Historically, the great economic engine of D.O. Empordà has been and still is Perelada. Many other wineries have looked up to them. Although it produces a wide range of wines, from the more linear and competitive ones to the those that are more exclusive, such as Finca Garbet, the Finca Malaveïna or the Ex Ex collection, among others, it also offers wines made with native varieties, such as the Red and White Grenache, Samsó, etc. However, more than the numerical weight of the wine variety, we must point out the effort made by this winery to halt the progressive decline suffered by the area's image, as a land of bulk wines, where the few bottled wines were oxidised, and others were not too marketable. It is safe to say that Perelada lead the way and marked the new path of the Empordà wines.
Since time immemorial, vines have been cultivated in this area of the north-eastern end of the peninsula, bordering the French Roussillon. Some say that the first vine growers in the area were the Greeks, others say that they were the Romans. However, most agree that the influence of the monks of the Monastery of Sant Pere de Roda played an essential part in vine cultivation and winemaking.
Its most recent documented winemaking history refers to the 15th century. The historical, cultural and commercial epicentre of the area mainly comprised the ancient castle of the Rocabertí, destroyed by a fire in 1285, and rebuilt during the 14th century outside the walls of the town of Perelada. Next to it rises the Carmelite convent, with the church Iglesia del Carmen, inside which we can find one of the few Gothic cloisters of Catalonia. It was precisely the Carmelite monks who built the wineries of the convent, with the commitment to produce wine for the County of Perelada.
Miguel Mateu bought this monumental complex in 1923. His father, Damián Mateu, co-founder of car brand Hispano-Suiza, started him in the business world. Miguel soon became passionate about the world of wine, and he decided to re-found the winery Bodega del Castillo Perelada, recovering a secular tradition that dates back to the 14th century.
But apart from this, Miguel Mateu would also develop a political vocation that would lead him to be the Mayor of Barcelona and the Ambassador of Spain in Paris. Throughout his life, all these activities led him to meet countless internationally renowned public figures, from both the political and cultural spheres. In the world of art and culture specifically, he excelled in an extraordinary way, and his admirable sensitivity to artistic forms of the most diverse nature made him one of the greatest collectors of his time. He turned Perelada into his private art centre, gathering his collections of glass, paintings, ceramics, etc. Among them is the majestic library/archive, with more than 80,000 volumes, documentation from the 9th century, 200 incunabula and 800 executorships of nobility, and the most important Cervantine collection, with more than 1000 editions of Don Quixote.
This way, and over the years, he gave shape to the museum Museo del Castillo, which has currently been opened to the public. As time went by, his son-in-law, Arturo Suqué, took over Perelada after the death of his father-in-law, Miguel Mateu, in 1972. Today he continues to be the chair of the company, although the day-to-day of the winery is headed by his son, Javier Suqué Mateu. During these decades, the Suqué-Mateu family has carried out a deep transformation, based on their concern for quality, with a fundamental objective: to produce top-quality wines and to place Perelada among the most prestigious wineries in the country.
Perelada is a large, important winery. It produces a wide and complete line of wines, so its production facilities are an example of the latest winery technology, where there is nothing missing, and state-of-the-art oenological technology as well. However, a great part of its work philosophy lies in the fields, in the vineyards and in the vines. Therefore, Perelada own several vineyard plots located in different areas, on different soils and with several microclimates within D.O. Empordà.
Among them we can point out the farm Pont de Molins, of 38 hectares. Its ground is laid out flat, it soils are sandy and with a slight content of silt. Here they cultivate the varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Tempranillo, Chardonnay and Syrah, planted since 1989.
Another of its model farms is the Malaveïna, located in the town of Garriguella, with 19 hectares of vineyards planted on red clay slopes, with the presence of boulders, which favour drainage. Perelada makes a wine from this farm.
