As is the case with many old European grapes, Grenache Gris has a number of synonyms. One of the names you very rarely hear is ‘Lledoner Roig’, the old name used by local winemakers in the Empordà region on the Costa Brava.
There are precious few vineyards which are comprised of only Lledoner Roig. As the story goes, when one of the Carignan vines would die off, winemakers would plant one of these Lledoner Roig vines in its place as it’s a more vigorous grape. Historically, these grapes were used in the exquisite dessert wines of Empordà, although several cellars are now focusing on single varietal dry wines.
A Lledoner Roig-focused tasting was held in Espelt recently, allowing various winemakers in Empordà to showcase the new wines they’re making with this grape. Styles were varied and while most chose to produce a white wine from this pink grape, there were also two rosés amongst the crowd. The following two wines were the most notable overall.
CELLER LA VINYETA, MICROVÍ TORRATS 2013
Coming from 90-year-old vines near the village of Espolla. Wondrously profound aromatically with pronounced mineral notes, light vanilla, and a lovely tinge of rose petals. Floats on the palate with a lingering acidity. €15
VINYES D'OLIVARDOTS, V D'O 7.13.2013
From a 91-year-old vineyard in the village of Capmany. Straw colour in the glass with pronounced minerality and grapefruit aromas, as well as a touch of sweet caramel. Balanced, full, and of medium plus body that keeps the minerality as well as new oak notes in check. €20
Miquel Hudin is originally from California but is now based in Barcelona. He founded the Vinologue enotourism series of wine books (www.vinologue.com).