Biodynamic red wine laced with red fruit, blood oranges and a long herbal and menthol finish
- Producer: Lagravera
- Region: DO Costers del Segre
- Vintage: 2017
- ABV: 13.5%
- Grape: Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon
Deep cherry red in colour, the wine bursts with aromas of dark fruit like ripe plums and blood orange coupled with notes of tobacco, menthol, spicy pepper and hints of lavender, thyme and brush. On the palate, it has lively acidity, hints of toasted wood from the wine’s time ageing in the barrel, and black pepper and clove. The tannins are well integrated, with a light touch of bitterness which helps prolong the wine’s finish.
Pork, Veal, Game, Stews, Cheese
More about Ónra Negre
Who makes it
Pillar Salillas, wine maker at Lagravera
The Lagravera winery was founded in 2006 by the Arnó family. Builders by trade, they decided to repurpose the gravel quarry they had used for many years for their building business and the bodega was born. While the winery itself is in the town of Alcarrás about 25km north of Lleida, the vineyards are spread across in various locations both within and outside the official Denominación de Origen Coster del Segre.
The whole winery is biodynamic, which means the vineyards and winery work in harmony with nature and natural cycles. Bee populations are nurtured to ensure pollination, sheep are used to keep the grasses in the vineyard under control, and cow dung is the perfect source of natural fertilizer.
Winery head and chief winemaker Pilar Salillas also stresses the importance of the Serra Llarga, a hilly stretch north of Lleida which heralds the proximity of the Pyrenees to the north. The range’s characteristic white soil is bursting with calcium-rich gypsum which, in a region which is otherwise pretty dry and continental, brings welcome freshness and sapidity to the wines.
This is an area with a long winemaking tradition, where families have been making wine for their own consumption for decades. As a result, it’s an area rich in old vines: the winery’s El Vinyet vineyard, for example, was planted in 1889 and is bursting with a whole host of native grape varieties – 24 to be precise, in an area of just over one hectare.
About the grapes
Garnacha is one of the most widely grown wine grapes in the world and in Spain it's about the third most grown red grape behind Tempranillo and Bobal.
It's a late-ripening variety which enjoys hot, dry conditions, which makes it a reliably robust choice for winemakers. In the northeast of Spain, Garnacha tends to produce quite soft, easy-drinking red wines. It's low in tannins, so you don't get that woody, dry sensation in the mouth. But because it's late ripening it can also be quite high in alcohol as the fruit has more time to develop the sugars which then become alcohol in the wine.
In terms of fruit, in younger wines you’ll pick up good bursts of red fruit like strawberry and raspberry. And in the varieties made with older vines that have been aged for a little you start to get sweeter, deeper fruit flavours reminiscent of figs. Occasionally you might also find a lick of white pepper just on top of the wine, which can add a nice touch of character.
A cross between Cabernet Franc and the white grape, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon is perhaps the world’s most famous red grape. Fanning out from its home in Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon is now pretty much the world’s most widely planted red wine grape and has proved popular in both New and Old Worlds. In Spain it covers about 20,000 hectares, about the same as Syrah, although Cabernet Sauvignon is a more adaptable grape and you will find more single varietal examples of Spanish Cabernet Sauvignon than Syrah.
Cabernet Sauvignon is a thick skinned, late-ripening grape, with plenty of colour and tannin, and well-defined fruit flavours, all of which help it stand up well to wood and make it the perfect candidate for ageing in oak barrels. It covers a pretty broad spectrum of flavours depending on where it’s grown and ripeness. When not fully ripe, you can expect fresh peppers and herbaceous, slightly bitter notes. But as it ripens that changes, and more concentrated fruit favours begin to emerge like blackcurrant, or even blackcurrant lozenge.
Where it's made
Denominación de Origen Costers del Segre is one of ten DOs in Catalunya (not including the all-encompassing DO Catalunya whose wines can be made with grapes from all over the region). It covers just under 5,000 hectares of vineyard near the city of Lerida, or Lleida as it’s called in Catalan. Costers del Segre literally translates as ¨banks of the Segre¨ which is one of the many tributaries which feed into the Ebro river.
Although it was officially established as a DO in the 1980s, the region won its place on the Spanish wine map thanks to the Raventós family, owners of Cava giant Codorníu, who established the Raimat winery and estate in the area in the early 1900s. The winery remains a major player today, and its vineyards account for about 30% of all the area under vine in the DO.
In geographical terms, Costers del Segre is the most inland of all Catalunya’s DOs, sitting about 100km north-west of Tarragona and the Mediterranean. It's divided up into 6 sub-zones which form an arc to the east of the city of Lleida, with vineyards planted at about 700 metres above sea level in the higher, pre-Pyrennean areas like Artesa de Segre and Pallars, down to 250 metres above sea level in the Segrià sub-zone on the flatter, lower-lying plain around Lleida. The rolling landscape sits primarily on limestone soils with brown topsoil.
How it's made
The grapes come from an 11-hectare estate divided into 14 different, biodynamically farmed vineyard plots. The fruit is harvested manually at the end of September and kept chilled at a steady 6ºC. Following manual sorting at the winery, the Garnacha undergoes a pre-fermentative maceration with regular punching down of the cap. The two grape varieties are then fermented separately 24-26ºC to encourage the fruit to really show itself. The wine is then aged in light and medium toasted, 500-litre French oak barrels for 12 months before bottling.