La Garriga is perhaps the farm with the most sun exposure. It has 41 hectares and it is located in Mollet de Perelada, of flat land, silty clay, with sand and gravel, and of neutral pH. Here is where the oldest vines of Perelada are found: Grenache and Carignan that are over 50 years old, although Chardonnay, Maccabeu, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Tempranillo, Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, White Carignan and Sauvignon Blanc are also planted here. They also have a testing plot of one hectare, where they check the adjustment of different experimental varieties and rootstocks to Empordà. It was put into service in 1992. Here they study the influence that factors such as harvesting at different times of ripeness, cultivation soil, sun exposure, irrigation optimisation, etc. have on the final result. The conclusions drawn from these experiences are the basis on which Perelada design the wines of the future. Currently, here they have planted several white varieties. Their adjustment to the geophysical and climate conditions of the Empordà is being tested as an experiment. As a result of this experimentation plots, Castillo Perelada also started a microvinification winery in which oenologists can make extremely limited editions of experimental wines. Some of the wines produced over the years for this research project have proved to be of exceptional quality and personality, as well as unique, since they belong to a specific harvest and they have specific unrepeatable conditions, which are often impossible to reproduce on a large scale. This is where the Ex Ex (Exceptional Experiences) collection comes from. A series of limited edition wines with a booklet where all the details of its production are explained.
Finca Garbet is one of its last winemaking bets and the crown jewel. It has 12 hectares located in Colera, on the shores of the Mediterranean sea, to the north of Cap de Creus. It is planted on mountainous terrain with slate composition, making cultivation on terraces necessary. The sea reinforces its sun exposure by reflecting the sunlight. It also acts as a thermal regulator, but its most important factor is the wind, the famous Tramontana, which is a natural control of pests, enabling a minimum use of phytosanitary products. Here they grow Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Grenache.
Espolla is another farm of 21 hectares located on the foothills of the Pyrenees, to the north of Perelada. It has slate and acid soils, cultivated at a high density of 6,200 vines per hectare to reduce vigour and grape production, and therefore achieve high-quality wines with great personality. The vineyard was planted from 2002 with the varieties Syrah, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and Monastrell.
Wines from Perelada
The wines from Perelada make up a huge catalogue. This winery produces a wide collection of semi-sparkling wines under the brands Blanc Pescador and Creta Rosa. The first Blanc Pescador was born in 1967. Just like its Rosé and its Verdejo, these are wines with a subtle sparkling point achieved thanks to a second natural fermentation. Over time, this subtle sparkling point has turned this family of wines into the most basic and popular wines of the winery. Within this basic range of Perelada we have to point out the Blanc Pescador Premium, made with Xarello and Chardonnay. Part of the latter has aged during two months in barrels, giving it a touch of sophistication. Its latest novelty in this line is the Blanc Pescador Segunda Generación, without the slight sparkling point, with a coupage of Sauvignon Blanc and White Grenache. Fresh and fruity, with an intense aroma of ripe sweet fruit, nuances of melon and peach, fine herbaceous notes and a tropical fruit background, typical of the Sauvignon Blanc.
Its collection Perelada Aromas Primarios includes two young wines, a white made with Maccabeu, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and White Grenache, and a rosé made with Tempranillo (46%), Grenache (39%) and Merlot (15%), both with marked aromas of flowers and fruits.
The collection Perelada Jardíns honours the Parisian landscape architect François Duvillers (1807-1881), one of the most respected landscapers of his time, who received the commission of the Count of Perelada to design the gardens of his castle. Duvillers decided to combine the typical geometric structure of Versailles or Chantilly with a more sinuous one, inspired in English gardens. He chose to plant 158 species, both native and exotic. Jardins are wines with a complexity of floral nuances that aims to aromatically show the essence of the work of Duvillers in Perelada. The collection includes three new generation young wines, a white made with Sauvignon Blanc (67%), Maccabeu (24%) and White Grenache (9%), a rosé made with Tempranillo (49%), Grenache (43%) and Merlot (8%), and a red made with Monastrell (33%), Grenache (28%), Merlot (19%), Syrah (17%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (3%).
