.

In addition, we would like to reiterate once again our thanks to those companies and organizations that have collaborated with us from the beginning and to all customers as well.

Thank you very much!

2nd Wine Tourism Night of Catalonia

Enoturisme CatalunyaTuesday, the 26th of July comes the 2nd Wine Tourism Night of Catalonia in the Wine Cathedral in Pinell de Brai in Terra Alta.

In this 2nd edition is going to be presided by the minister of "Empresa i Coneixement" Mr Jordi Baiget and the minister of "Agricultura" Mrs Meritxell Serret.

This event aims to be the Meeting point for the wine tourism industry in Catalonia.

 This year the awards will be divided into seven categories for the following companies:

- Specialized travel agencies and wine tourism activities: ViOrigen (Gandesa, Terra Alta).

- Restaurants: Cigró d'Or (Vilafranca del Penedès, l’Alt Penedès).

- Accommodation: Cava & Hotel Mastinell (Vilafranca del Penedès, l’Alt Penedès).

- Art and Culture: Tastavins Penedès (Vilafranca del Penedès, l’Alt Penedès).

- Wineries: Heretat Oller del Mas (Manresa, Bages).

- Public entities: Patronat de Turisme Costa Brava Girona.

- Wine tourism sustainable practices: La Gravera (Alfarràs, Segrià).

The wine tourism in Terra Alta during Easter

ENOTURISME SETMANA SANTA TERRA ALTAEaster has past. In recent years, these holidays have become in days of high influx of visitors in Terra Alta. The rains before Easter have caused spring-like landscape and the high temperatures during Easter has allowed us to enjoy these amazing days to do all kind of activities. In addition of good temperatures we have to highlight the increasing leisure in the county which is offered during these days. We have the “Passion of Vilalba” as a reference, a well-known event which offers a plenty of activities every year. We have the Greenway as a main sporty attraction and infrastructures that are developing from this trail, for example an old wagon has been restored as a bar next to Bot.

In the middle of this leisure that every year increase we can find the tourism dedicated to wine, wine tourism which is making a place among leisure in Terra Alta. Although it is not a leisure of season last Easter has been a great test of wine tourism in Terra Alta. As an evidences we have a great variety of activities such as: Wine tasting of Passion in Vilalba, Spring Wine Tasting from Bàrbara Forés winery, the Vi-Bo(t)-Jazz, several visitors around the different cellars in Terra Alta and of course the activities organized by ViOrigen between Friday until Monday of the last Easter.

Considering the high participation, the satisfaction of the visitors from all over and the interest to discover what lies behind our wines we think that we have a hopeful future as a wine zone, not only for the quality of wines, but also as a magnet for wine tourism. A tourism that add to the other tourism offer based in landscapes attractions, gastronomy, history and cultural from Terra Alta.

To turn wine tourism into a clear commitment we think that we have to move forward in the articulation of a whole range of quality. In order to make a visit as an experience that leave a mark to the visitor linking emotionally the wine to our environment.

ViOrigen visits Chile

santa cruzLast November Josep Vicens (Celler Josep Vicens) and Jordi Navarro (ViOrigen) made a trip along several wine regions in Chile. We visited various wineries from V Región de Valparaiso, VI Región del Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins and VII Región del Maule.

The route runs from north to south, the first stop was in Valle de Casablanca located in V Región de Valparaiso. The zone is formed by different valleys where the vineyards occupied a surface of more than 6.000 ha. Due to the influence of cold sea currents it benefits from cooler temperatures and morning fog during a lot of days and for this reason the vines receive less sunlight. These climatic characteristics make that the better adapted varieties are Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.

The first cellar that we visited in Valle de Casablanca was Bodegas RE where we had the pleasure to be attended by the oenologist and owner Pablo Morandé Jr who is the son of very well-known Chilean oenologist with the same name who pioneered winemaking in the county of Casablanca. Pablo showed us the winery and then tasted altogether ten different wines. Meanwhile we were tasting wines Pablo also was explaining the philosophy about the new project RE which we were helped to context different wines. REinvent, REdiscover and REthink the way to do it. As a ground-breaking project in the zone Pablo breaks out of the traditional making wines French style way and bet to be swayed by what he believes. In this way, he bets for co-fermentations that allows him to make his own wines like Pinnotel (Pinot Noir + Moscatel = Muscat in English), Chardonnoir (Chardonnay + Pinot Noir), Cabernnang (Cabernet + Carignan), Syranoir (Syrah + Pinot Noir)... All the wines have personality.

The second stop in Valle de Casablanca was at Viña Casas del Bosque, close to the city of Casablanca. We received by Luis Vázquez who is the manager of tourism, he showed us the winery above a wood platform located among the vineyards which allows us to see the different plots around the cellar. The varieties much more important are Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir but also they are producing wines from other dark varieties which it brings from plots located to the south from the cellar. The buildings destined to wine tourism highlights by their importance, availability, diversity and quality. Actually, this winery was awarded as the best winery to visit in Chile among other recognitions by his wine tourism quality in 2010. We can find a playground among the vineyards close to resting zone with beds and sofas. We also can find a great restaurant, a big tasting room, a stylish shop, and other tasting private rooms. After visiting processing building, Luis made us move to a tasting room. One of them highlighted above the others, the excellent Sauvignon Blanc Gran Reserva very intense and expressive because of 7-days macerating between 0-1ºC.

valle colchaguaAfter visits in Valle de Casablanca, we went to the south through Camino de la Fruta we arrived in Valle de Colchagua (VI Región del Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins). We could accommodate in the city of Santa Cruz which is the heart of the wine industry in the area. The Colchagua Valley is located about 150 km to the south of Santiago de Chile and runs from east to west, from Andes to Pacific Ocean with different floor types and specific microclimates but in general the frequent varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Malbec and Carménère, today the last one typically Chilean it was rediscovered in Chile in 1994 after 140 years later confused by Merlot.

