French varietals meets Catalan tradition – Welcome to Clos d’Agon
The winding dirt road snakes up from the outskirts of Calonge into the base of the Les Gavarres mountain range separating the provinces of Gerona and Emporda. As we slowly make our trek, we run into a few cyclists on mountain bikes, two tour companies stopped and admiring the breathtaking view, and locals pruning their fruit trees.
Welcome to Clos d’Agon‘s neighborhood.
Once we arrived in the parking lot of the winery, we knew we had come to somewhere untypical for the DO Emporda region. Instead of witnessing a stone Masia with surrounding vines, we stood and marvelled at a winery building designed in an incredible variation on Piet Mondrian’s neoplasticism movement with a colour scheme more suited to the region instead of the three primary colours of Mondrian style.
We were greeted by Miguel Coronado, oenologist and technical direct of the winery. Miguel then took us to Mariona Carre, who handles communications/tours for the company, in order to go about our discovery of the vineyard.
Clos d’Agon came about in 1987, after a French couple bought the 350 year old vineyard, and set about creating a unique wine. They consulted with experts in Montpellier, and decided to take up the old vines and plant new French vines to fulfill their vision of a wine which would set them apart. A Swiss group of friends took over the vineyard in 1997, and kept the same philosophy.
Miguel works with advisor Peter Sisseck to create the recipes for their wines, and we could tell how seriously they take this process as just off their main office is a room resembling a chemistry facility with tubes, beakers, bunsen burners, ovens, lead gloves and everything you may need to create rocket fuel. Well, maybe there wasn’t a bunsen burner or lead gloves, but the science behind their wines is something to behold.
Today Clos d’Agon has a well respected reputation in many European countries for its reds and whites, and along with that reputation comes a higher price point. Our primary interest was their newest creation, Amics, which is a more affordable wine priced around €15,00, one-third less than the average price for their other wines.
Amics uses the same process as their “higher grade” wines, but opens up the vineyard to a broader base of retail customers and restaurants. Clos d’Agon has begun to achieve some success with Amics, with placement in local restaurants and also a few export markets, most notably in New York.
Michael and I were amazed at the flavour and the body of the red varietal of the wine, considering its price point. As Michael said to Mariona, “this is the steal of the century! Are you sure I shouldn’t be paying €50,00 for this wine?”
Clos d’Agon is an impressive facility. There is ample room to host special events — with me joking I could host a wedding on their terrace — while drinking in the impressive view of the Mediterranean. Mariona agreed and shared that they had hosted several corporate events at the facility. They also have a busy enotourism component, with many tour groups coming to walk through the vineyards, sampling the wine, and checking out special events.
From the original masia, to the vat room, the barrel room, the vines, and the architecture, Clos d’Agon is definitely a vineyard with visiting. Mariona and Miguel made us feel at home, and they will extend the same to you upon your visit.
Tim Brown (aka Timmer on social media) has been involved in marketing for over 20 years and a wine enthusiast since his first exposure to Duck Pond Winery in Newberg, Oregon, back in 1995. After coming to Europe in 2012, he made his home in Catalunya in 2013 and became enchanted with the wines and winemakers of the region. Now he shares his experiences so international visitors can enjoy the region’s wines, while continuing his work in the marketing world. Sommeliering and wine snobbery isn´t his thing, and he continues to learn more about wine from a Catalan perspective on a daily basis.