Colección Cigonyes honours the success of the reintroduction programme of these birds that has been carried out in Castillo Perelada since 1995. It includes three wines, a varietal white made with Maccabeu, a rosé made with Grenache (70%) and Syrah (30%), and a red made with Grenache (65%), Syrah (18%) and Tempranillo (17%), aged for 10 months in second-use French oak barrels.
Colección Perelada Monovarietales also includes three wines, a white made with White Grenache, a rosé made with Cabernet Sauvignon, and a red, also made with Cabernet Sauvignon, with an ageing of 16 months in fine grain Bordeaux barrels made of American oak and French oak from Allier.
Collection Blanc is a white wine that pays a tribute to the Glass Collection of the Museo Castillo Perelada museum, which brings together very relevant pieces of work from different ages and from the best schools. It is made with Chardonnay (70%) and Sauvignon Blanc (30%), where 10% of the wine ages in new acacia wood barrels. It offers an aroma with expression of sweet, tropical fruits, and with a background of fine and delicate notes of the acacia wood barrels. In the mouth it is round, fresh, balanced and immersive. It is an intense and complex wine, with a very long and expressive finish.
Perelada 3 Fincas is made with Grenache (28%), Merlot (27%), Cabernet Sauvignon (19%), Syrah (13%), Samsó (9%) and Monastrell (4%), although the percentages vary depending on the vintage. It has been aged for 1 year in Bordeaux barrels (70% American fine oak and 30% French oak from Allier). The aromas of red fruits and spices prevail, very well combined with the notes of its ageing. In the mouth it is round, with a fresh hint and soft tannins. It is a wine that has a pleasant mid-palate and a long aftertaste.
Perelada 5 Fincas is made with varieties from its 5 farms, with Grenache (30%), Cabernet Sauvignon (30%), Syrah (14%), Merlot (12%), Tempranillo (9%), Carignan (4%) and Cabernet Franc (1%). It is aged for 17 months in Bordeaux barrels, 50% American fine oak and 50% French oak from Allier. It offers an enveloping aroma, with nuances of ripe fruit, balsamic notes and a roasted background. In the mouth it is ample, structured and balanced. The tannins are round and polished, and its acidity gives it a lot of freshness. It is a wine with a lot of personality and a lingering aftertaste.
Its Colección Vinos de Finca includes four wines. The Perelada Finca Malaveïna, made with Merlot (29%), Cabernet Sauvignon (26%), Cabernet Franc (19%), Syrah (14%) and Red Grenache (12%), with an ageing of 18 months in new barrels made of French oak from Allier. A strong aroma that reminds us of black fruit, with a background of spicy and toasted notes. In the mouth it is round, meaty and structured. It is a wine with a marked personality of the farm where it comes from and it has a great ageing potential. Perelada Finca Espolla is made with Monastrell (31%), Cabernet Sauvignon (31%), Syrah (19%) and Grenache (19%), and it is also aged for 18 months in new barrels made of French oak from Allier. Its aroma reminds us of sweet fruits, balsamic notes and minerals. In the mouth it is powerful but round, at the same time as persistent and expressive. Perelada Finca La Garriga is a single-variety of Samsó (Carignan), with an ageing of 14 months in new Bordeaux barrels made of fine American oak. It gives off an aroma of red fruits, balsamic, with a smoked background. In the mouth it is fresh and lively, with very enveloping tannins. And finally, the Blanco Perelada Finca La Garriga, made with Chardonnay (60%) and White Carignan (40%), with fermentation in new acacia wood barrels, plus 8 months of ageing, with periodic batonnages. It is a wine with a fruity aroma, with nuances of peach, orange and a background of aromatic herbs perfectly, in line with the fine and delicate notes of the barrel. In the mouth is has a vibrant acidity. It is enveloping, elegant, balanced and very long.
