News…..

The wines of Bulli-land
31 Aug 2009 by Jancis Robinson
« Having spent quite a substantial part of 21 consecutive summers in the  western Languedoc, we are finding ourselves straying south of the  Spanish border with increasing frequency – mainly to enjoy the much  more varied and sophisticated food that’s available there.  Cassoulet  v El Bulli acolytes sprinkled liberally over the Costa Brava basically  – not much of a contest.  See, for example, Richard Neville’s recent  review of  Ca l’Enric in Your views.

The wines made in the very far north-eastern corner of Spain, in the  DO Empordà, have also been improving quite considerably. This steep,  traditionally terraced, often schistous wine country on the  Mediterranean coast is only just over the border from Banyuls in  Roussillon, and in parts the rocks look not unlike the llicorella of  Priorat, and are far from a million miles from those of the Agly Valley.

The most impressive wine I have come across from this part of the  world is the first vintage of a new enterprise, S’Alqueria 2006  Empordà. Ivo Pagès, pictured here wearing the traditional Catalan  baratina (described by him as having a similar status as a kilt in  Scotland) at a wedding,

Ivo

was brought up in the wild hills, mainly  National Park, in the hinterland of Cadaquès, just round a rocky  headland from El Bulli. With experience from wineries all over Europe,  he began work on older vineyards in his homeland and this is the  result.  It is the most sophisticated blend of very old Samsó (Carignan) and Grenache Noir from Rabos, and 18-year-old Petit Verdot  and old Macabeo from Villajuiga. The result is a 13.5% subtle red  blend with considerable minerality and a whiff of the sea. It’s not  cheap, alas.  Planet of the Grapes in London want £37.50 for a bottle.  Also in London, Philglas & Swiggot are listed as stockists on Pagès  information-rich website in four languages. But the wine is certainly  classed-growth standard, and really distinctive. It’s also on the list  at restaurants such as The Greenhouse Restaurant* UMU* and Pied à Terre**,  apparently. Look out for a new style of red he is developing in tandem  with this most serious wine.

Ivo’s top new restaurant tip in his area, by the way is the Miramar in  Port Llanca which now has an ex Bulli chef installed.  We have had two  excellent lunches at the slightly more traditional Els Pescadores right on the marina where the sommelier is a delight. »

Jancis…thanks for your support and the people I work with: growers, wholesalers, restaurants, retail shops…. They had the guts tom buy my wine without knowing me, or with any media support. they just liked it  and that’s the beauty. It just confort me on the quality potential of wines from Emporda D.O.

Follow Jancis Robinson’s news on wine and food: JancisRobinson.com, for people who love good wine

S'alqueria- Single photo - copie

IVO

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