Oreta Xida is a small batch Artisan Distillery set in the heart of the Ribera Sacra wine growing region of North West Spain. Famed for its “vendimea heroica” or heroic grape harvest, the region produces some of the finest wines in Spain and equally some of the finest spirits too. Using time-honoured methods our team of specialist distillers seek to preserve the culture and tradition of distilling in the region in order to produce high quality liquors and spirits that reflect the essence of the region
Galicia in North West Spain and its southern neighbour Portugal have a long a long established tradition in the making of Aguardiente (Aqua Vitae, or Water of Life). Limited in its production in the region, the practice of distillation of grapes became widespread after contact with Arabic cultures in the 8th century and the introduction of the alembic, or still. The traditional Portuguese alembic has a distinct shape with a rounded onion shaped head (earlier distillers believing that the rounded shape aided the return of water vapours into the pot thus producing a higher quality aguardiente. Initially these distilled waters of life were used for their therapeutic qualities as they were thought to have healing powers as they induced a feeling of relaxation and contentment. Part of our mission statement here at Oreta Xida is to preserve these traditional methods of producing aguardiente.
Oreta Xida exclusively uses copper alembic stills that are based on old Moorish designs that are still widely used throughout the Iberian Peninsula and southern Europe. The stills themselves consist of three parts: the “cucurbit” (Arabic ḳarʿa, Greek βίκος, bikos), which is the large still pot containing the product to be distilled, the “head” or “cap” (Arabic anbiḳ, Greek ἄμβιξ, ambix) which covers the cucurbit and acts as a vessel for condensing rising vapour which runs down a spout into the final part of the still , the “receiver” (Arabic ḳābila, Greek ἄγγος, angos, or φιάλη, phialē).