Mas Llunes, Forever Green in D.O. Emporda

134/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Emporda – Garriguella – Mas Llunes – Rhodes 2008

Forever Green….

…. let the forrest be forever green! On the edge of the  mountain range of the Albera, in undulating hills, rows of vines grow through pine, oak forests and some olive trees, forming a tapestry of changing colors every season, framing the blue Mediterranean sea and the white mountains of Canigó.  This is where the wines of Mas Llunes are born, wines with a noticeable Ampurdanés charactermodern and respectful with a family winemaking tradition of over 700 yearsmoving this generous and captivating nature to the bottle and the glass.

masllunesThe name derives from the name of the vineyards and as the property was acquired, the new owners didn’t want to change the name. The winery itself was built during the turn of the millennium, equipped with a modern winemaking system. The 48 hectares of vineyard produce around 200.000 Kg of grapes, which is all vinified in the cellar.

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The constructed surface is 1.260 square meters and the capacity of the vessels is 3.600 hl. The ageing cellar, with more than 200 French oak barrels, is located underground, this way the wine in kept and stabilized a good temperature all year.

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The landscape is harsh and irregular, caressed by a strong north wind called Tramuntana. The Mediterranean climate clearly presents conditions suited for growing vine. Past generations have created the legacy for the wine making culture here, making this area a sight for those who decide to visit.

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Rhodes 2008, 72% Samsó and 28% Syrah

Rhodes, the current town of Roses was founded in the VIII century BC by the ‘Rodios,’ and it is the most ancient Greek colony in Catalonia. It ia also highly probably that the range Serres Prelitorals of Rodes and the Albera form the most ancient vine-growing landscape of the Iberian Peninsula. The rose that decorates the label, is the symbol of Rhodes on the ancient coins (drachmas) of the colony.

Purple colour. Powerful aroma of ripe red fruit, licorice, cocoa and species. On the palate it is fresh, balanced, tasty with character and personality. A good accompaniment for both red and white meats, game, sausages, cured cheeses, vegetable stews and rice dishes.

245 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

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Vinya els Vilars, Happy in D.O. Costers del Segre

133/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Costers del Segre – Arbeca – Vinya Els Vilars – Gerar 2010

Happy……

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Gerar 2010, 100% Merlot

Gerar 2010 is made from 100% merlot. It is a strong wine, with a bright purple colour which is left to mature for 12 months in a French Oak cask. This wine possesses a strong aroma of ripe fruits and is sweet on the palate, with an épicé final note. Recommend decanting this wine about a half-hour before serving it.

246 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

 

Clos Montblanc, Drift Away in D.O. Conca de Barbera

132/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Conca de Barbera – Come Va? & VinoDIvino – Clos Montblanc – Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Drift Away…..,

…., beginning to think that I’m wasting time, I don’t understand the things I do, the world outside looks so unkind, I’m counting on you! I’m counting on the company of good friends and it has been a great week! Not counting the weekdays starting from Monday, just taking into account the last seven days, irrespective of weekdays! Sometimes it takes planning and consideration with regards to the people around me, but mostly it works out just fine.

The Calafell beach goes on and on!

The Calafell beach goes on and on!

Come Va? How is it going? Well, let me tell you! It’s going just fine, how can it not? The small coastal town of Calafell is quite dead during the off season, but comes alive once the summer starts. Cosy? Not really, but you’ll find the odd eatery and the beach is splendid! There’s also a wine shop, VinoDIvino (Divine wine!) which I like to visit on occasions! The owner Edu is a gentile man, offering a glass to taste, always taking the time to discuss wines and sharing his local knowledge. A true source of inspiration.

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I am not the only expatriate here, and among the different European and non-European nationalities ther’s also the wondering Italian here and there. Anywhere in the world I have made Italian friends they tend to be in the restaurant trade. I lived in Dar es Salaam for a while and even there, my Italian connections consisted of foodies! In Calafell, somehow, I managed to find the same type in Massimiliano! A huge Italian guy with passion for the fine art of food! He’s the owner of Come Va? restaurant in Calafell and if you are ever in the hood, you should try it, if Italian is what you yearn for. A living-room setting and you know you’ll be well looked after, eating and drinking great stuff!

Va Bene! How can it not! If you turn the view 1809 degrees, the Mediterranean lies before you!

Va Bene! How can it not! If you turn the view 1809 degrees, the Mediterranean lies before you!

A couple of times a month, Edu and Massimiliano put their heads together and offer a wine/food pairing for basically no money. They do it, so that foodies and wine lover can come together and taste some of the good stuff the region has to offer. Sometimes they offer wines from Italy or other countries and also Grappa or other hard liquors but I’d say that it mostly revolves around what they find in the Catalan appellations. Point being, let’s get together and have a great time!

Edu and Massimiliano starting of tonight's event! Homely felling, like being at a friends place.

