Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Empordà, do in the extreme north east corner of Spanish cataluña separated from roussillon only by the French border (see maps under spain and france). The zone has a long history of wine production, which was nearly extinguished when phylloxera swept through the vineyards in the 1900s. Many of the terraces that climb the low foothills of the Pyrenees were never replanted. The climate is mediterranean, although strong year-round winds protect the vineyards from frost and vine diseases, but can subject vines without windbreaks to severe stress. Empordà used to produce heavy rancios, sometimes called Garnatxa, the Catalan name for the grenache grape. This vine variety and Cariñena (carignan) still account for 80% of production, although for long they were mostly turned into bulk rosé for the local market. Inspired by the quality-conscious Castillo de Perelada estate however, smaller producers such as Mas Estela, Masia Serra, and Mas Oller have significantly changed the perception of a region that used to be known as Empordà-Costa Brava.