It’s a zoetrope. Two boys playing leapfrog, the phases of the moon, a man attempting a long jump. When you twirl a bottle of La Vinyeta’s Puntiapart, the drawings on its label slowly come alive.
Like the 19th century toy, the optical illusion created on the bottles of La Vinyeta’s most complex red – made from some of the oldest vineyards in l’Empordà – is intended to be cyclical, an unending motion reflecting the culmination of La Vinyeta’s trajectory, from farmland to vineyard and back again.
The goal, beyond making excellent wine, is to bring the land back to its original purpose through sustainability and diversity
Owner Josep Serra creates a new label for each vintage, a kind of game for the customer, but also a reminder of how far his vision has come. When his father was given a few vines to cultivate, Josep and his wife Marta, both agricultural engineering students at the time, saw a future in those vines. They also saw a future in the Empordan soils; two futures that would eventually become about much more than just grapes. The goal, beyond making excellent wine, is to bring the land back to its original purpose through sustainability and diversity.
Arriving at La Vinyeta is a meander through a sort of paradise. The road leading in is lined with full lavender bushes edged with wildflowers. Red poppies burst out of the greenery each May. Vineyards stretch into the distance, their rows capped with rose bushes blushed in pinks, reds, and corals.
It’s more than pretty to look at, though. La Vinyeta’s plot of land is spoken of in reverent terms by winemakers: poor soils and the balancing influences of mar i muntanya, microclimates and good winds brought by the surrounding sea and mountains. Some of the oldest vines rub shoulders with ancient olive trees Josep and Marta use to press their own extra virgin olive oil. Beneath them, special Empordanese chickens shuffle about, their dark, speckled eggs sold on to the region’s Michelin-star restaurants. The chefs are convinced the eggs taste of sotabosque, redolent with hints of the Cabernet Sauvignon, Macabeu and Garnatxa grape skins the chickens feed on. Perhaps they’re projecting, but maybe they know a good thing when they taste it. La Vinyeta’s next adventure is cheese-making. The chefs are surely waiting, swirling a glass, ready for the next brilliant taste to arrive.
What to try: Heus Blanc (7€) is a summery blend of fragrant white grapes (Garnacha Blanca, Macabeu, Moscatel, Xarel·lo) which makes for an easy-drinking white, perfect for a plate of local seafood. Puntiapart (12€) blends Cabernet Sauvignon and Samsó (Carginan) into a long, velvety stunner that regularly wins accolades and can be found on the menu at Celler de Can Roca.