Catalan wines are an important part of Spain and Catalonia’s rich gastronomy heritage. After France and Italy, Spain is the is the third largest wine producer in the world.
Rioja, known for it’s warm red wines and Penedes, for sparking Cava wine, are among two of the most popular wine regions in the country
On a recent visit to Catalonia in the northeast of Spain, we were introduced to Catalan wines. More specifically, Emporda wines, which can be found in Costa Brava, the region we were exploring for food.
Wine runs deep in the region and is woven into the cultural identity of Catalonia. We had the pleasure of exploring Catalan wines at three stunning wineries set between sea and mountain in Costa Brava.
While communing with nature, we discovered the hidden treasures of Emporda wines. From old vines to international varietals, we tasted a range of styles from dynamic producers.
Catalan Wines From the Emporda Region
Wine making in Catalonia has a long history and dates back to before the Roman times. The Emporda wine region we visited, is one of the many wine regions in Catalonia.
Catalan wines from the area are defined by the Mediterranean climate and the strong northerly Tramuntana winds.
Even though the region does not have the fame as other Spanish wine regions, it is renowned for producing high quality wines.
The Emporda is an established Spanish Denominación de Origen known as DO Emporda. Within Costa Brava, you’ll find wineries with DO Emporda certification and others without.
During our trip, we visited two DO Emporda wineries and one without the certification. Wine tourism is growing and there is even a DO Empordà Wine Route to explore the wines even deeper.
At the following three wineries, we were impressed by their idyllic locations and the range of wines produced.
The people we met were passionate, friendly and eager to share their story.
If you are looking to experience Catalan wines, don’t miss visiting these stunning wineries in the Costa Brava region.
1 – Eccocivi Winery – An Eco-Friendly Winery
Eccocivi Cellar located in Sant Martí Vell, is the winery closest to Girona. It is situated in Les Gavarres natural reserve, at the base of an inactive volcano.
Cecilia, who works at the winery was our guide during our visit. Passionate about wine making, we appreciated her deep insights about Spanish wines.
The winery, we learned is built in a national park and has its own micro climate. The entire estate is 60 hectares and only 13 hectares have been cultivated. The majority of land is left untouched to preserve the natural life, wildlife and heritage.
A Winery Working with Nature
The name Eccoci translates as “Here We Are” in Italian, the roots of the winery’s owner. The project began in 2002, and the first vintage was produced in 2008.
The winery produces impressive wines, working with nature and supporting the local community.
Wine making at Eccocivi does not involve the use of chemicals. Even though the winery does not have an organic certification, the wines are produced in an organic fashion.
Eccocivi is Spain’s first certified ZeroCo2 winery. This certification means that the CO2 emissions generated in the winemaking process are offset by the wild forest and nature all around.
The winery is steadfast on its commitment of working in a sustainable manner and preserving the heritage for future generations.
The winery works with French varietals and local Spanish varietals like red and white Grenache as well as Xarel-lo.
Each of the wine labels represent something unique about the project. The Montrodó wines are named after the ancient volcano on the estate.
Can Noves wines bear the name of a Catalan farmhouse on one part of the property.
And Ca l’Elsa, the premium line of wines are named after the founder.
Eccocivi Wine Tasting in Traditional Catalan Farmhouse
After a tour of the winery and wine making process, we went on the patio of the Catalan farmhouse for the tasting.
Seated in the traditional 17th century Catalonia farmhouse known as Masia, we relished views of the peaceful Catalan countryside.
To go along with the wine tasting, Cecilia prepared a delectable plate of local delicacies. The platter had a variety of local cheeses, Spanish hams, bread and nuts.
With each tasting of red, white and rosé wines from the different labels, Cecilia offered in depth tasting notes.
Of the wines we tasted, we really enjoyed the bold flavors of the red wines.
The 2015 Can Noves blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc was remarkable. The vanilla spices to the nose and rich black fruit flavors paired perfectly with the hams and cheeses.
Our absolute favorite was the award winning Ca l’Elsa 2014 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc. The jammy flavors with hints of cinnamon, toffee and spices captivated our taste buds.
Cecilia described this wine perfectly when said, “this is the kind of wine that when you start drinking the wine says drink more, drink more, drink more.”
Visiting Eccocivi Winery
We highly recommend taking tour and Catalan wine tasting at Eccocivi with Cecilia. Her knowledge and passion for Spanish wine along with her friendly demeanor makes for an exceptional experience.
Winery visits are available year round and must be booked in advance.
You can choose from three different types of experiences.
