40/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Costers del Segre – Arbeca – Vinya Els Vilars – Leix 2008
Always happy with wine! Not only for the beverage as such but all what it brings. New experiences, travel, meeting with interesting people and off course sharing a bottle with friends, together with a good meal and some nice music. Not much more is necessary to enjoy life. It is Sweet and Easy! Happy Days!
The culture of the local wine, and its production, is the best way to discover the D.O. Costers del Segre. The wines here are characterised by the quality of their elaboration and production in cellars full of charm that are located in beautiful natural settings.
Discoveries that combines the gastronomy, culture and geography of Lleida. These can be experienced through the cellars and by enjoying the local gastronomy, discovering the area’s natural and cultural resources and taking part in complementary activities.
Like its wines, Lleida’s cuisine is rich and varied, which is based on natural products produced locally, zero kilometers: fruits, vegetables, olive oils and meats. This is a legacy that coexists with the new cuisine and which is reinvented every day with eyes set on a “delicious” landscape.
The vinicultural tradition of the Lands of Lleida stretches back to the times of the Iberians, as shown by the first seeds of Vitis Vinifera, found at the Iber settlement of Els Vilars de Arbeca. However, it was during the Romanisation of the Terres de Ponent (western territories of Catalonia) that grape growing and wine production really became properly established.
By the 19th century, the grape had become one of the most important crops in the territory, which boasted a total of 119,000 hectares of vineyards. But the subsequent appearance of the phylloxera later caused a drastic reduction in this wine-growing area to 15,000 hectares.
Despite this lamentable misfortune, the wine producing activity of Lleida was soon revived by the entrepreneurial initiatives of wineries such as Castell del Remei and Raimat. These cellars decided to replace the vines affected by the phylloxera and to establish new plantations, introducing innovative varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon.
Their efforts helped to create the D.O.Costers del Segre and to establish its reputation for using the latest, highest quality technology and the most innovative wine production techniques.
Vinya Els Vilars is a young initiative, incorporating Merlot and Syrah, which is quite unusual. The results are low quantity, high quality wine. The production is only around 15.000 liters per harvest and the efforts are meticulous, making sure that the end result is never neglected.
In early 2002 the first vines of Merlot and Syrah were planted, imported from southern France. Over time it was clearly established that the type of terrain and climate were favorable and the vines were thriving. This is one of the great secrets of Vinya Els Vilars, and they opted for a reduced production. The first harvest was in 2003, only 1.000 bottels produced which were never marketed. In the 2004 season there were some 10,000 bottles, and those were quickly sold.
Leix 2008, 100% Syrah
The malolactic fermentation takes place in barrel. It spends 8 months in French oak barrels, 70% new and 30% one year old. I highly recommend decanting, because of aeration but also, there might be natural sediments. Intense, deep red cherry color, slightly bluish, with red middle layer and edges. The nose is sweet, with hints of mineral and terroir and chocolate background with with well integrated oak. Fresh on the palate, easy to drink, good acidity and toasty notes. Slightly balsamic with powerful and long aftertaste. This is a winner!
333 to go!