Edu and Massimiliano starting of tonight’s event! Homely felling, like being at a friends place.

A couple of days ago, an invitation arrived….., and just to do something different…., I went! Conca de Barbera was up for grabs and the winery this time was Clos Montblanc, not all to unfamiliar. Although a large, almost bulk producing winery, but they still keep some kind of quality to their production and among the five wines tried my mind appreciated the Sauvignon Blanc the most. It was paired with a mushroom spinach lasagna, served with a mushroom paste. Great pairing and maybe that’s why I liked it so much?

A smoked ham parcel filled with burrata mozzarella! Delicious!

A smoked ham parcel filled with burrata mozzarella! Delicious!

I'll just share this one with my kid brother and then it's time for bed!

I’ll just share this one with my kid brother and then it’s time for bed!

During the course of the evening, several dishes were served, all well thought through, having a themed name and paired with the different wines by Edu. After two whites, two reads and a pinkish Cava, it was time for the youngest amongst us to depart, while the old folks kept on discussing the event!

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Clos Montblanc, Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Bright straw color. Expressing the grape, which to me was a bit of surprise, normally they don’t use a lot of Sauvignon Blanc in the Conca de Barbera, but this one was true to the varietal. Subtle floral aromas. White pear, fresh fruit. Grapefruit, but very light touches, as well as some tropical fruit and slight grassy notes.  Flavorful, fresh and fruity in the mouth with quite some length. Not the best white from Conca but certainly went well with the pasta from Come Va?

247 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

El Cortijo de…, Let’s Go Get ‘Em in DOQ Priorat

131/365 – Catalonia – DOQ Priorat – Canovelles – El Cortijo de…. – Clos Nelin 2009

Let’s Go Get ‘Em……

….., and so we did! Miguel felt like cooking again, yes, he’s done it before, right here! The food, excellent as always, the wines, great…., as always! But the best thing of all, the people! Great friends enjoying another great Sunday together! Cured meats, three types of fish baked in Miguels big ass oven, fiduea (a typical noodle dish of the region), lamb shoulders and it just kept coming. If he stops working as a teacher I’m going to employ him as my personal chef!

Migule making sure the kitchen is ready for tonight's snack!

Migule making sure the kitchen is ready for tonight’s snack!

For me as a wine lover it was an exceptional afternoon. We managed to cover some of the best wine making parts of Spain but also S.A., Italy and France! Catalonia? Would I be at a wine get together if there weren’t Catalan wines? Well, honestly, sure I would! But fortunately for the blog, there were some great Catalan wines, fighting with the others for the “favorite of the day award”. Didn’t quite make it all the way this time as Toro took the gold with Termanthia from 2004! A wonderful wine!

A nice selection during a Sunday lunch!

A nice selection during a Sunday lunch!

My Catalan choice of the day is Clos Nelin from Clos Mogador and Rene Barbier, one of the greatest wine makers of the Priorat. I’m not going to cover Clos Mogador, as there has been miles and miles of articles written about both the winery and Rene! A great man with a enormous passion for wine and especially for the Priorat!

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Thank you Miguel for the tasty lunch and thank you, Rene Barbier, for Clos Nelin! A wine which could go head to head with some of the greatest! And a huge thank you to my very dear friend, Agustín Palomé Garcia, for the wine selection!

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Clos Nelin 2009, Garnacha Blanca, Macabeo, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, Roussanne and Viognier

The blend spends 9 months ageing on lees. Rene’s aim is to produce a truly unique wine that reflects both the rocky, sun drenched soil of Priorat while at the same time paying homage to the historical wines of the area. It’s something he has achieved brilliantly. The unusual grape mix and the climate of Priorat lends the wine enormous concentration and texture, while the extraordinary slate (llicorella) soils give a tangy freshness, especially on the finish. It is a delicious, intriguing wine that almost defies a tasting note. To describe it as tasting like the bastard offspring of a Chateauneuf Blanc and a mineral white Burgundy doesn’t quite do it justice! I’ll just say this! Balanced, excellent composition and impossible to pair with todays food!

248 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

Bodegas Parxet, Time Stops in D.O. Alella

130/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Alella – Tiana – Bodegas Parxet – Titiana Pinot Noir Rosé 2012

Time Stops……

What I miss, at times, is the possibility to multiply into two or three, so that I could cover more ground and be at several places at the same time! I wonder why they (Egyptians and Babylonians) decided we should have only 24 hours in a day? Does not work for me! So, probably have to do something about it. Sleep less? Spend fewer minutes in the bathroom? Stop writing the blog? Nope, not an option! I have way to much fun doing just that! Some people don’t believe time truly exists. They maintain that at the most fundamental realm of human reality, the universal concept becomes defunct. Now; it’s all very well to have a theory and everything, but as the ten or so wines have to be tasted and that takes some time, I say…. those scientific types are a bunch of crazy bastards.

