Grenache 33% Tempranillo 20% Carignan 30%
Lledoner Pelut Noir 6% Cabernet Sauvignon 6% Syrah 5%
Catalonia is the hottest area of Spain, perhaps Europe…perhaps the world! The wines of this region, and the food, have achieved huge international renown. Why miss the opportunity to “get in” early? I’ve been coming to Spain since the early 80′s, when I studied enology in Bordeaux and have always wanted to create something here. Since I don’t know of any other Americans making wine in this fantastic place, I went for the adventure of making wine in an area I think has huge promise.
Terra Alta is the southern-most DO in Catalonia and has the lowest rainfall and the highest summer temperatures. Terra Alta literally means ‘high lands,’ and has superb microclimates with great soil and fabulous drainage. Vines grow on steep terraces identical to Priorat, its northwestern neighbor, 13 km away.
Priorat has experienced huge growth; in the last 5 years, plantings have multiplied five-fold. That means lots of new wines made fromvery young grapes. Terra Alta, on the other hand, afforded me the possibility of old vines: 30 year-old Grenache, 60 year-old plantings of both Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.
While some of the more well-known regions of Catalonia have been planted since the age of the Egyptians, it wasn’t until the 12th century that grapes were planted in Terra Alta by discerning French monks. Thankfully, they planted low yielding, high quality varietals such as Grenache and Carignan. In the modern era, Terra Alta stayed an undiscovered gem in the region due to its continued inaccessibility and difficult terrain.
Sexto itself is a blend of six different grapes, Grenache, Carignan, Tempranillo, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and the ancient grape Lledoner Pelut Noir. In fact, it was the addition of that sixth varietal (a cousin to Grenache) that made all the difference for me. I wanted to make a wine that is at the same time original, traditional, and has a modern twist.
Sexto is fresh, fruit-laden, spicy and quite distinctive. This delicious wine captures the unmistakable flavor and character of northeastern Spain.