22/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Penedes/D.O Cava – El Pla de Manlleu – Mas de la Basserola – Cava Brut Nature Seleccio
Qualsevol nit pot sortir el sol (The sun can rise any night)
Magic does happen! At least in El Pla de Manlleu together with friends, a really well prepared Calcotada and a glass of great Cava, or two, or three! El Pla de Manlleu is not Barcelona, Vilafranca or Sant Sadurni d’Anoia. In the village of El Pla de Manlleu is where real Catalan life is happening on a daily basis.
To discover and enjoy true hospitality of the region, this is where you have to go. Very dear friends, from Amsterdam, have set up camp here. And when I say camp, I really mean that they have found a Catalan Masia.
To get out of the rat race, this is where they have decided to move, in the very near future, to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam, enjoy life and grow old.
Fortunate to have friends like that, allows for additional discoveries of wineries which I otherwise might not find. The village is slightly remote, although if you know how to get there, easily accessible.
The village is in the municipality of Aiguamúrcia, Alt Camp. Located at the eastern end of the county, on the right bank of the Marmellar stream, a tributary of the river Foix and north- east of the Sierra Montmell.
It had 146 inhabitants, the last time I checked, with an additional two moving there soon. In one of the houses there is a wine & Cava cellar and another house is dedicated to rural tourism. You will find a bar/restaurant, the Casa Social (also a bar and the local hangout), a baker, a butcher and that’s it! What more do you need?
Southwest of the town, in the woods, the Romanesque chapel of San Miquel, from the thirteenth century, can be visited.
Part of El Pla de Manlleu families inhabited the now abandoned hamlet of Selma, not far from the village. Selma was the headquarter of a Templar order following the dissolution of The Knights Hospitaller. In this village you can find the ruins of the old castle and the Gothic church of Sant Cristòfol.
Mas de la Basserola winery, is located not far from the village. Now, I could tell you where exactly but then I’d have to find you and kill you! No, no, this little gem is a secret only shared if and when you come to visit!
The old Masia has been there since 1843 and mostly the work has consisted in working the land. As the vineyards are located at high altitudes, it is ideal for Parellada. The coupage of their Cavas is therefore containing more Parellada than you’d normally find in the Catalan Cavas. In addition to the Parellada the only use Macabeu.
The grapes are farmed organically with a low yield and high extraction of earth tones and great harmony between sugar and acidity. The harvest is quite late, due to the altitude of 560m above sea level and harvested manually. An area that marks a qualitative difference due to the microclimate.
Parellada is one of my favorite grapes! Lucky me as I’m encountering more and more single variety wines made with Parellada, and more are coming. Besides the Cava I am covering in this article, Mas de la Basserola also produces a light (Parellada 100%) still wine.
It is a white grape variety of Catalan origin. Being one of the three traditional varieties used to make Cava, which is primarily produced in Catalonia. Parellada is also used in blended still wines as well as a handful of varietal wines. They tend to be gentle wines, with a delicate floral nature and low alcohol levels.
It has good acidity and freshness which makes these wines extremely suitable for aperitifs. A prime example of this is the micro-distilled Obsello Absinthe which, in addition to being produced in the same region, uses the wine of these grapes in its base spirit. It performs best at higher altitudes, where the growing season is longer and cooler, allowing the grape’s trademark acidity and citrus flavors to develop fully.
It is widely planted grape in the Penedes region of Catalonia, though less extensively than its Cava partners Macabeo and Xarel-lo. It imparts a green-apple character on the wine it helps to produce and marries well with the body of Macabeo and the earthen flavors of Xarel-lo. Parellada is also used in blended still wines as well as a handful of varietal wines.
Mas de la Basserola – Cava Brut Nature Seleccio, Parellada/Macabeu
This is a well structured, balanced, fresh and fruity Cava. The crianza is well done which has led to a nice integration of the carbon dioxide, resulting in a soft and pleasant experience. The color is clear yellow straw with a light green hue and steady and fine bubbles. The aromas are subtle, complex and expresses a touch of yeast, brioche and white fruit. Dry, tasty and elegant notes. Good acidity, gives of a medium long finish.
345 to go!