Sota Els Angels

Emporda, Spain
At a Glance
  • Certified Organic in Spain and Practicing Biodynamic
  • Refreshing and racy natural wines
  • Fredi Torres is the consulting winemaker

The windswept beaches and mountains of the Costa Brava, the popular coastal region north of Barcelona, are home to Catalunya’s most ancient wine region: Empordà. The Greeks arrived on these shores (already home to many indigenous Iberian tribes), in the 6th century BCE, followed a few hundred years later by the Romans. Both groups brought wine and winemaking to the new settlements they built as they colonized Catalunya.

Nowadays, Empordà wines are not easy to find outside of the local market, which is dense with Michelin stars, ambitious restaurants, and a thirsty clientele who flock there to experience distinctive coastal wines with daring local cuisine (not surprising for a vacation paradise that is also the home of gastronomic temples El Bulli and El Celler de Can Roca, and the many chefs and neighbors they inspired). While many Empordà wineries are intent on expressing the region’s intense slate and granite terroirs in the powerful style of Priorat wines, the soils and grape varieties across Empordà are quite heterogeneous and offer innovative wineries the option to produce fresh, food-friendly wines that channel the sun and salt of the Mediterranean with levity and elegance.

in 2004, Maria Jesus Polanco and Guy Jones moved to a secluded farm five kilometers from the Mediterranean Sea in Baix Empordà, just east of Girona, in the shadow of the Els Àngels mountains. They planted new vines (the property had vineyards before phylloxera and in the 1950s) and set about farming and learning their land. In 2007, Sota Els Àngels (“under the angels” in Catalan) was born. In 2013, Maria and Guy joined forces with Fredi Torres, the talented, versatile Galician-Swiss DJ-turned-winemaker behind such diverse projects as Silice Viticultores in Ribeira Sacra and Lectores Vini (Conca de Barberà, Montsant, and Priorat). Together, they improved the health and expression of the vineyards and wines, bringing the personality of this special place to the forefront. Today, Sota Els Àngels consists of eight hectares of biodynamically farmed, certified organic vineyards on a combination of steep, broken slate mountainsides, and silty loam soils with silica on the farm below, planted to Carignan, Carignan Blanc, Grenache, Grenache Gris, Grenache Blanc, Merlot, Syrah, Viognier, and Picapoll Blanc.

In a good year, the winery produces around 20,000 bottles, though this number can vary radically, depending on vintage conditions and the persistent challenges of extreme humidity and fierce northerly Tramontana winds. Sota’s range of wines is precise and fresh, following the lead of their soils and Maria, Guy, and Fredi’s mutual preference for subtle, expressive wines. The Sota Els Àngels label is dedicated to complex and age-worthy whites, rosés, and reds, which are serious and textured, yet mouth-watering and light on the palate. Flow is their second label of racy and refreshing natural wines, equally delicious served on the beach, ahike, or the dinner table.