This is the lifetime project of María Jesús de Polanco and her Welsh husband Guy Jones. Located in the heart of Les Gavarres massif, in the village of Cruïlles-Monells-Sant Sadurní de l'Heura in Baix Empordà (Catalonia), the property has an old masía (the region’s traditional farmhouse) with vineyards surrounded by Mediterranean forests.
Vines were planted at the beginning of the 2000s and the first vintage to reach the market was 2007. Organic and biodynamic farming is the norm here with all the wines bearing the organic seal. International varieties were the initial choice: Cabernet, Merlot, Syrah, Carmenère —a very exotic grape for Spain— and Viognier together with indigenous Carignan and White Picapoll totalling 7.5Ha. More recently, eight small plots up on the mountains have been planted with three different types of Garnacha: red, white and gris.
Current production stands at 15,000 bottles with three different ranges of wines reflecting a growing interest for indigenous grapes –in fact, some of the foreign varieties like Cabernet and Carmenère have already been regrafted. Their new entry-level range is called Flow —fresh, easy-to-drink, natural-style wines offering good value at around €11. It includes a rare single-varietal Carignan made as a blanc de noirs, and two blends of Merlot, Carignan and Syran in red and rosé versions. Next comes the red Arketipo (€22 in Spain) with a similar blend and the sapid and saline white Meravelles (€34, around 900 bottles), which means “wonders” in Catalan. A blend of White and Grey Grenache with some Picapoll it matures in uncoated amphorae called doliums. They are inspired in those used by the Romans; according to María Jesús, they are less porous than oak. Both Arketipo and Meravelles are natural wines.
The high-end wines bear the name of the winery. Sota els Àngels white (€25) blends Viognier and Picapoll in almost equal parts, while the red includes Carmenère, Syrah, Carignan, Merlot and Carignan. This wine is expected to undergo a makeover and will be sourced only from Garnacha vines planted on the mountains. Fredi Torres, who makes wines in Priorat, Montsant and Ribeira Sacra, is currently consulting for Sota els Àngels and encouraging the shift towards indigenous grapes.
The entry-level red Desea, a blend of Carmenère, Syrah, Carignan and Merlot, was discontinued in 2012, but all the vintages that are still maturing in the cellars will be released onto the market. It must be said that Sota els Àngels reds made with foreign varieties are aged for long periods of time and are fine and elegant with distinctive round, smooth tannins.
Winery tours must be arranged in advance.