03 December 2019

The significance of ancestral varieties goes beyond winemaking. Not only are they important from an enological standpoint, but in terms of the environment, identity, and culture. They reveal a part of our past in what could be described as a form of reverse archaeology, pointing to the future of our wines and our region.

Forcada, Pirene, Gonfaus, Moneu, and Querol are now part of our ampelographic heritage and speak to us about who we were and who we want to be, as winemakers and as a family.

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Cluster of Querol grapes, grown in Conca de Barberà

The Querol variety is named after the village where it was found, at the edge of the Penedès region. It was acclimated to the Muralles vineyard in Conca de Barberà, where it now grows. Querol is a particularly unusual variety, one of the very few that is entirely female. Unlike most vinifera vines, its flowers are not hermaphroditic, and this characteristic is reflected in the variety's smaller berries and rich organoleptic potential. The latter revolves around intense, cheerful fruit notes that turn jammy after bottle aging for some time.

Both Pirene and Gonfaus originate from Costers del Segre, but are grown at different elevations. Pirene is acclimating to the Tremp vineyards, the highest in terms of elevation, and its nose is a concentrated display of very intense, rich fruit and subtle elegance. By contrast, Gonfaus grows in the driest vineyards of Les Garrigues. The variety produces limited yields and is inherently drought resistant—promising traits that are essential to producing quality wines now and in the future.

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Clusters of Pirene and Gonfaus, grown in the foothills of the Pyrenees

A Penedès native, Moneu now grows in the region's center and displays an intense array of black fruit, freshness, elegance, and good acidity. Forcada is grown in Alt Penedès, the only white variety vinified so far. From a winemaking perspective, it makes perfect sense: it is a very aromatic variety with distinctive acidity and great potential to mature. Forcada has a fresh profile with notable citrus and white floral notes.

In terms of identity, the varieties' value resides in the fact that wine is culture; the social practices related to wine that define us as a region and as people. The recovery of these varietal gems sets us apart, and we can present ourselves to the world through a living heritage that is very much our own.

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Cluster of Forcada grapes (grown in Alt Penedès)

The environmental value of the recovered varieties and their relationship to their natural surroundings goes beyond the vineyard's spectacular display of color. These varieties have shown an astonishing ability to adapt to the new climatic reality where water stress is a growing concern. The fact that they are remarkably drought resistant is essential to making wines in the middle and long term.

The recovery and cultivation of ancestral varieties is the tangible manifestation of a vision, a sense of responsibility for our environment and wine culture. It is the archaeology of our past, deeply rooted in the earth where we will grow our future.