"We started making ECO wines from the beginning (1991)…; for us, it is more a matter of philosophy than of being commercial."
When it comes to sustainable viticulture and organic production in the DO Priorat, the Clos Galena winery has positioned itself as a pioneer since its inception. What started as a matter of philosophy for the team behind the Catalan brand has now evolved into a clear trend. And in 2017 one of its wines was represented at the Nobel Prize gala. Here at Uvinum, we got the opportunity to sit down for an interview with Toni Coca, the winemaker at Clos Galena, to learn more about the winery and its successes.
In the past few years there has been a growing trend when it comes to eco-friendly or organic wines. What, according to your opinion, is the reason for this development?
Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of health issues, meaning, we are giving more and more attention to what we eat and drink and the ECO-certified products have greater guarantees.
What is the role of Clos Galena in the organic wine movement in Priorat?
We started making ECO wines from the beginning (1991) in Domini de la Cartoixa; for us, it is more a matter of philosophy than of being commercial. Today there are many producers in Priorat who are making ECO wines, it is a clear trend. We were only a few in the beginning but every year we are growing in numbers.
This year the star of our winery is without a doubt the Formiga de Vellut 2014, the wine that was chosen to be served at the Nobel Prize gala in Stockholm.
How does the Formiga wine connect with this event with regards to the values and ethics represented by the Nobel Prizes?
The Formiga de Vellut wine was chosen for this event through blind tasting, which means that those who have tasted it were looking for an honest wine with multiple nuances, freshness and above all a wine with a Mediterranean character.
What impact have you noticed after being represented at the Nobel Prize dinner?
On the media level, it has had a lot of impact; it has given a lot of visibility to both the wine and the winery.
The director of Clos Galena, Merche Dalmau, has already expressed his pride, saying that "it is a great honor that the Formigas del Vellut 2014 wine was served to harmonize the Nobel dinner". Being the winemaker and creator, what are your thoughts on the fact that Formigas was invited to the "most intellectual table in the world"?
Without a doubt the importance is remarkable. Primarily because it was chosen and because of this the most cultured minds of today have now tasted it. For me, it is very gratifying to have played my part in this project and to recognise the remarkable work done by many skilled people also working on this project.
Of all the wines of Clos Galena, which one is your favourite?
Actually, although it sounds a little cliché, all the wines we make have their own personality, which connects with your preferences in different ways depending on the moment, but if I have to choose one I would choose the Clos Galena for its complexity, character, and kindness.
Do you have any special recommendations for others to enjoy a wine that you are passionate about?
It is time, especially to connect with wine, to reach a little further than the obvious, emotion and seduction. I think it often depends more on oneself than on the wine.
Formiga de Vellut 2015
Clos Galena 2013