The Montrodó Collection visit for small groups takes you on a guided visit to the cellar, wine making facilities and ends with a wine tasting.
The Eccocivi Family visit includes everything you’ll find in the Montrodó Collection visit, combined with Mediterranean gastronomy.
Enjoy wines paired with regional cheeses, local Spanish ham and an assortment of nuts, dried fruits and bread.
If you would like to create a unique customized experience at the winery, please contact the cellar directly.
Address: Paratge Mont-rodó, 3 17462 Sant Martí Vell
Tel: +34 872 000 015
Tours & Pricing: Click to book your wine tasting and tour experience
Where to Stay in Girona near Eccocivi Winery
Girona is only a 30 minute drive from Eccocivi winery. If you don’t want to drive, you can take an Uber or a Taxi instead.
Girona offers amazing apartments to stay in the old town. We had the chance to stay at two exceptional locations.
Our first apartment in the old town was at Salieti Palace a 14th century house renovated by the architect Rafael Masó in 1911. The architecture of the building is quite exceptional with an inner courtyard, a staircase, arches and windows with a neo gothic style.
If you love medieval architecture and the Games of Thrones atmosphere, this is your ideal place.
The other apartment we stayed at is located on Placa Catalunya near the Medieval Wall stairs and Mercat del Lleo, the local market.
This well-equipped and modern two-bedroom apartment has a wonderful patio to enjoy the views of the Medieval walls.
2 – Mas Geli Winery
Mas Geli produces wines in the Baix Empordà region or lower Emporda where there are a handful of Emporda wineries.
These Catalan wines are known to be lighter than their counterparts in the Alt Empordà region or high Emporda.
Mas Geli winery is an organic winery and the first winery in the Emporda region to get its organic certification from the start.
Built on a former golf course, the vineyards are spread out over 17 hectares, with a goal of getting to 20-22 hectares.
With seven wells on the property, the irrigation for the vineyards come from the underground aquifers.
Beautifully set in the middle of the rice fields near the medieval town of Pals, the vineyard offers a relaxing views.
In the background, we can admire the Montgrí mountain that is said to resemble a bishop sleeping.
A Family Projet Built with Passion
Anna, her brother Lluís, both trained sommeliers, and Lluís girlfriend Maria Rosa operate and manage the winery.
Started as a family project about five years ago, the first vintage was released to the market in 2017.
Working with an oenologist, Anna and Lluís, harness the potential of the land to create organic white, rosé and red wines.
Anna, our guide and host for the tasting, told us:
“As a family, we love gastronomy. We love authentic and real food. We love the true natural things. Our dream is to see the essence of the terroir.”
Emporda Wine Tasting in Nature
Anna walked us to the wine tasting area, located in nature at the back of the vineyard under the trees.
This was the perfect setting for a picnic in nature accompanied by fine wines.
Mas Geli wines are made using local and traditional grape varieties. Their varieties include red and white Grenache to Subarit Parent, an aromatic white grape from the nearby Pals town.
Additionally, wines are also made from Macabeo grapes used for the most popular Catalan wines, Cava. Red and white Carignan grapes complete the grape varieties in use at Mas Geli.
We started the tasting with white wines and then progressed to the rosé, to finish on the reds.
I particularly enjoyed the refreshing rosé, which makes a great pairing with seafood.
Claire preferred the Sense Pressa 2017. This red Catalan wine, whose name means “take it easy”, draws on the slow food concept. The idea is to take your time as you sip on this easy to wine aged six months in French oak.
What we found surprising was a light salty taste of these Emporda wines due to the vineyard’s proximity to the Meditteranean sea.
In their first year, Mas Geli produced about 11,000 bottles. Now three years later, production is at 24,000 bottles. Their wines are sold locally in Baix Empordá and on regional restaurant wine lists.
Visiting Mas Geli Winery
Mas Geli is located close to the Mediterranean coast, about 45mins drive from Girona and 1.5 hours from Barcelona.
The current farmhouse is undergoing renovations and a new tasting room is currently being built.
Plans for the future include building a cellar as they are currently renting cellar space.
Until then, wine visits and tastings take place in the vineyards. Tours and tastings are offered everyday of the year, but must be booked in advance.
Mas Geli Winery
Address: Pals, Girona, 17256, Baix Empordà
Tel: +34 629 694 428
Tours & Pricing: Click to book your wine tasting and tour experience
Where to Stay in Baix Empordà near Mas Geli Winery
There are a few wonderful options to stay close to Mas Geli. You can stay near Pals and enjoy the amazing local Catalan gastronomy. We particularly enjoyed our lunch at Vicus Restaurant before visiting the winery.
