Sometimes, and sometimes way to often, I manage to find wine that checks all the boxes. One I haven’t heard about previously and as such not tried before. One that is tasty, one that is affordable, one that is red, one that has a really nice label and one that is from Catalonia, well, the last tick is frequently the case. At least during the last few years.
Having started a chapter, in Barcelona, of a non-profit wine club that originated in Sweden in the 1950ies, I have plenty of opportunities to try wines from countries all around the world. It is the within the statues of the club, to educated oneself and the members, and to do so in a way that promotes wine in a sensible manner. The additional bonus is my work, which is wine travel. Since my company is based in Catalonia, it is not strange that I have to try lots of Catalan wine, and I enjoy that part of my day to day, very much! Now that is what I call the SweetEasy Lifestyle!
After a full day of adventures, winery visits, cultural explorations and sometimes even a Segway tour it feels like luxury to sit down for a proper dinner together with friends. Even though every winery visit and every professional tasting is looked forward to, because they all share their dreams and visions with me, I need the down time. Now, it really varies what that can consist of. A good book in front of the fireplace, with a glass of Port. Movie time, classic black and white, with a glass of tasty Priorat or simply a five course meal with some like minded wine lovers and a few glasses of some new wines.
The important thing is to feel that one doesn’t have to work constantly. The wineries I visit are found in different ways. Recommendations are received all the time, sometimes bad but mostly really good and some of the gems I have found come through such channels. Internet search, of course. Way impersonal but work is work! Fairs off course, personal but a little bit stressed feel to it. Restaurant visits, check the wine list and make sure you don’t pick a wine you have had before and preferably from a denomination of origin whit less wines tasted in the notebook.
So, this wine was tasted for the first time at a really nice restaurant in Tarragona after a full day of activities!
Whoops, long intro to lead to Rombes d’Arlequi 2010 from Mas Vicenc Celler. Here come the story of a serious wine but to be enjoyed as a Commedia dell’arte. Harlequin inherits his physical agility and his trickster qualities, as well as his name, from a mischievous “devil” character in medieval passion plays. The wine shows similar characteristics.
The cellar of Mas Vicenç is located at the North of Alt Camp in the D.O. of Tarragona. Here the Mediterranean weather provides highly favorable conditions for growing vineyards.
Vicenç Ferré bought a traditional Catalan house in 1953 which was named afterwards as Mas Vicenç. Since then, four generations have already passed through the vineyards, each of which have taken on important roles in the cultivation and winemaking.
In modern time, more effort has been put into the winery, even though the heritage form the basis set in the history of the company. By 2005 it was the older son of the fifth generation, the also named Vicenç Ferré, that took over the rains. His studies and experience in the region of Priorat and the South-east of France cultivated a passion towards the wines that was later transformed to the project of Mas Vicenç. Young, enthusiastic and passionate family feel to the place, and that shows in the wines.
Vicenç Ferré Morató was born in Tarragona and grew up in Cabra del Camp. He is the son of a family dedicated to the vineyard’s cultivation and he learned what is required to look after the vineyards. In 1999, Vicenç began his specialised studies at the School of Enology in Falset, Priorat. During his studies, he worked at the Cooperative of Falset-Marçà (D.O.Montsant), the winery Fuentes (D.O. Priorat) and Concavins (D.O.Conca de Barberà).
Once the academic course of enology ended, his professional life continued in France. For duration of nine months, Vicenç was working in Chateneuf du Pape next to the revolutionary and well-known winemaker Michel Tardieu. In May of 2004, at the age of twenty-one, the young winemaker began to lead the prestigious winery and vineyards of Bodegas Mas Alta in the region Priorat. A year later, he decided to combine the management of Bodegas Mas Alta with the start of his own project, Mas Vicenç in Cabra del Camp.
In 2009, Vicenç decided to leave the project in Priorat to concentrate solely on his winery, where he develops his creativity and applies his experience. Nowadays, Vicenç manages the family company Mas Vicenç being in charge of the technical and commercial departments.
In total the production consists of three whites, three reds and one olive oil. A lot of wine producers find their style, both when it comes to the actual wine but also when it comes to the design of the labels. Creating identity that is easily recognizable is the key. Mas Vicenc has chosen an alternative approach. Just by looking at the labeling it is not easy to conclusively say that all the wines come form the same winery. Tasting the wines just enhances the first impression. Good or bad? I’d say, different! And for me, different is good!
Rombes d’Arlequi 2010, 50% Tempranillo, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon – As this wine is limited in production, only 6.000 bottles made, I suggest you get one if you can.
Medium ruby red color with violet rim. The nose indicates candied plums with vanilla and spices as well as toasted coffee, it is quite elegant in its structure and it keeps growing. Its palate is fresh and has some volume, slight notes of red berries, certainly blue berries with a balsamic end. It has a pronounced flavor, good structure and medium long aftertaste.
359 to go!