Viver d’Espiells, the R&D project of Propietat d’Espiells, a still wine cellar of the Juvé & Camps group, which explores new wine expressions

2022 / 05 / 07
viver d'espiells malvasia de sitges

Viver d’Espiells is the name given to the most recent R&D project of Propietat d’Espiells, the still wine cellar of the Juvé & Camps winery group. The technical team has undertaken this line of research with the concern of exploring and delving into learning about the varieties found on the farm and how they express themselves in the different soils on which they are planted. The basis is to create, each year, microvinifications with different grapes and types of production to observe the behavior of each of them in each vintage. The harvests that, in the opinion of the oenologists, have excellent conditions, will come to light in the form of very limited editions of a few thousand bottles.

The pillars on which the Viver d’Espiells project is based are innovation, because new expressions of the grapes with which the house traditionally works are sought and the winemaking criteria are acted with absolute freedom; experimentation with new aging materials, such as clay or concrete, to obtain the maximum potential of the wines that are produced; and microvinifications, which allow close observation of the behavior of each variety and plot.

The first wine resulting from the work at Viver d’Espiells is a Malvasia de Sitges, one of the varieties recovered in the territory, which for years has been on the brink of extinction, with which the Propietat d’Espiells team has spent time working.

This white, from the 2021 vintage, perfectly reflects what is sought with the project, to which new wines will be added in subsequent vintages, always very limited editions. According to the technical team, in the Penedès there are up to 300 different clones of Malvasía de Sitges, a variety that bordered on the danger of extinction due to the difficulties posed by its cultivation, with currently only 65 hectares planted, which represents 0 .53% compared to white varieties and 0.42% compared to the total. In the Propietat d’Espiells, the Viver project has worked with its own vineyard planted on loamy-clayey-calcareous land.

For the microvinification of the Malvasia, the 2021 vintage was chosen, which had a very dry spring and summer, with less than half the rain than usual, but with very healthy plants, which led to a harvest with grapes from excellent quality and very balanced, despite the fact that it was not a very large production. The harvest began at the beginning of September and fruits with a probable high alcoholic strength and excellent acidity were collected, which led to the prediction of a magnificent quality of the resulting wines.

The elaboration is another of the keys to Viver d’Espiells. In the case of the malvasía de Sitges, the wine began to ferment in a tank at a controlled temperature. Halfway through this process, part (47% of the must) was transferred to new 500 and 300-litre barrels to continue fermentation and subsequent aging with periodic bâtonnage, which lasted up to six months. Another part of the wine (33%) that began to ferment in the tank ended up doing so in 160-litre clay amphorae, where it remained for six months. The rest of the wine (20%) completed its fermentation in the tank and a subsequent aging for the same time as the previous wines. The objective of this triple vinification is to increase the complexity of the wine, so that the barrel provides structure and volume, the amphora, concentration and smoothness, and the stainless steel tank maintains the freshness and aromatic charm of this variety.

The result is a tremendously expressive white wine, with aromas of flowers and fresh fruit characteristic of the Sitges malvasia. In the mouth it is very fresh, with a lively acidity, a round and velvety texture and a fresh finish. The wine already promises an excellent evolution in the bottle.

Only 2,634 bottles of this Malvasía de Sitges have been produced from this first fruit of Viver d’Espiells, which will be marketed in limited channels due to low production. Its RRP is €16.60 and it can be found in selected restaurants, specialized wine bars, in the e-shop of the Juvé & Camps group and/or in the physical store of the winery.