A few kilometres from the city we visited Viña Santa Cruz. We were impressed by the gardens full of colourful flowers among the vines which in spring paints the valley in green around the winery installations: restaurant, shop and the cellar. Before visiting the winery we rode on cable car until the hills from the plot to visit three Chilean town recreations of ancient cultures such as Mapuche, Aymara and the Rapa Nui culture. A part of this magnificent outdoors museum, in the same hill, the cellar has an observatory called Cerro Chamán where takes place astronomical tourism activities. One of the guides, Christian was waiting us who showed us the winery to end in aging room where we tasted three of their wines. To highlight   Chamán Malbec Gran Reserva 2013  which is in his optimum consumption time.

The next cellar to visit in Colchagua is Viu Manent one of the historical wineries from Chile which we also were impressed by first sight for all its installations (equestrian, restaurant, pub, tasting rooms, terrace and garden of varieties). We were received very nice by Mr Freddy Grez, the tourism manager of the winery. First of all, he made a brief summary in a museum room next to reception. Then, outdoors a carriage with two horses was waiting for us for a stroll among the vineyards while Freddy was explaining the particularities of management field. We stopped at production area to taste a Syrah wine just before bottling. Freddy told us the different wine tourism proposals that they offer: regular tours, private tours, the experience of “oenologist for one day”, the harvest, etc). Finally, we entered in a magnificent tasting room where we enjoyed tasting five excellent wines to highlight: Carménère Gran Reserva 2013, El Olivar Alto (Syrah) and Viu 1 2011 (Malbec).

Following the discovery of excellent wineries from Colchagua Valley we visited Lapostolle, concretely Clos Apalta winery, an exclusive cellar where only Clos Apalta of Lapostolle is elaborated there. We really liked the scenery around the cellar, we went on a road decorated by colourful flowers through large vineyards. We found the entrance of the winery in the top of the hill because the cellar is dug into the hill.  The winery has 6 floors dug into the rock which allows to work with gravity. The first floor is dedicated to reception and stemmed of the grapes, the stemmed is grain by grain fully manual. The grains send to the -1 floor where there are oak vats where fermentation takes place. At -2 and -3 is dedicated to aging.  The -4th floor there is the bottled wine and in the -5th floor takes place labelling and shipping. High technology at the serve of the quality and an extreme selection of the best grains to achieve an excellent and exclusive product Clos Apalta 2011 which we could taste it thanks to Diego Urra.

The last winery that we visited in Colchagua was Viña Montes, another benchmark in the area. A great experience with biodynamic agriculture and a very careful treatment of the fruit in the cellar which make this winery produces great wines recognized worldwide. The outdoors (Picnic zone, restaurant, pub and terrace) and indoors (tasting rooms, aging room, shop and elaboration area) are tourist attraction by themselves. We finished the visit with a tasting of five wines to highlight Montes Alpha M-2011 (Icon: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot), Montes Folly 2012 (Icon: Syrah) and a magnificent Purple Angel 2013 (Icon: Carménère and Petit Verdot).

The last stop in this Chilean wine route was in VII Región del Maule, concretely in Valle de Curicó where there are 20.000 ha of vineyards.  Even found a few kilometres from Colchagua this zone much more industrialized has got a lot of differences about wines production and derivatives. Among the thirty five different varieties we can find two of them very representative: Sauvignon Blanc (4700 ha) and Cabernet Sauvignon (5400 ha).

In this area we visited Viña Echeverría a winery with more than 130 years of history in Valle de Curicó that it retains a plenty of old vines and is characterized by quality sparkling wines production and other excellent wines. The visit was made by Víctor, one of the two oenologist of the winery who came from Valencia four years ago. First he showed the vines around the cellar, then elaboration area where he shows the stainless steel tank pressure to elaborate the sparkling wines by Charmat technique. We are surprised by the fact that they are export the 90% of the production to a large number of countries. It greatly affects to the expedition logistics of the cellar and we can see in the rooms where they save the bottled wines with all types of bottles, labels with several languages. We finished the visit with tasting of its sparkling wine Moscato Frizzante 2013.

In summary this travel along some main wine production areas from Chile has meant a great chance to know the way to work the countryside, the way to work in wineries, the quality of their wines and above all theirs wine tourism offering. This last one has been the most surprising, we found a very powerful wine tourism industry with a large range of quality and varied: museums among the vineyards, picnic zones, playgrounds, restaurants, tasting rooms, cable car, carriage walking, variety of activities, etc, all well-developed infrastructure that works by itself as an important tourist attraction in central Chile.

ViOrigen enrolls to “Catalonia 2016 European Region of Gastronomy and Wine Tourism”

Catalunya 2016 Regio Europea de la Gastronomia i enoturismeThe project European Region of Gastronomy is promoted by Platform of European regions an is managed by International Institue of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts and Tourism, it was born in march of 2015 and its purpose is to highlight and promote that regions of Europe that collaborates to improve the citizen’s life highlighting the different food cultures, Health education, sustainability and gastronomic innovation.

So, Catalonia and portuguese region of Minho have been the first to obtain this recognition.

We're aware about the importance of wine and olive oil in mediterranean and catalan cuisine along of centuries and also we’re excited about this enrollment because it gives us the opportunity to offer our activities and experiencies about wine tourism to European people.

See you there!

MEETING PLACE ROUTES

mapa
PARKING HOTEL PIQUÉ
Av Vía Catalunya, 68
43780, Gandesa
Tarragona

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