D.O. Empordà (Catalonia)
Wine from winery Terra Remota
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More about Terra Remota
Terra Remota is a winery that was created in 2006. It is located in the far northeast of the Iberian Peninsula, in the Girona region of Alt Empordà, and adhered to D.O. Empordà. Within the already distant location that D.O. Empordà has in comparison to the rest of Spain, Terra Remota is an isolated project, despite its relative proximity to the main communication routes that lead to France. It is located in this solitary site, among the small villages of Capmany and Sant Climent Sescebes, captivating thanks to its appearance of being quite far from the rest of the world. This justifies the name given to this project: Terra Remota.
Ironically, regardless of the remoteness of the location, this area has been inhabited by communities of people since time immemorial. In fact, remains of settlements belonging to the Iberian culture have been documented in the area, which shows the longevity of humanisation in this territory. Terra Remota has decided to take on board this fact, using two symbols attributed to these primitive Iberian settlements, which were found engraved in some of the granite blocks found in this place, as the symbolic representation of the winery.
History of the winery
Terra Remota is a winery owned by the couple Marc and Emma Bournazeau, of French origin but with Spanish roots. Specifically, Emma Bournazeau’s grandfather was a Catalan citizen who left for France after the Spanish Civil War, settling in the neighbouring Perpignan. For this family, and especially for Claude Florensa, Emma’s father, Terra Remota represents the return to the land of origin, the recovery of a lost identity and, ultimately, a return to the home, ending the nostalgia of any exile.
The family’s dream started to come true in 2000, when they bought the lands in Empordà that are now occupied by Terra Remota. After the bought the farm, the Bournazeau noticed some old vine roots, which revealed the old dedication to vine cultivation in this place, abandoned as a result of the tourism boom experienced by Empordà in the 60s. This matter contributed to strengthen their idea of using the farm for viticulture. In this case, Marc Bournazeau’s experience was key. His relation with the winemaking business was not new, since he was head of two other wineries, one of them in France, his country of origin, Château Saint-Roch, and the other one in Chile, Bodega Las Niñas. This had a decisive importance in the configuration of the project and the style of wines of Terra Remota.
The owners commissioned the project of the winery to the architecture and interior design studio of Pepe Cortés, in Barcelona, in collaboration with architect Nacho Ferrer. Since the start of his work career in the 70s, Pepe Cortés is the author of extensive architecture and interior design work that has been continuously accredited with merits and distinctions, among which stands out the National Design Award of 2006. He also has several awards, like FAD, Delta, Design Auswahl from Germany, the Santiago Marco medal awarded by the School of Decorators and Interior Designers of Catalonia, etc. A series of requirements established previously by the owners conditions the work of the team of architects, who knew how to convey them in this project with precision and faithfulness. As a result of the owners’ sensitivity regarding this matter, the position of the building on the farm is slight integrated into a slight hill. Likewise, the vegetation roof covering of the two floors of the building contribute to the integration of the winery in its surroundings.
Along with the location of the winery, respect for the environment was another key element to the construction. Facing north, its location contributed to the temperature control of the winery, avoiding excessive consumption by the air conditioning systems. On the other hand, the discussion on technical functionality between Pepe Cortés, Marc Bournazeau and Pierre Vidalou (technician at Terra Remota) was essential in the building process. They established certain requirements at an architectural level that would be fundamental in the winery’s activities, providing it with maximum functionality at a technical level. The architect’s choice is also explained by the desire to achieve a result that would combine quality and contemporaneity. An aesthetic concept that is carried out parting from a current focus that also ensures its continuity. The winery opened in 2006. The contemporaneity concept can be seen in the building and also in the interior design of the winery, full of small designer details that give it a noble, pure and elegant image. In 2010, the winery was awarded a very special prize, in this case granted to the building itself: the “Premi Jurat de la Cultura” in the 13th Architecture Awards of the Regions of Girona 2010, held by the School of Architects of Girona.
The winery has modern producing facilities in which they use the gravity principle. Therefore, the harvest enters the winery through the highest part of the winery. Although the selection starts in the vineyards, Terra Remota has a selection table that allows for a second selection in the winery, before and after destemming. After this, the harvest goes directly to the fermentation deposits, expressly avoiding them from entering the paste pumps, which is an aggressive process the winery tries to avoid.
The winery also has stainless steel fermentation deposits of different volumes, as well as four 5500-litre wooden deposits for the fermentation of the best wines. In some cases, the ageing of wines fermented in wood is carried out in the same deposits where the fermentation took place. In the ageing room, 225-litre and 500-litre barrels coexist. This allows the winery to have maximum possibilities and adjust the ageing to each type of wine and with the volume of wood that suits them best.
