60-67/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Conca de Barbera – Falset – Hotel-Hostal Sport – 8 Wines Tasted
… and it did! Was expecting a well arranged tasting with some nice wines from D.O. Conca de Barbera. Got that, and more! According to the invitation from Marta and Ruth, Hotel-Hostal Sport in Falset, who were arranging the tasting, we were supposed to taste 6 wines, which is some kind of standard for these types of tastings. Final number was 8! And the wines they make in the Conca de Barbera, Yes!
The cicerone of this tasting was CArles Andreu, wine maker and president of the D.O. Conca de Barbera. A man, as he himself described it, from the vine. “I’m a vintner who loves wine”, he’s knowledge of Conca de Barbera is unmatched and it was a pleasure to listen to him.
This was the second of 12 tastings over the year to come, covering the D.O;s of Catalonia. These tasting are a way to promote Catalan wine and the Catalan D.O:s at the symbolical price of 5 Euro per tasting, so, if you want to know more about the wines from the regions of Catalonia, make sure to get to Falset and enjoy some really good wines together with other wine lovers! Can’t wait for the next DO-tasting!
A little bit about D.O. Conca de Barbera before we get going with the tasting notes!
Most of the vineyards are located around the historic town of Montblanc, and the DO covers a total of 14 municipalities in the north of the province of Tarragona: Barberà de la Conca, Blancafort, Conesa, L’Espluga de Francolí, Forès, Montblanc, Pira, Rocafort de Queralt, Sarral, Senan, Solivella, Vallclara, Vilaverd and Vimbodí i Poblet.
The vineyards are planted in the valleys of the rivers Francolí and Anguera and are surrounded and protected by mountain ranges: the Serra de Montclar, Codonymountain and Serra de Comalats in the north, the Serra de Miramar and Cogulló in the east, the Serra de Prades in the south, and the Serra del Tallat and Serra de Vilobí in the west.
The land is mainly flat or slightly undulating at heights of between 350 and 600 m above sea level. Most of the vines are on dark lime bearing soils, quite loose and poor in organic matter. Towards the foothills of the Sierra de Prades slate can be found in the rock.
The climate is temperate Mediterranean, with hot summers and cold winters. The average annual temperature is 14°C with extremes of 35°C in summer and -6°C in winter. There is a risk of frost in spring for the vineyards at the highest altitudes. Rainfall is mainly in autumn and the average annual figure is around 500 mm.
The mountain ranges protect the area from the wind, while the high altitude means that the summers are not too hot. Humidity is slightly higher than in neighbouring DO’s. The vines receive around 2,500 hours of sunlight per year.
The traditional grapes used are Macabeo and Parellada for the production of white wines and cava, and Garnacha, Trepat and Tempranillo (known locally as Ull de Llebre) for red wines. However, the Regulatory Council of the DO has also authorised some foreign varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot noir, Syrah and Chardonnay. White varieties represent about two thirds of the vines planted.
The older vines are planted as low bushes (en vaso), while the more recently planted ones are on trellises(en espaldera) to increase production. Planting density is around 2,000 – 2,500 vines per hectare, though the maximum authorised density is 4,500 vines/ha.
Four types of wine are produced in Conca de Barberà: a white varietal wine using Parellada grapes, different blends of whites and reds, and the rosés. The rosés are made using the native Trepat variety of grape. The white wines represent about two thirds of all wine production. Most reds and rosés are best consumed young.
Wine No. 1 – Portell Blanc de Blancs, 2013, Macabeo and Parellada.
Delicate yellow straw color with greenish rims. Clean, young and bright. On the nose it has an average intensity, white fruit and semi intense flavours with various floral, menthol notes. Pear, peaches and candy. Balanced. This white wine from Conca de Barbera has a nice entrance which is light, fresh with a pleasant acidity. Flattens out a bit to fast, but certainly a wine to be enjoyed during the hotter days of summer. The Parellada is dominating, showing flowers all over this one!
Wine No. 2 – Celler Rosa M. Torres , 2010, 100% Viognier.
Slight pale golden. Intense nose with primary notes ripe fruit, round and clean nose. Expressive to complex, secondary of honey, roses, ripe pears and almonds. Structured, well balanced with good acidity. Dry, medium long after taste with balanced acidity. Elegant and well made wine!
Wine No. 3 – Bodegas Concavins, Clos Montblanc Rosat, 2011, Coupage of Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Tempranillo, Trepat
Clear cherry to light purple. Clean nose, medium fresh, direct. Frozen strawberries and strawberry marmalade, fresh red fruits. Mild acidity, medium long, slightly unbalanced. Fruity, uncomplicated, nice summer wine, typical rose.
Wine No. 4 – Castell D’or, Francoli 2011, Ull de Llebre and Trepat
Clear medium intense colour, dark cherry to ruby. Macerated fruit, toasted caramel, meaty, slight minerals showing. Leather, spicy, green pepper. Meaty and tasty in the mouth. Mouth filling and balanced with toasted notes. Well developed, well made but slightly uninteresting wine.
Wine No. 5 – Celler Cal Gasset, Sanstrave Partida del Jueus, 2009, Merlot, Garnatxa, Ull de llebre, Trepat, Cabernet sauvignon
Deep cherry colour with a garnet rim. Undeveloped, closed, slightly chemical antiseptic. Needs time to open up. Burnt butter. After a while it opened up, Aromas of candied fruit, honeyed notes and aromatic coffee came as secondary after quite some time. Filling with a pleasant acidity and good balance. Long after taste. This IS a good wine but needs proper decanting. Stylish!
Wine No. 6 – Celller Rende Masdeu, Manuela Ventosa, 2008, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.
Intense red colour with violet hues, many layers. The nose is complex with ripe aromas, spicy, creamy. Secondary of oak, toast, complex. Powerful, rich mouth with ripe tannins. In the mouth it is tasty and fatty, with a smooth entry and evolution. It has a sweet tannin sensation. The aftertaste is reminiscent of cherry jam. long after taste. Well made and well balanced!
Wine No. 7 – SCP de Montblanc, Gatzara 2012, Trepat
Clear and clean but thin purple colour, considering this is a red wine. Spicy, liquorice, fennel and marzipan. Lovely nose, which keeps on coming. Light in the mouth. Slightly unbalanced tannins, medium after-taste. Cherry and almonds. Interesting wine, though unbalanced, fruity and different! Has a personality which I like!
Wine No. 8 – Carles Andreu, Trepat 2010, Trepat
Bright medium ruby with slight rims of terracotta. Fruity, rich with berries, ripe strawberries. Complex and slight arrack notes. Vanilla and balsamic, bitter note at the end. Filling the mouth nicely without being heavy. Buttery, balanced acidity with a long after-taste. Harmonious! High quality with a major danger, to easy to drink!
And the WINNER is Wine No. 8 – Carles Andreu, Trepat 2010! Can drink this forever! I’m loving it!
313 to go!