We recommend staying at Es Portal Hotel. This boutique style hotel is set in a refurbished 16th century farmhouse old.
Located at the exit of Pals, this hotel-restaurant offers a wonderful gastronomic experience anchored in the regional rice specialties.
Conveniently located less than 2 kilometers (about 1.1 miles) from the winery, you can leave your car behind and walk instead.
3 – Martín Faixó Winery
Nestled high in the hills overlooking the town of Cadaqués is Martín Faixó winery. The winery has the distinct honor of being the only winery located in the middle of Cap de Creus, a natural park.
As Mark, our guide shared the Martín Faixó family story, we relished the peacefulness and natural beauty all around.
A family with a 60 year long history in wine making, Mark described them as “instead of having blood inside of them, they have wine running through their veins.”
Sustainability is at the heart of the wine production. The vines and resulting wines, are shaped by the natural conditions.
The high altitude, strong northern Tramuntana winds and salt from the sea, all impart strong characteristics to the wine.
Martin Faixó Wines
As a winery is in the middle of the park, wine growing is done in an ecologically and in a sustainable fashion.
For instance after the wine making, pressing and fermentation process, the waste is returned back to the earth and used on the vineyards.
As Mark said, “we live by the rule that have to return back to the earth as much as possible as the earth has given to us before.”
Martín Faixó winery works with five grape varieties spread out over 16.5 hectares. International grape varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Muscat, and local Grenache and Picapoll Spanish grapes.
The Granache and Muscat sweet wine fermentation process is quite remarkable. In huge glass demijohns sitting above the cellar, the wines ferment slowly over time using the sol i serena method.
Wine Tasting at El Celler Martin Faixó
All the wines we tasted were very different. According to Mark, “the wines have nothing to do with the other. That’s what we really want.”
Our tasting started in the cellar at Martin Faixo before moving outdoors. We tasted red, white and rosé wines from their MF Perafita line of wines.
As we were enjoying the refreshing and easy to drink wines, we learned that Martín Faixó also makes artisanal beers, olive oils and Cava.
The wines from the premium Cadac line were our favorites. We particularly enjoyed the red Cadac 2008 which was bold and soft at the same time. This is a wine that goes down easily and pairs exceptionally well with meats.
The magic of the environment with breathtaking views of mountains and sea is a paradise to enjoy amazing wines.
Visiting Martin Faixó
Winery tours of Martín Faixó are available every day of the week. During the Summer months, tours are offered more frequently and in multiple languages.
To book your guided tour and tasting, click here for more information.
Martín Faixó Winery
Address: Carretera de Cadaqués s/n, 17488 Cadaqués
Tel: +34 972 258 954
Tours & Pricing: Click to book your guided wine tour and tasting
Where to Stay in Alt Empordà near Martin Faixó
On the Martín Faixó property is Sa Perafita, a Catalan farmhouse, with seven boutique guest rooms.
This is the perfect place to enjoy the solitude of nature and sip wine in the natural park. They also offer a delicious and hearty Catalan breakfast in the morning.
Another great option is to stay in Cadaques. Only a 10 minutes drive from the winery, spend a few days in this coastal town soaking up the views that inspired painters like Salvador Dalí.
Between the sea and the mountains in the Costa Brava lies the Emporda plains. The wineries in this region are surrounded in nature and offer spectacularly stunning views.
While Emporda wines are not well known, they are rooted in history and enjoying a resurgence with a new generation of winemakers.
Catalan wines in the Emporda will seduce you. The modern wines made with international and local Spanish grape varieties speak with the rich history of the region.
Visiting any of these three stunning wineries will give you a glimpse into the potential of these wines.
With the magnificent landscapes and charming places to stay, you will fall in love with the magic and exquisite wines.
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Disclosure: Special thanks to Costa Brava Tourism Board for having us on these tours. All views and opinions expressed are our own. Full bellies and happy taste buds too.
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Rosemary is a writer, culinary explorer, and digital nomad. Together with her partner, Claire, they created Authentic Food Quest to help people find the best local food on their travels. For over 5 years they have eaten their way through South America, Southeast Asia, Europe, and North America while sharing the best local food experiences on their website. Authentic Food Quest has been featured on top publications such as Huffington Post, Business Insider, and Honest Cooking. Rosemary and Claire are also authors of Authentic Food Quest Argentina and Authentic Food Quest Peru, available on Amazon. Prior to creating Authentic Food Quest, Rosemary worked as a strategy director in advertising for over 15 years.