75/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Penedes – Sant Sadurni d’Anoia – Sabaté i Coca – Castellroig Xarel-lo 2012
….if the quality is good enough! As good as the Stones and Amy combined? I’d have to say yes, or at least as diverse….., sometimes looking for that difference in a wine and finding it, putting the finger right on it, is all it takes. The hardest working man in the Penedes is probably, as I haven’t yet met them all, Marcel Sabate i Coca! This guy! Although he has his work cut out, you couldn’t find a more hospitable host and wine maker, ready to receive you at any given moment. Talking wine, soil, grapes and life in general is always a pleasure without comparison.
One of the main reasons I like the small to medium size cellars, is just this. I get to meet the owner/wine maker the guy or girl with the ideas, with the passion! The big ones offer tourist guides, with virtually no connection to the winery. Sure, they know almost everything there is to know and they speak the languages, but you know what. I want the main man or girl! The main man here is and always will be, Marcel!
Let’s say you father has had a thriving business, selling grapes to the mega-cellars of Penedes, such as Freixenet and Codorniu, and making quite ok for himself. Then you come along, after finished wine making studies, and you want to turn his world upside down. What would he say? Dad, let’s make our own wine, with our own label, and only sell the remaining grapes! Sure son, let’s do that. Let’s invest in a wine making, state of the art, facility, new tanks, barrels, the whole ten yards!
That’s what Marcels father agreed to almost 20 years ago. What happened? The big ones stopped buying their grapes all together and they barely survived, but survive they did and the result speaks for itself, but the road has been more than rocky. But oh how happy I am that dad agreed! Cause if not, we wouldn’t be enjoying these excellent wines and Cavas today.
On the one hand, Marcelino Sabaté, the father, is the driving force behind the winery at the Sabaté i Coca estate and the creator of the wine museum located in the old winery of the farmhouse that dates back to the 18th Century. This is an amazing place to engross yourself, where agricultural relics from the past can help us to better appreciate the present and to foster cultivating philosophies which are much more respectful and enable us to fully enjoy the authenticity of the land.
On the other hand, all the knowledge acquired by the past generations is implemented empirically, in the figure of Marcel Sabaté, the son, who represents the fourth generation. The terroirs, the differential harvest, the respect for the land and biodiversity that was applied naturally by the previous generations, now find a technical explanation that takes on particular importance in terms of managing the vine. All this represents a qualitative gain that gives even more added value to the personality and character of Castellroig wine.
Sabaté i Coca is a family business that has produced quality wines and cavas since the beginning of the 20th century. The business is made up of two families from the Valle del Bitlles who have maintained their passion for the land and its wine over the years, and who have managed to transmit the personality of the unique wines that have been born, cultivated and produced in this very special region for over four generations.
On one side we have the Sabaté family in Torrelavit, and on the other the Coca family in Sant Pere de Riudebitlles, who were united together in the form of Montserrat Coca and Marcelino Sabaté when the two of them were joined in matrimony. From then on, the Sabaté and Coca family embarked upon a project to produce quality wine and cava that resulted in the birth of the Castellroig brand in 1985. This name defines the Sabaté i Coca Estate, a fortified country farmhouse dating back to the 18th c., where the land is mainly reddish in color.
Sabaté i Coca is small to medium sized, in terms of the winery and the production volume. In terms of diversity it is huge, especially when it comes to terroir. I have never visited any wine maker with the same kind of opportunities for wine making as they enjoy here. The Sabaté i Coca Estate is distributed across 17 terroirs, 58 parcels and 34 hectares throughout the Valle del Bitlles. In short, the task is to convey the landscape through the wine, ensuring absolute respect for the natural processes involved and caring for the landscape and the different organisms that dwell in it. “We are the ones who adapt to the environment that nature offers us and not the other way round”.
To get the full picture and really understand, you’d have to make an effort and come and visit, hear first hand about the struggle and the visions. And where better to try their wines! Learn the secrets of a true family winery of the Penedes. Discover the whole process that is taking place in their terroir, its micro vinifications and the magical end result in the bottle, the genie in the bottle? Well, almost! Making both still and sparkling wines, methode champanoise, they offer the whole range. It is difficult to pick a favorite, as I find all products, almost without exception, to be of very high standards. So, I promise this, in the future I’ll conduct a more comprehensive tasting! For now, you’ll have to make due with my pick of the day!
Castellroig Xarel-lo 2012, 100% Xarel-lo
Lovely yellow straw color, which is bright and clean. Gentle, quite typical Xarelo-lo notes, of green apples, fruity aromas. Tropical fruits, pineapple and just a hint of passion fruit. Herbal notes and finally followed up by dried fruits. Wine with volume. Creamy and fresh mid palate, that leaves a faint taste of the grape’s sweetness and lingering aromas. Very long finish. This is one of the young wines. Considering the price/quality this is a keeper!
306 to go!