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Today I spent the day in the village of Montblanc, where the whole village joined in the medieval festivities. Wineries displayed their wines, cured meets and wonderful cheeses on display, restaurants barbecuing huge sections of ribs and sausages! A great day in Catalonia! That was today, and again, due to lack of time, I’ll cover the medieval festival “later”. Now, let’s have a Rosé wine from D.O. Alella!

Whit food like this, during days like these, I actually like to cut through the wine with some beer!

Whit food like this, during days like these, I actually like to cut through the wine with some beer!

The D.O. Alella has a Mediterranean climate, with less than 600mm of rainfall per year and an average annual temperature of 15°C. Nonetheless, each vineyard is influenced by the microclimates of the area, where variables such as altitude, differing slopes, proximity to wooded areas, prevailing winds etc, can alter the characteristics of the grapes. The Alella region is formed by a great mass of granite. The soils are generally poor in nutrients, with low water retention and a moderate pH. It’s texture is variable: from the rough sandy sauló on the maritime side of the area, to the sandy clays on the inland plain.

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The Bodegas Parxet company has around 200 hectares of vineyards in the districts of Sta. Maria de Martorelles, Montornès del Vallès, Sant Fost de Campsentelles, Alella and la Roca del Vallès. The varieties planted are principally Pansa Blanca. They also have Macabeu and Parellada, all three of which have a medium to long vegetative cycle. Introduced varieties – with excellent results – Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, which both have a shorter cycle.

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The vineyards are planted at a density of 3.700 vines per Hectare with 2,2 m between rows and 1.2m between the vines. This creates competition between the plants and enables, together with the trellising, to achieve a high leaf canopy area (1,4 m2). The rows are planted from North to South, and where possible on flat land. Whilst the older vineyards are still in Gobelet (bush-vine) form, the newer plantations are all trellised using the Cordon de royat system. The vines are pruned short, leaving 4 spurs with 2 shoots each to achieve the ideal balance of vigor and production.

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Different grasses are sowed between the rows to limit the vigour and production and improve the qualitative potential of the vines forcing their roots deeper. This also facilitates mechanisation and minimizes erosion on the steeper slopes. In the vineyards they apply a reasoned approach to phytosanitary protection, requiring a deep knowledge of the habitat and the biological cycle of plagues and parasites as well as the climatic characteristics of the area.

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Titiana Pinot Noir Rosé 2012, Brut 

Dark salmon pink with flashes of light ruby and grenadine around the edges, clean and very elegant. The nose is pure raspberry and aromas or ripe berries such as blackberries and blueberries. The palate is round, tasty and very long. Fresh yet subtle, this wine stands well against creamy and mildly spiced food. A great alternative to everyday wines, the only thing that might bring the overall impression down, is the price. Mouthfilling, delicately but richly flavoured, and exceptionally long.

249 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

 

Mas Codina, Three Little Birds in D.O. Penedes

129/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Penedes – Puigdalber – Mas Codina – Mas Codina Syrah 2009

Three Little Birds…..,

……., Rise up this mornin’, Smile with the risin’ sun, Three little birds, Each by my doorstep, Singin’ sweet songs, Of melodies pure and true, and the below is my message to you……

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The Garriga family, has been dedicated to providing the utmost of quality wines and Cavas to satisfy the growing demand for new age wines, while looking forward investigating new techniques in order to elaborate and improve existing products, and forging ahead with new ones always maintaining a strong foundation and passion for vineyards. Situated in the Alt Penedès, Mas Codina is a 40 ha. estate winery dating from 1681 which has always been dedicated to the growing of grapes and wine production.

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It was only in 1985 that Antoni Garriga, current owner of Mas Codina started bottling wine and Cava derived from grapes from his own vineyards. A range of high quality wines and cava is the result of the family’s passion for viticulture and wines as well as for the grape varieties that are grown. Production per hectare is limited, which is another factor that must be taken into account.

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The traditional wine making process has been passed trough the family generations until the present. This unique artisan method of wine-making combined with employing the latest technology makes Mas Codina wines and Cavas exceptional. The result of this process is that during some blind tastings, Mas Codina products have on occasions been accepted and prized next to some well known brads, so even if you haven’t heard of them before, keep your ears to the ground, because they are coming!

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Mas Codina Syrah 2009

Lovely deep cherry color with garnet edges. The nose is balsamic, slight herbal with some toasted notes and spices. In the mouth it is ripe, very tasty, meaty/slightly jammy fruit both red and black, a nice mix.

