117/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Conca de Barbera – Vimbodí i Poblet – Torres – Milmanda 2006
…., no, certainly not! There are no green onions in Conca de Barbera but you’ll find some great wine here. Have I told you about Conca de Barbera? Catalonia consists of 12 appelations when it comes to making wine, I don’t know if they have any appelation for onions? If they did, I wouldn’t in any case be covering that aspect, how ever intriguing that might be! Good music along with great wine, that’s good enough for me.
The D.O. of Conca de Barbera might not be the most known wine making region in the world, and if it is going to stay that way is very hard to say. I have to admit that some of the wines made are less easy to enjoy but there are some that will rock your world. It is fairly easy to discover Conca de Barbera, with good routs for wine tourism and also the route of Modernista arcitecture, for those out there with a interest in history and nice buildings.
There are 6000 hectares of vines in the Conca de Barberà region, and some 14 million grapes are harvested each year. The property of Torres, the Milmanda castle, dates from Medieval times, and from this property Torres make two single-vineyard wines. Milmanda is a single-vineyard Chardonnay, fermented and matured in French oak, spending 4–6 months on lees. Grans Murrales is a red blend; the idea here was to make a big wine with no Cabernet, Merlot or Syrah, instead relying on Spanish varieties.
Milmanda means “small castle”. This was originally built by the Visigoths, and it was then fortified by the Arabs. It has a documented history of over 800 years. In the 16th century it became a palace. The property is 400 hectares in all, with 300 hectares of vineyards. Of these there are 85 hectares planted with Chardonnay, although only 15 of these are used for Milmanda.
The climate here is a combination of Mediterranean and continental. There are very cool nights, but also some maritime influence. The soils are silt and clay, overlying limestone rich in calcium carbonate. The portions of the vineyard without stones have deeper soils, rich in silt, and these are the bits best for Chardonnay. There are also extremely rocky portions with very little soil that suit the red varieties best. These are adjacent to the dramatic old walls of the Cistercian monastery next door, and these vineyards have been cultivated since the monks introduced vines here in the 13th century.
Grans Murrales is made from Garnacha, Cariñena, Monastrell and other local varieties such as Garro and Samso (Samos is actually the local name for Cariñena). Torres are actively prospecting for lost varieties, for example by putting adverts in local papers.
Milmanda 2006, 100% Chardonnay
This is a clean and bright wine almost shiny. Pale straw color with greenish hues and light, thin gold layer. Silky tear. The nose is aromatic of medium intensity and clean. Great aromatic notes from barrel aging. Very well integrated notes of noble woods, these appear in the form of toast, vanilla and toasted nuts. Ripe fruit, but only in the background and fainter, mango and melon. Very elegant, clean and subtle nose. In the mouth the wine has volume, fills the mouth and covers it with softness. Good acidity and great balance, the warmth of the alcohol content and the softness shows clearly on the palate. Good after taste along with a wide retronasal display, showing the first sensations of toasted nuts, giving way to notes of ripe fruit (peach and mango). Very nice. Fermented and aged for a period of 10 months in new French oak barrels. The barrel aging has brought subtle and very elegant notes that do not mask the character of the wine, but complement it. Expressive nose and mouth in perfect balance. Great wine but the price is excessive.
262 to go!
Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle