A dissertation on Priorat when sitting his MW exams, landed Liam Steevenson in Priorat, a region in the heart of Catalonia for a summer. The red wines of that region enthralled, but a thirst for white was quenched by some incredible white Grenache from the little known Terra Alta region up above. A spark was ignited, an ambition to make wine there born…
Terra Alta sits is the most southern D.O. in the Catalonia region of northern Spain. The vineyards are at high altitude, and had long been forgotten, abandoned like in the neighbouring region of Priorat. The renaissance has been slower to come, however only isolation prevented the world from seeing the potential of this incredible land.
The El Garbi project was Liam’s long term ambition to tell the story of this historic winemaking region. The Garbi is the Arab wind that blows Terra Alta and therefore our vineyards plays a vital role in ventilating the canopy and bringing warmth to the high altitude sites.
El Garbi 2018 – 91 points
‘Leesy, intense and very lightly wooded, it has grapefruit and lemon peel flavours, a dusting of baking spices, stony minerality and top notes of jasmine and hawthorn blossom.’
El Garbi 2018
From 30 year old vines growing at high altitude Garnacha Blanca ripens to perfection, developing lifted apricot and white stone fruit notes. The weight of fruit on the palate is tempered by the oak; 100% new from the finest Boutes tonneliers in Bordeaux, adding a spicy complexity and structure to the already phenolic nature of the wine.
Garacha Blanca has a reputation for richness and opulence. At this altitude with acidity retained, this wine shows an incredible minerality, giving the wine unexpected elegance and an ability to age in bottle.
The grapes, previously destemmed, are then gently pressed. This gentle pressing sees us extract only 50% (approximately) of all the juice available. The fermentation and ageing take place in top quality 500l French oak barrels. Ageing on lees for 5-6 months post-fermentation, helps build both texture and aromatic interest into our Garnacha Blanca. To ensure that we have sufficient blending material to deliver the complexity that is the hallmark of el Garbi, these barrels range from new through to three years old. After four years they are transferred across the cellar to help in the maturation of el Garbi Tinto.
Textured and long on the palate with flavours of toasted brioche, fennel and aniseed. Aromas of apricot, golden delicious apple and subtle baking spices.
- Alcohol: 14%
- Residual Sugar: <0.5g/l
- Total Acidity: 6.5g/l
El Garbi Tinto 2019
Garnacha fruit is sourced primarily from old vines in the Davall vineyard and is picked early (for 2019 the 5th of September), to ensure acid and perfume are retained. We like this site as it gives grapes of a little more tannic depth and drive whilst still delivering the fruit purity that is essential to the style of wine we want to make.
Terra Alta is not as well known as it should be, but this has nothing to do with the potential of the region rather it is the result of a stylistic hangover that sees too much Garnacha picked late, thereby reducing the opportunity for the elegance inherent in this variety to shine. This late-picking is then often followed by heavy-handed extraction techniques in the winery which produces blowsy, jammy wines that are the antithesis of the Garnacha wines we like to drink.
Instead, we have built structure into this wine through daily pumping over and maturation in French oak (3rd fill) that adds a touch of extra tannin and some subtle spice. However the star of the show is the variety, and we treat Garnacha with the respect its winsome attributes warrant.
Refreshing, direct and juicy, the 2019 is both delicious and affordable, displaying the aromatic effusiveness that sees Garnacha acting as the Mediterranean’s answer to Pinot.
- Alcohol: 13.5%
- Residual Sugar: <0.5g/l
- Total Acidity: 5.9g/l