All at Herència Altés are justly proud of their brand new and virtually subterranean winery, with a barrel room that is completely below ground. Being underground minimises their impact on the landscape, maximises thermal efficiency and lowers energy usage. Indeed, the complex is powered almost exclusively by solar panels. It is an impressive facility that is indicative of the level of commitment of founders and owners Nùria Altés and her partner Rafael De Haan, who established the brand of Herència Altés in Nùria's native region in 2010 when she decided to stop selling the fruit to a local cooperative.
Nùria grew up here, playing among her grandfather’s vines and the first vintage she and Rafael released as Herència Altés was made from grapes that they bought from her father.
The success of the wines meant that they could buy their own vineyard in 2013 and they continued to grow, building the new winery in Nùria’s hometown of Batea. Today they own 14 hectares of vines themselves and have access to the vineyards of her family over several sites in Terra Alta, a little but increasingly recognised region south-west of Priorat.
The garnatxa blanca, for example, comes from a vineyard of sandy-clay at 450m above sea level. Such altitude tempers the warmth of the Mediterranean sun and two winds blow here that have a major influence on the grapes, with a north-westerly wind called the ‘Cerç’ bringing cooler conditions that help to retain freshness, and the ‘Garbi’ that is a milder breeze from the sea to the east that helps to ripen the grapes fully. Both winds also mitigate against vine diseases too, and all of their vineyards are currently converting to organic status.
The couple and their winemaker Jaime Clua, a fellow Terra Altan from a nearby town, have worked closely with experienced winemaker Claude Gros, a Frenchman from the Languedoc, experimenting with techniques to hone their range and maximising the potential of their superb terroir.