250 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

Ferré i Catasús, Granada in D.O. Penedes

128/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Penedes – La Granada – Ferré i Catasús – Somiatruites 2012

Granada….,

…, the Pomegranate can be related to Granada (the city in the south of Spain) by the Sierra Nevada, but they hardly grow any vine there, so in fact, the Granada (Granada meaning Pomegranate) in question is small village not far from Vilafranca del Penedes and Sant Sadurni d’Anoia. Quite the setting, with vineyards all around and very easy to reach from Barcelona for a day trip. Plenty of sightseeing to be done in the area and several great wineries to visit, if that’s you cup of tea. tumblr_inline_mh6j48M3Oq1qi77y6Ferré i Catasús is the materialization of a project pursued for many years. It was the hopes and wishes of a man called Josep Maria Ferré i Catasús and a woman called Sònia Serrano Quetglas, who both wanted to mark a new horizon in wine culture. It all started in the 30s, when Lluís Ferré Pascual, Josep Maria Ferré i Catasús’s father, and his mother, Maria Catasús Demenech, got married in secret. This impossible love entailed the loss of the inheritance that belonged to them by birthright. Between the 60s and 70s, Josep Maria Ferré was an important businessman devoted to the food trade in Barcelona. DSC_0449This fact was the prelude to the return to his origin in Penedès.

In the 80s, together with Sònia Serrano, Josep Maria Ferré obtained several properties in Alt and Baix Penedès and he began to produce grapes for other wineries. However, he was not satisfied because he wanted to do more by creating a brand and a line of products that represented the essence of his project and that took the wine culture to all the different aspects of everyday life. At the end of the 90s, Ferré i Catasús returned to the land of his birth and where his ancestors had already developed a winemaking task: La Granada (Alt Penedès). At that moment, he thought that his son, Lluís Ferré, could continue his dream and together they decided to launch the Ferré i Catasús’s winery. sumollJosep Maria Ferré i Catasús and Lluís Ferré built Masia Gustems, the old family house, where they installed the latest and most advanced technology and machinery for the production of wine andcava. They also reorientated the production of their lands so that Ferré i Catasús could completely self-produce their wines and cavas, from the vineyard to the final product. In 2001, the winery launched its first products: Merlot, Xarel•lo and Carbernet, among others. Ferré i Catasús’s wines were born (in honour of its founder). 1551632_633856963328887_299596038_nSince then, Ferré i Catasús entrusted the management of the project to his son. Lluís Ferré has changed Ferré i Catasús into a lively and growing company, where each and every department works in order to rediscover “good wine” and to create a new wine philosophy. Every member of the Ferré i Catasús team, starting with Lluís Ferré, is motivated by curiosity, the spirit of self-improvement and by a fierce instinct to innovate in each new product. And so, Ferré i Catasús has received the recognition of experts and has won prizes in important international wine contests due to the daily work undertaken in the cellar by the whole team. 1374998_580234398691144_125776905_nThe estate called Corral d’en Rafeques is located in Castellet i la Gornal (Baix Penedès). It is the largest piece of land, with a total of 25.66 hectares of crops: Cabernet Sauvignon (9.17 Ha), Chardonnay (4.57 Ha), Tempranillo (2.64 Ha), Xarel.lo (4.58 Ha), Syrah (1.98 Ha), Merlot (2.72 Ha). La Granada is Ferré i Catasús’s spiritual centre and this is where we find Masia Gustems. It has been equipped with facilities for the reception and vinification of the grape, with an area of 3.10 hectares. Chenin blanc (2.08 Ha), Red grenache (0.53 Ha), Facilities (1 Ha) 1374890_578901748824409_699876872_nThe estate of Cal Escudé is located in Guardiola de Font Rubí (Alt Penedès). It has 17.08 hectares and is dedicated to the following grape varieties: Macabeu (3.85 Ha), Merlot (3.36 Ha), Syrah (3.68 Ha), Sauvignon blanc (1.62 Ha), Muscat of Alexandria (1.90 Ha), Parellada (2.67 Ha). All Ferré i Catasús’s wines and cavas are born as Estate wines, a qualification which includes a set of vineyards in a specific area and a particular microclimate, providing exceptional quality of vines, which has been achieved thanks to a meticulous study of the soil of the estates owned by the winery. terraLluís Ferré has invested all his efforts in preparing this exhaustive soil map, a working tool that provides a broad knowledge of the land and that allows winemaking teams to obtain the best yield from the crops. The study of the land can be found at the vinification plant of the cellar. somiatruites-442879Somiatruites 2012, Chenin Blanc, Moscatel, Sauvignon Blanc, Xarel.lo and Chardonnay

Made using grapes from vines aged between 10 and 40 years old. Yellow in colour with greenish hues, it exudes tropical fruit aromas complemented by citric and floral notes, and shows complexity on the nose, lychee, banana, pineapple and more! The palate is broad and silky with a lingering acidity that gives freshness and length throughout and it is certainly full-bodied on the palate, it displays a tropical fruit flavor on the aftertaste. Very drinkable!

251 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle