DO Empordà. Wine regulating council


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The tradition of wine production in the Empordà is over 2000 years old. The vineyards of the Empordà, amongst the oldest in Catalonia, were first planted by the Greeks, developed by the Romans, consolidated definitively by Benedictine monks and, throughout all this time have, always been maintained and improved by the dedication and work of the vine-growers in the region.

The production area of the Empordà DO, located in the far north east of Catalonia, encapsulates 55 municipalities spread across two districts. Empordà has two geographically distinct areas: Alt Empordà with 35 municipalities and Baix Empordà with 20.

The production area of Alt Empordà is in the far north east of Catalonia (stretching northwards from the city of Figueres to the French border). It is protected by the slopes of the Sierra de Rodes and the Las Alberas Mountain Ranges, starting in Cap de Creus and spreading in an arch-like form to Garrotxa d’Empordà (Albanyà).

The Baix Empordà production area borders the Montgrí Massif in the north, the Gavarres Massif in the southwest — that forms a coastal plane with the Begur Massif — and with the Mediterranean to the east.

SOIL AND CLIMATE: Natural factors contribute to a favourable environment for the production of exceptional wines in the Empordà. The proximity of the Mediterranean and the Pyrenees produces a climate with very strong contrasts, which is characterized by a high amount of sunshine, a low level of rainfall, and a strong and frequent North wind (the Tramontana). Winters are mild and summers are warm, although both are moderated by the action of sea breezes.

The soil is mainly sandy in texture, and usually quite acid. We have to differentiate between the mountainous areas, dominated by granite and slate, and the areas on the plain.

With regards the red varieties, Carignan or Samsó is prevalent, forming the basis of Empordà viniculture, together with Garnacha Tinta (known in Empordà as Lledoner). These traditional varieties are complemented by new ones that are being introduced: Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah.

The most popular white varieties are White Garnacha, Grey Garnacha and Macabeo. Muscat, Xarel.lo and recently planted Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Gewürztraminer grapes are also grown, but to a much lesser extent.

The Control Board, in charge of ensuring that rules and regulations for production and winemaking processes are implemented, guarantees the origin and quality of Empordà DO wines. It also promotes technical research with a focus on improving the quality of winemaking.

Likewise, the Control Board carries out marketing activities for the DO wines.

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