Xavier Clua is among the most celebrated winemakers in the up-and-coming Terra Alta region. Born into a family with over four generations in winemaking, he inherited both a gift and passion for cultivating his hometown vineyards.
Xavier began making wine in the tradition of his ancestors, but soon recognized the benefits academic training and foreign winemaking experience could bring. Enrolling at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili, he earned a degree in oenology in 1994 and began working at a number of châteaux in Bordeaux. When Terra Alta called him back to his roots, he was armed with new perspectives and newly learned skills to further develop his family winery. His first contribution was spearheading the expansion of grape varietals on the land -- to the largely Grenache-based vineyards, he planted Ull de Llebre, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay plots that complement local varietals and influenced the development of the entire region.
Cellers Clua currently specializes in producing low-volume, high-quality Grenache blends, like Oriel's own Setena red and white. Blending older, 30-40 year old, low-yield Grenache vines with newer varietals naturally adds great character to the wines. Xavier's technique is to interfere as little as possible in the natural winemaking process. "The essence of simplicity is the best way of making wine," he says.
When Xavier is not looking after his vineyards, he serves on the Tasting Committee of Terra Alta, where he and fellow expert sommeliers test the quality of the region's wines. He also enjoys traveling and exploring new cultures while continuing to search for new techniques in winemaking.