L’Enclòs de Peralba: Redefining Penedès

L’Enclòs de Peralba: Redefining Penedès

L’Enclòs de Peralba are redefining Penedès, a region historically known for Cava sparkling wines rather than high quality still wines. Jamie Goode spoke with Leo Gramona, who makes these exceptional wines with his cousin Roc, to discover what makes this exciting project tick.

"Our project is about trying to make wine the way it would have been before Cava."

L’Enclòs de Peralba is the project of cousins Leo and Roc Gramona, who come from the Gramona family well known for their sparkling wines (they were Cava, but are now Corpinnat; a new category dedicated to solely Penedès based production). Both have recently joined the family winery but on the condition that they are allowed to make their own wines: hence L’Enclòs de Peralba. The wines were originally made at Gramona (2017 and 2018), but now they are produced in their own winery. The model is to make still wines (and a Pet Nat) from indigenous varieties from Penedès, focusing on privileged sites in the region.

Leo and Roc Gramona in the vineyard

L'Enclos translates as ‘clos’ in Catalan; Peralba refers to the white rocks common in elevated sites in the region.

Leo introduced the wines. His father and Roc’s father, who run the company, agreed to let them begin their own project, which they felt they needed to do to express their creative energy.

"We had our own ideas at Gramona, but with a company like this with a lot of history and trajectory, it is not easy to change,’ says Leo. ‘It is a big ship to turn around." 

So they talked to their parents and they allowed them to begin their own project. "We started scouting for some of the vineyards we thought had potential for still wine. We worked with viticulturists who already had a relationship with Gramona"

"Our project is about trying to make wine the way it would have been before Cava."

Cava as it is today, is largely a result of the phylloxera crisis at the end of the 19th century. Champagne was hit relatively early and there was a need for sparkling wine, so French technicians came to Penedes where phylloxera had yet to appear. Lots of merchant houses from around Europe came and installed themselves in the region.

"After this a lot of international grapes were planted in the region because they made commercial sense," says Leo. "Now, with our project, we are trying to recover the winemaking before that happened."

"It is a parcel project," he says, "so we are focused on parcel wines. Production is around 2000 bottles per label. We are trying to express the micro-terroir." He adds, "We have scouted for different vineyards that made sense. We have Xarel.lo, two Garnachas and Malvasia de Sitjes (we think this has a lot of potential and will be the Riesling of the region). We are getting away from the plain in the middle of Penedes with its big yields and going towards the mountains, with more altitude and longer cycles."

The unique terroir of the mountainous Penedès region

They began in 2017 after some experiments.

"We have a tier system. The base is the blend wine. The focus is parcel wines: we make 8 parcel wines. Then some of the wines of each parcel we blend to make a base wine (Vi Fi de Masia). This represents the style of our region. Each parcel wine represents each parcel. We are creating a classification of parcels depending on whether the parcel is consistent enough over time. If it is, we are going to qualify that parcel as a top parcel."

"We don’t want to be pretentious and call it a Grand Cru because it is our classification,"

The wines released so far are very exciting:

Vi Fi de Masia, 2019

12.5% alcohol. This is a blend of Grenache Blanc and a special clone of Malvasia. This is bright and mineral with nice citrus fruit core and some lively spicy framing. Lots of interest here in this crisp, characterful wine with a sense of precision. 93/100

'Tres Feixes' Garntaxa Blanca, 2019

12% alcohol. Complex spicy citrus nose with some subtle honey and nut characters. The palate is bright and focused with a lovely texture to the mineral-strewn citrus fruit, showing hints of richness against a backdrop of bright fruit. 93/100

'Els Presseguers' Xarel.lo, 2018

12.5% alcohol. Lovely complex citrus fruit nose. Textured and detailed on the palate with some crystalline character, and lovely citrus and pear fruit. Such complexity here: a really beautiful expression of this interesting variety. 95/100

'El Tòfol' Macabeu, 2019

12.5% alcohol. Limey and intense with high acidity and a mineral core. This has lovely pithy intensity with some structure to the pronounced citrus fruit. So lively and energetic. 94/100

Discover L’Enclòs de Peralba