Vinyes dels Aspres, Stronger Than Me in D.O. Emporda

77/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Emporda – Cantallops – Vinyes dels Aspres – Negre dels Aspres 2009

Stronger Than Me……

…. is the desire to learn more, to experience new places, to taste more wine and finally to write about it! Most days it just flows, today might be the same. I don’t know until I have started, the first few sentences, being the trigger and if that works, I’m off to a good start. The Carnival is finally over! Having visited Carnivals in both Sitges, one more occasions, and Calafell, during which time I have also been covering some wineries and writing about them as well, has proven stressful, but in a good way! But you know what! Thanks Bacchus it is over. So, today is a sweet & easy day. Simple things can be good to, from time to time! I’m getting to old for this kind of lifestyle!

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Vinyes dels Aspres winery is located in the municipality of Cantallops, the most northern inland town of Alt Empordà, sheltered by the Albera mountain range, a territory of gently rounded foothills of the Mediterranean Pyrenees. It is in this area, especially rough and dry, where the vineyards gently rest, all family owned for some generations. The property comprises of about thirty hectares, all of them registered within the “Denominació d’Origen (AOC) Empordà”, with an average age of thirty year-old vines, distributed in fourteen plots.

Vinyes del celler Mas OllŽ, DO Empordˆ,  Torrent, Baix Empordˆ, Girona

Basically they are covering the indigenous varieties of Garnatxa and Carinyena, a few Picapoll vines, as well as Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot. With these varietals fully adapted to the terroir and climatology a wide range of wines are elaborated, especially with the outstanding versatility of Garnatxa, named Lledoner in Empordà, weather it’s the white or red.

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The land component is granite and slate, ancient soils and rocky, very suitable for the production of quality grapes. The combination of land profile and the frequent north wind “tramuntana” affect the performance and yield of the vineyards, the average production being less than two kilos per vinestock. This component, together with a careful agricultural management and the subsequent treatment of the grapes in the winery, are the key to obtaining good wine.

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The winery is located at Can Batlle, an ancestral homestead which appears in records from the 17th century and where wine, olive oil an even cork production date back many years. Notable periods in the history of Can Batlle are that of the thriving years at the beginning of the twentieth century, during the time of ‘teacher grandmother’ Narcisa Vicens, and when one of Narcisa’s daughters married Eduard Toldrà, a celebrated musician and composer who, summer after summer, filled Can Batlle with music and culture. Towards the end of the 1990s, it was decided to continue this work, renovating and restoring the winery in keeping with today’s requirements for wine making.

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Pneumatic press is in use to produce white wines in accordance with the hightest quality requirements, and twelve stainless-steel vats for the maceration and fermentation of grapes at controlled temperatures to produce red wines. The aging of the wine in barrels, all of which are made of French Allier oak, takes place in the ancient cellar, as does its final aging in the bottle. Nowadays the cellar is air conditioned to maintain a constatnt temperature and humidity which favour the optimum development of the must.

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The total production annually is only 40,000 bottles, seven different, perfectly balanced, limited edition wines, worthy of a corner of the world so poor in resources yet so rich in essence. Negre dels Aspres is a coupage of garnatxa and cabemet sauvignon, macerated and aged separately. Aging in Allier oak barrels for one and a half year and similar period rounding in the bottle.

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Negre dels Aspres 2009, 50% Garnacha Negra and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon

The color is intense garnet red with a fine level of slow flowing tears. Aromatic blackberries, ripe and sweet blueberries and Mediterranean herbs. Slight secondary aromas of freshly ground pepper, exotic spices a hint of arak/licorice and star anise. Transmits cocoa, candied fruit, spices on the pallet. Medium maturity, soft tannins, good acidity and quite persistent.  Well balanced and well made wine.

304 to go!

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