Finca Garbet is the whim of the winery. It is made with Syrah (90%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (10%). It ages for an average of 15 months in new French oak barrels from Tronçais. This wine has a wide aromatic range, reminiscent of the farm where it comes from (Mediterranean herbs, spices, fruits, balsamic notes and minerals). In the mouth it is fresh, fatty, enveloping and with ripe tannins. It has a long aftertaste and a very good ageing potential.
Perelada Gran Claustro is a wine made only in the best vintages from selected grapes, always collected by hand. It is made with Grenache (50%), Cabernet Sauvignon (30%) and Merlot (20%). It ages for 18 months in new barrels made of French oak from Allier. It gives off an aroma of ripe fruit, with fine ageing notes and a spicy background. In the mouth it is fresh, round, with polished tannins that give it silkiness. It is an elegant, balanced wine, lingering and with very good ageing capacity.
Colección EX EX is comprised of different wines every year. The oenologists of Perelada produce small quantities of many different wines and, among all of them, the best ones become part of the Ex Ex collection: Exceptional Experiences of limited editions. The first EX EX was born from the 1998 harvest, and in 2016 the EX EX 11 was launched with the harvest of 2013. This time, the underlying idea was to recover the traditional winemaking culture of their ancestors, suggesting a natural wine. It is made from 2 white varieties, Maccabeu and Grenache, and 2 reds, Samsó and Grenache, all of them vinified in the same deposit, and all from the oldest vineyards of the winery. It is also a natural wine, made without sulphites, vinified using native yeasts and made without any addition of oenological products, without clarification or filtration. Its production is limited to 2,781 bottles. It has wild aromas, with fresh fruit nuances and subtle hints of its ageing. It is an elegant, fresh, and balanced wine with a lot of personality.
Perelada Garnacha del Empordà is a sweet wine made from a variety of Red Grenache (80%), combined with White Grenache (20%), from vines that are over forty years old. These grapes are collected when they are slightly overripe. It is aged using the method of "soleras" for more than twelve years. Fragrant, very voluptuous in aromas. Sweet, velvety, and generous in the mouth. Flavours that reminds us of candied fruit, dried nuts and spices.
In addition, the winery makes the Colección Homenaje, which pays tribute to some personalities, such as our founder, Miguel Mateu, and one of the most illustrious people of Empordà, Salvador Dalí. The wines and cavas of Castillo Perelada have been served at the table of many historical figures. They have had the honour of being selected in banquets of great social importance, such as the coronation of H.M. King Juan Carlos I, the weddings of Queen Fabiola and King Baudouin of Belgium and the Prince and Princess of Asturias, or the visits of several presidents of the United States.
It also produces a complete line of Cavas, from whites and rosé bruts to the most sophisticated and unique Reservas and Grandes Reservas. Among them always stands out Reserva Gran Claustro and Gran Reserva Gran Claustro, which go through their ageing in the wineries of the convent of Castillo Perelada. Gran Claustro Reserva Brut Nature is made with Pinot Noir (42%), Chardonnay (42%), Xarello (6%), Maccabeu (5%) and Parellada (5%). It is aged for a minimum of 15 months in the bottle. It is a cava with a clean aroma of ripe fruits, with notes from its ageing. It has a slightly fruity taste, dry and smooth, with a good balance. Ample and long in the mouth. Gran Claustro Gran Reserva Brut Nature is made with Chardonnay (62%), Pinot Noir (28%), Parellada (4%), Xarello (3%) and Maccabeu (3%), where 30% of the Chardonnay wine has been fermented in French oak from Allier, on its lees for four months. At the end it goes through a minimum ageing of 30 months in the bottle. It offers a clean aroma of ripe fruit, with toasted notes and notes from its ageing. It has a slightly fruity taste, unctuous, with shades of oak. Dry and smooth, with a good balance. Ample and long in the mouth.
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