157/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Penedes – Avinyonet del Penedes – Can Ràfols dels Caus – La Calma 2009
In time, I will cover most of the wines from this gem of a winery, but for now the chosen wine is La Calma. Enjoy!
The La Calma 2009 is made from the varietal Chenin Blanc. The vines were planted about 30 years ago in calcareous soils, and there is no use of insecticides or herbicides. After harvesting, which is 100% manual, the wine is fermented in temperature controlled French oak barrels for 32 days, after which it is aged for 4 months in French oak barrels. It is stylish, different, complex, seductive and almost impossible to get a hold of!
Intense golden yellow color, clean, very bright, with plenty of robust tears. Intense and complex aromas displaying ripe yellow fruit, plums and apricots, dried fruits, dried apricots, candied fruit, balsamic, slight anise and hints of pastry. Very good on the palate, strong, dense, warm, rich, long and elegant mouth with excellent acidity that refreshes. Long and persistent fruity notes, toast and minerals. Delicate and delicious.
About three years ago! Right place right time! Meet with Xavi Nolla as he was introducing me to a winery in Montsant, which I have already covered. At the time Xavi was doing wine tastings every Tuesday at Lola Tapes in Tarragona. We went a couple of Tuesdays to taste some excellent wines and great tapas.
At the time, the knowledge of Catalan wineries was quite limited so this excellent sommelier was, and still is, a great source, recommending several cellars! One of them being Can Ràfols dels Caus! Thank you for the tip, my friend!
Only a few days after getting the insight, a phone call was placed and we were off to the massif of Garraf, a national park and protected area, southwest of Sitges, towards Vilafranca and within the D.O. of Penedes.
Upon arrival we were well received, greeted and shown the sites by Marc Rusca Baena, the in-house sommelier. After this, the first visit, there has been additional ones! And if I decide there will be many more. Will YOU join me next time? Well, that’s all up to you, I’m always available for a visit and tasting at Can Ràfols!
The Garraf wine-growing region is a protected area within the traditional boundaries of the Garraf National Park. The Can Ràfols dels Caus estate is situated at an altitude of 300 m, and stands on a rise between the ravines of two watercourses surrounded by vineyards growing on the terraced slopes. From some of the highest vineyards, such as “la Calma” or “el Rocallís” the sea can be seen, some 15km away.
This situation is paramount for obtaining healthy grapes, as they are sheltered from the damp air coming in from the coastline, but are equally protected from the sporadic hailstorms in the Sierra of Ordal or the Pre-Coastal mountain range.
The Garraf Massif has an unusual mesoclimate. The daytime is sun-drenched and hot despite the tempering effect of the sea, which sends in a cooling breeze towards the afternoon. This allows the vines to complete their growth cycle and reach full ripeness.
Only 50 hectares of this 455-hectare estate are vineyards, 2 hectares being used for olive groves, 1 hectare for almond orchards and the rest for woodland, scrubland and rocky terrain. The size of the single vineyards ranges from 0.15 hectares (the smallest) to 2 hectares (the largest).
Can Ràfols dels Caus has always been a forerunner and trend-setter, and some twenty-five years after Carlos Esteva started his wine venture, he decided to take a giant step forward by building a new cellar. The aim was not to squeeze in more vats, barrels and bottles, but to work better.
With this project, the winery’s potential for producing quality wines has multiplied, as the cellar is now geared to promoting micro-vinifications, separating batches even more and research. The cellar has been designed so that it is completely carved out of the Dolomitic limestone of the Garraf, invisible from above ground and totally integrated into the landscape.
This would probably be the perfect location for the next James Bond movie. The scoundrel being a crazy wine maker, wanting to take over the world by making his wine so addictive he would have the whole human race in chains! Carlos is slightly crazy, like all artists, but in a good way! To see what he saw, being a visionary, in 1979, is simply “have to see to believe, based”!
This place is simply amazing! The location, the grounds, the mansion, the winery, the whole concept and the wines, oh the wines! Just writing about it………., I might stop writing and set of for a quick visit! Sure, I can write about it, but the only truth is, you have to sample it yourself.
All I can say is, it will be worth your while! If we were talking Guide Michelin, this would be a 3 star, worth a trip of its own! Enough with the superlatives!
Can Ràfols dels Caus winery produces a range of wines, most of them are great! Five whites and five reds, 3 Cavas and 2 rose.