On a somewhat overcast and dreich Wednesday, Goretti and I set off for Figures and on to Alt Emporda on a fact finding mission.  We’re putting together a proposal for a tour operator that specialises in gastronomic guided holidays.   Small exclusive groups that want to sample the authentic food and culture of the places they visit, staying in places offering comfort and charm.

We’d been given the name of the celler (vineyard) we were heading for, although neither of us had heard of it, never mind drunk the wine.  The final few kilometers took us through some pretty inauspicious countryside, not helped by the inclement weather.

With the help of a cheery local and armed with directions to our destination we found the entrance, well ordered with new timber fence and large sign….’Terra Remota’….Remote Land.  The name kind of fitted the bill as the place was a bit off the beaten track.   But the remainder was full of surprises.

As we drove the short distance off the main road along the dirt farm track the vines opened around us, relatively small ordered fields, each marked with a name, Emma, Miquel, Béa etc. and the corresponding grape, syrah, granache, their borders broken by stands of pines.   Then as we looked to our left there lay the edifice of the celler itself.   Sleek, flat, battleship grey and quietly brutal.  It looked like some secret military installation or the layer of a Bond villan and yet with its low profile set below the skyline of the hill around it, it blended into the the landscape.

 

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We entered through a glass door into what I guess you would call the sampling room.   Cardboard cases of wine stacked neatly with notes on the wines on offer.  We were greeted warmly by our host Osban who instructed us to meet him on the uppermost level of the celler.  We climbed the ramp adjacent to the side of the building with the vines stretching out in the fields below.  At the top we were confronted by a long, large iron door set against the grey concrete of the structure.  To the side of the door was the flat roof of the floor below, covered with green flowering vegetation.  Osban immediately laid out the mission statement of the celler which is to produce, ecological good quality vine in as natural a manner as possible in a way that compliments the natural environment.

As we entered the building one half expected to be met by Auric Goldfinger.  Below us on both sides were lines of the 10,000l fermentation vats.  Here again energy and environmental considerations are uppermost as gravity is used wherever possible to move grapes or wine.  The interior concrete sarcophagus provides an ideal environment to hold the wine as it develops and ultimately you are led down to the bottling area and ultimately the space beyond where some of the red wines are matured in french oak barrels.

And so we were led up through a narrow passage back to where we started in the sampling room and on to the tasting.   And honestly, nothing disappointed.  Both the white, ‘Caminante’ and the rosé, ‘Caminito’ were crisp and dry the latter for me with strawberries and rasps to taste.  The first red, ‘Camino’ was round and dry but  the second, ‘Clos Adrien’ was a total winner.  More legs than a Robert Palmer video with fantastic body and dry tannins.

So for about 32€ per person you can have 4 hour tour followed by a hearty picnic among the wines.  My kind of idea of perfect day out.  And Terra Remota is well worth the visit and the wines to be sampled.  And I think we’ll be including some of the wines here at La Rectoria.

larectoria@larectoriadesantmiquel.com

http://www.larectoriadesantmiquel.com