142/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Catalunya – Baix Penedes – Llorenc del Penedes – Wine Fair ViGralla – Cosmic Cabernet Franc 2007
Friday this week, May 9th, the fourth edition of ViGralla in the small village of Llorenc del Penedes starts off with a round table discussion regarding wine tourism in the Baix Penedes region of Catalonia. More than anything, Baix Penedes, is one of three climatologic regions of the D.O. Penedes.
It consists of some coastal villages and towns ad stretches inland a few kilometers. The choices available, for tourists, are plentiful. Yu can spend a day on the beach, relaxing, and the next moment you can be on your bike visiting a picturesque village, eating traditional rustic food and enjoying the sunset in the evening with a glass of Cava from a nearby cellar.
There are few cellars here but a lot of vineyards. Almost anywhere you turn you will see fields of green vine and the grapes grown are the classical Cava varieties, Xarel.lo, Macabeu and Parellada. Over the years, some foreign varieties have been introduced, off course the Cabernet-Sauvignon and Syrah but also Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are being used more and more.
Sumoll, Malvasija de Sitges and Monastrell are other grapes, which young wine makers use to make exciting wines. Some are going to be displayed at the ViGralla. The term refers to Vi (Wine in Catalan) and Gralla, which is a wind instrument, a flute of Catalan origin and the idea is to combine music and wine.
During Saturday and Sunday, 10th and 11th respectively, pairings, tastings and a variety of activities are on the program and a couple of thousands visitors are expected to enjoy the culture and wines of Baix Penedes. A part of living in a small village, as a foreigner, is the possibility offered to participate. Not as a visitor but as a equal member of the organizing committee. During the past months, we have jointly been planning for this yearly event, and we are all quite content with the result so far.
As always, it is up to the visitors to set the mood, all we can do is pray to Bacchus that the wine will flow in the right direction. Down the throat! Some of my personal favorite cellars are going to be around and even though I have tasted their wines on several occasions, I’m going to enjoy them again! A newly introduced activity, for this year’s edition, is the “garage tasting”, small “non-commercial” are offering a taste of their very limited production. 100% Macabeu, 100% Merlot and other exiting wines are waiting in the “garage”.
Saturday, at 9 a.m., it starts with an excursion to the village of Albinyana. It is a walk through the vineyards of about one and a half hours, taking us to the l’Ermita de Sant Antoni. Where we are to enjoy the first wine tasting of many. The setting is spectacular, even though the wind might pose a challenge to get the full spectrum of aromas. Some of the village flute players will perform and some 60-80 people are participating in the hike.
During the afternoon, the cellars, are coming to set up their wares at the small village “Rambla” and for the travellers and visitors coming it all starts at 6 p.m. The way it works, is the way most local wine fairs work. You buy a wine glass and tasting tickets, and the cellars decide whether they charge one or two Euros per fill of wine. Around thirty to forty wines are going to be available for tasting continuously in addition to the sit down tastings. Blind tastings and pairings, with chocolate and local specialities and music.
You’ll be able to enjoy the wines of Cosmic Celler, one of the wineries attending the fair. And one of Cosmics special wines, if you ask me, is the Cabernet Franc 2007. I tried it about six months ago, as I was preparing for this 365 day marathon of wine writing and wine tastings, and below are my notes. I think I have another bottle in my cellar but that one will have to spend some more time before it is to be imbibed. Will I see you at the ViGralla this year, or will you be joining us next year?
Cosmic Cabernet Franc 2007
It ‘s made from 100% Cabernet Franc, the vineyards are located in one of the highest areas of the Baix Penedès in the province of Tarragona. Organic farming with biodynamic criteria. Manual harvest. Fermentation takes place partly in French oak barrels and partly in stainless steel tanks, 50% of the volume is aged in French and Hungarian oak for 14 months, 20% in clay jars and 30 % is aged in bottle for 5 years. Limited production of 2215 bottles. Cosmic is a project of a new generation of winemakers, passionate and with great talent!
Cherry color, with a maroon middle layer. Concentrated ripe red fruit aromas, balsamic and elegant. Toasted notes, some plum and blackberry hands over to an earthy background. Silky entry, complex as it evolves. Fresh and fruity, edgeless tannins. Long and pleasant finish.
237 to go!