Golfers seeking the best golf, gastronomy and wine Spain has to offer will welcome Costa Brava’s newly launched DO Empordà Wine Route, which maps out one of the oldest wine-producing counties in the world.
Flanked by the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean Sea, Costa Brava’s Empordà province, has been producing wine since 500 BC, when the Phoenicians first colonisedthe area.
The newly created DO Empordàine Route showcases the numerous hotels, restaurants, wine bars, wine therapy treatment companies and museums making up Costa Brava’s wine culture. Golfers can discover with ease this rich and unexplored wine haven, which stretches from the French border to the historical town of Blanes, 50 minutes north of Barcelona.
At a recent conference held at the Dalí Theatre Museum in Figueres, local icon and head sommelier of El Celler de Can Roca, Girona’s three Michelin star restaurant and the World’s Best Restaurant 2013*, Josep Roca, publicly hailed the DO Empordà Wine Route, believing it will help extend the region’s touristic appeal, to now include wine tourism. He said: “Wine can help strengthen [a region’s] cultural heritage and enhance its reputation, by bringing together gastronomy, landscape, leisure and tradition, which form the genesis of our Empordà wines.
“The DO Empordà Wine Route serves as a starting point for associating [our local] wine with other cultural and sensory areas. The aim is to channel all aspects related to the world of Empordà wine through a set of trails that offer […] a fascinating experience will linger in your memory.”
Ramón Ramos, Director of the Costa Brava Girona Tourist Board, added: “In Empordà, the focus has traditionally been on small, family-owned vineyards specialising in sweet wines and easy-to-drink rosés made with local grapes like the cariñena. These days however, it is the young DO Empordà red wines famed for their elegance and quality, which are attracting attention.
“In the September 2005 edition of The Wine Advocate, influential wine connoisseur Robert Parker suggested these wines could be the next Priorat, helping put DO Empordà on the world’s wine-producing map.”
Ramón Ramos continued: “From April onwards, the Empordà county will lead the region’s Vivid wine festival with a multitude of wine-related festivities and events that include tastings, workshops, cooking sessions and tours. Therefore, golfers coming to the Costa Brava should prepare to discover fine, flavoursome wines, brimming with authenticity, flavour and opulence.”
Although one of Spain’s smaller Denominations of Origin with 2,020 hectares of vineyards, the DO Empordà counts 423 winegrowers and 45 registered wineries, and produces on average 50,000 hectolitres of wine a year – approximately 3.5 million bottles – from the 10 white grape and 10 red grape varieties grown in the region.
From vineyards planted 260 meters above sea level in the Alt Empordà county to the hills and flat lands that soak in the hot Spanish sun in the Baix Empordàto the south, golfers will be able to discover a fertile region which has more in common with the two adjacent French appellations of Banyuls and Côtes de Roussillon than with other Spanish counties.
Golfers visiting this north-eastern corner of Spain will have the choice of 13 golf courses and 10 Par 3 courses, each providing sharply contrasting landscapes and different playing experiences. Visitors will also be spoilt for choice as Costa Brava offers the highest concentration of Michelin-starred restaurants in the country, accounting for 20 stars to date.
The region is easily accessible to both national and international visitors thanks to GironaCosta BravaAirport, a major Ryanair hub, and BarcelonaInternationalAirport, which is under an hour’s drive away. The newly opened high-speed rail link that connects Girona and Barcelona to the rest of continental Europe also provides a more leisurely travel alternative.
Additional information on Costa Brava can be found at www.costabrava.org and www.golf.costabrava.org
*As ranked by Restaurant Magazine (2013)