Celler Capcanes, Hava Nagila in D.O. Montsant

82/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Montsant – Capcanes – Celler Capcanes – Peraj Ha’abib 2010

…., Let’s rejoice, let’s rejoice and be happy, let’s sing and be happy, would be the translation of Hava Nagila, that has become a staple of band performers at Jewish weddings and Bar/Bat Mitzvahs. Now a days, as they are celebrating, they can also do so with a Kosher wine from Montsant, and the multitude of workers and vintners of Celler Capcanes can sing and be happy! Since the choice has been to write mainly about small wineries, this one feels rather large, but  as it is consisting of small vine growers forming a unity, still feels alright!
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Labeled “A village with spirit”, Capcanes has gone through hardships over the years, but with great insight, expectations for the future and positive thinking as well as making brave business decisions, they have emerged as a leading wine making village. A lot has to do with the co-operative cellar of the village, the Celler de Capcanes!
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Prior to Phylloxera at the turn of the 19th century, the area  was very densely planted but after the devastation caused by this insect only about 1/5th of the original vineyards were replanted predominantly with Garnacha which was the popular grape variety.
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Some of those vineyards, approaching 100 years of age, still exist and are in production with low yields and high qualityTo compete in the wine market, a change was needed and in 1933 five families from the village collaborated to establish a Cooperative that would handle the large quantities of grapes in an efficient and sound financial way. economically and efficiently.
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The foundation of the Cooperative led to a change in the commercial prospects for Capçanes; suddenly they could offer large volumes of wine at competitive prices for bulk sales. The cooperative processed the village´s production and the wine was sold off in bulk until 1980 when they started to sell their grapes off prior to fermentation. This state of affairs continued until 1998 when the decision was taken to process all the village´s grapes at the cooperative.
The kosher room.

The kosher room.

However the real changes had begun in 1995 when, in a mirror image of activities just down the road in Priorat, processes were started to realise the quality of the grapes they were growing. The impetus for the change came about when the Jewish community of Barcelona asked Capçanes if they could produce a kosher wine. This demanded the installation of new equipment allowing the winemakers to identify, isolate and vinify under controlled “Lo Mebushal” conditions, the very small parcels with high quality fruit.

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The ground was laid for production not only of Kosher wine but also limited quantities of a range of fruit driven wines. The Kosher wine was a success and the Capçanes brand, Flor de Primavera, enjoys a reputation amongst the highest in the world. Nowadays, the total production comes to 650.000bottles, 250.000 liters local bulk wine sales plus bag in box.

vinos_kosherAt Capçanes two winemakers pool their talents. Ángel Teixido is the most experienced winemaker in the winery and he is in charge of the vineyard control as well. Jürgen Wagner, having studied at Geisenheim and University of Tarragona, brings his experience in composing and styling the blends. Continuous development shows that Capçanes not only has the raw material to produce worldclass wines but nowadays also the facilities and most importantly the people to achieve it.

kosher-wineWine, more than any other food or drink, represents the holiness and separateness of the Jewish people. It is used for the sanctification of Shabbat and Yom Tov and at Jewish celebrations. In the Beit Hamikdash (Holy Temple) wine was poured upon the Altar together with the sacrifice. However, since wine was and still is used in many forms of idolatrous worship, it has a unique status in Jewish Law, which places extra restrictions on the making and handling of wine. This includes wine used for non-ceremonial purposes.

DSC00901The production and handling of kosher wine must be done exclusively by Jews. Wine, grape juice, and all products containing wine or grape juice must remain solely in Jewish hands during the manufacturing process and also after the seal of the bottle has been opened. Is not allowed to drink any wine or grape juice, or any drink containing wine or grape juice, which has been touched by a non-Jew after the seal of the bottle has been opened. The exhaustive protocol of the winemaking process based on Jewish Law demands to meet the next requirements;

  • Fermentation tanks and materials used in the production must been “kosherizados” and to be used exclusively for the kosher wine process.
  • All of the raw materials used for wine making must been certified for Jewish Law (that is, all of them must to have kosher certificate).
  • The process begins by filling up the tanks with water three times, and with intervals of 24 hours.
  • When the grapes arrives at the winery to be dumped in the hopper, the Rabbi -or Jewish competent person, with kosher know-how, are hands on and and extension of the winemaker hands. The Rabbi follows all the instructions given by the winemaker, and the wine is finally made, and can be approved as a kosher wine

5_1291679217The wine elaborated at Celler Capcanes is following Jewish Law and is under the supervision of the prestigious Rabbinate OU from the USA and Kosher Federation of London in close collaboration with local Rabbis of Chabad Lubavitch.

General conditions;

  • minimum age of vines : 4 years
  • no organic fertilizer
  • high hygiene and cleaning conditions
  • added bacteria, yeast, enzymes are not allowed
  • Gelatin, Casein are prohibited for fining
  • Bentonit is allowed, Egg white as well, but has be opened and checked by the Rabbi
  • only new bottles are allowed
  • in the 7th year (Sabbath year) you are not allowed to pick the grapes (regeneration)
  • 1% of the wine has to be given to poor people
  • only Sabbath observing Jewish are allowed to vinify it, to get “physically and visually” in contact with the wine

Reference websites:

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Peraj Ha’abib 2010, 40% Garnacha, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Samsó (Cariñena)

Maceration of 30 days. Aged 12 months in new French oak barrels, which are also kosher certified. Rests three months in tanks before bottling. It is considered the best kosher wine produced outside of Israel. Wine of great potential that allows for long storage.

Opaque, dark cherry color with intense purple borders. Clean and bright with abundant and very dense tears. Powerful, expressive, complex and elegant. Red and black berries, wood, ripe blackberries. Aromas of cherry, plums and currant. Some coffee and licorice. Rich and full-bodied with ripe fruit and creamy tannins. Fresh and mineral, great balance of acidity and minerality. Immensely long and very persistent. A very elegant wine, rich and expressive, powerful and intense! Let us rejoice! Sing and be happy!

299 to go!

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