Terra Remota is an undivided farm of 40 hectares, located on the foothills of the Albera, an area of pre-Pyrenean land with soils comprised of sauló (sand from the decomposition of granite), resulting from the erosion processes of the granitic mountains, favoured by the northern wind (tramontana). This terrain is interesting for viticulture, since it is not fertile and it offers good drainage. On another hand, other plots of the farm have granitic soils, typical of the Albera. For 2 years, between 2003 and 2004, they started cultivating 23 hectares. And despite prior ploughing of the land, the winery kept small areas of native forest (pine trees, holm oaks, oak trees, scrub...) in their aim to respect the environment, as is one of their traits.
There are a total of 12 differentiated plots where they have planted low-yield varieties and clones. The idea was to partly keep the typical production of the area of Empordà. Therefore, they planted Red Grenache (6 has), White Grenache (1.5 has) and Tempranillo (1 ha). However, they also planted improving varieties with a long tradition in France and proven adaptation to the Empodrà, such as Syrah (6 has), Cabernet Sauvignon (6 has) and Chardonnay (1 ha). The farm also has a plot of 0.80 hectares planted with Chenin Blanc on an experimental basis. The vines are planted at 2.25 m between lanes and 0.90 cm between each plant. This represents 4,600-4,800 vines/ha on average, which is high density if we take into account that the average in Empordà is of approximately 3,600 vines/ha.
The production control is carried out to obtain around 5,000 kg/ha, at a rate of an average yield that does not exceed 1 kg of grapes per vine. The dry summers that are typical of this area —with an annual average rainfall of around 600 litre—, lead Terra Remota to install drip irrigation. Therefore, the farm was equipped with a rainwater collection pond. Although for this matter the water available is not much, it is enough, since irrigation is used very occasionally. It is essentially used the first 3-4 years of the vines, when water supply is fundamental to avoid mortality. After this, it is used in a timely manner, in critical moments of shortage. The harvest is performed by hand, in 12-kg boxes, by plots and varieties. Often, they also separate different batches of a same variety from the same plot. All of this to try and isolate the different qualities and allow separate vinification.
The cultivation processes are carried out in the framework of “reasoned agriculture” parameters, like the exclusive use of organic manure. Since 2012, they have the organic viticulture certification issued by the Catalan Council for Organic Agricultural Production.
Wines from Terra Remota
Below you will find a list of wines from the Terra Remota winery:
Terra Remota “Caminante” is made with White Grenache, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc, fermented and aged in oak barrels. It is a high-end white wine, with very good qualities. On the nose, it has white flowers and notes of dill. It is full and pleasant, with an interesting minerality.
Terra Remota “Caminito” is made with Grenache, Syrah and Tempranillo. It has a short stay in barrels, and it is a rosé that is far from the stereotype of Empordà. It can be differentiated by its pale colour, its expressiveness on the nose and its ageing in barrels.
Terra Remota “Tan Natural” is a single-variety wine made with Grenache. It takes its name from the concept lying behind the production of this wine, very looked after but without frills. It has a low content of sulphites and minimum intervention, which guarantee the sensation of a sincere, honest and oxygenated wine. This wine has a juvenile and carefree freshness, with a charm that takes us to the vines, with its aromas of must and red fruit, its rural reminiscence of flowers and grass, and the exquisite flavour enveloped by a fine fruity cover.
Terra Remota “Camino” is made with Red Grenache, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo. It is aged for 12 months in oak barrels. On the nose, is splendid, with great complexity, aromas of cassis, red fruit jams and liquorice. In the mouth, it is round, sweet and soft, with toasted notes, very fine tannins, and a long and aromatic finish.
Terra Remota “Clos Adrien” is made with Syrah and Grenache from some of the plots (clos) of their farm that, due to their quality or special personality, the winery thinks are interesting to market. Since the farm was planted, each of the plots or “clos” was given the name of the people involved in the project. In this case, it was given the name of the son of the owners. This wine is intense and aromatic, with nuances of black wild fruit in compote, violets, notes of bakery, red liquorice, menthol, fine musky notes, bitumen, rosemary... It is sweet, very fruity, with a noble structure, sensation of plums, blackberries, blueberry cake, flowers, cocoa, graphite, etc. With a long and persistent finish.
Terra Remota “Usted” is made from a coupage of Red Grenache and Syrah. It goes through a differentiated and careful ageing, which varies depending on the harvest. This wine has a limited production of 1,200 bottles of 75 cl and 600 Magnum bottles.