Celler Vermunver, Figedy Feet in D.O. Montsant

227/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Montsant – Marçà – Celler Vermunver – Genesis Varietal 2011

Figedy Feet…….,

botella_varietal_2011Genesis Varietal 2011, 100% Carignena

Cherry colour with a garnet rim, very intense, Gènesi Varietal is a high complexity wine. On the nose there are loads of black mature fruits, toffee, spices and forest with a balsamic touch. On the palate it is a wine with great terroir expression, wide, fleshy and a touch odd acidity that fills it with light. It has also an elegant tannic structure that indicates a good evolution in the bottle. The Genesis Varietal consists of Old Carignena (also known as Cariñena or Samsó) from Vernet-Muntané family’s vineyards in Marçà. Vines are between 60 and 80 years old, soils are mainly clayey and calcareous, that gives complexity to the wines. Alcoholic fermentation is made in stainless steel wine tanks during 28 days in a controlled temperature between 25-27 degrees; malolactic fermentation is also done on stainless steel, once it has finished, the ageing starts in French and Hungarian oak barrels, over a period of 12 months.

VermunverCeller Vermunver is a small, family-run company situated in the village of Marçà. It is part of the D.O. Montsant, one of the two ‘Denominations of Origin’ (wine appellations) in the administrative (but also wine appellation) region known as the Priorat. Some members of the Vernet-Muntané family make up the company. Roger Vernet Muntané deserves a special mention because he is the oenologist (winemaker).

Vermunver 2In 2004 they began working on the idea of launching the company of Celler Vermunver – a long-cherished ambition, which would mean they would finally make their own wine. This task, although daring, was well justified given that they could count on the excellent primary product, readily available to them, and the shared vision for the project. The starting point for this shared vision was to complete Nature’s circle: from the vineyard to the wine glass. The company’s environmental policy is based on recycling and making use of the waste materials generated in the production of wine. In this way, residual water which is not contaminated is used on an area of the vineyards destined exclusively for this use and all organic waste is used as an environmentally friendly fertilizer on the land. The cellar is located beneath an historic building in the village, Cal Nolla, a construction that dates from the end of the 19th C. The plan is to marry tradition and quality, creating a hand-crafted product without leaving aside new technologies and the advances that these have brought.

Vernmunver11Because we are speaking of a small quantity of wine, they are able to maintain personal control of all the elements within the production process; closely following the progress of the vine during its entire growth cycle, during the harvest when the grapes are brought to the cellar, until the final process of bottling the wine. All their vineyards are to be found within the municipal boundaries of Marçà, in the south of the Priorat region. They are divided between various locations within this area, all with different orientations. In total, there are 23 hectares of vines, some grown on land owned by the company, others on rented plots.

vermunver12The vines are mainly of the grape varieties known as ‘Garnatxa’ (Grenache) and ‘Carinyena’ (Carignan), local to the region. The majority, around 75%, are vines of between 70-80 years old, with a ‘Lot’ root stock, and grafted with the best shoots of the local vines of the area. They also have a small quantity of Merlot and Syrah varieties about 20 years old. The soil is slightly calcareous and the placing of the vines, planted by the grandfathers in the twenties and thirties, was magnificently done.  The total production of Celler Vermunver is around 70,000 kg from which small amounts are carefully selected from the different sites.


An anecdote relating to the selection of these plots is that on the municipal map of Marçà they form a figure that resembles the constellation of Orion, and for this reason they are called the ‘Vineyards of Orion’. With an annual production of around 5,500-6,500 kg, the cellar has created as the first product of the winery, Génesi Selecció.

154 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

Can Grau Vell, The Lady is a Tramp in D.O Catalunya

226/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Cataluyna – Hostalets de Pierola – Can Grau Vell – Tramp 2011

The Lady is a Tramp…….,


Tramp 2011, 55% Syrah, 25% Garnacha, 10% Monastrell, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Marcelan

Soothing purple cherry colour with a violet rim and thin tears that staines the glass quite well. The nose has a nice intensity of ripe berries and fresh forest, sweet candied berries. Mild refreshing licorice notes, toasted barrel and some balsamic notes that give a lot of freshness on the nose (menthol and hintsof red licorice). It has a growing nose and a bunch of aromas, at times making it hard to decide which way it is going. Pleasant on the palate with fine astringency, good and tasty ripe red fruit running through all the way, good acidity, hints of licorice and candied red berries. Smooth texture, quite sweet, easy to drink and pleasant persistence. Long aftertaste of forest fruits and slightly balsamic. Price vs. quality is outstanding. Is it a Super Catalan? I dare say yes! Simply delicious. This Tramp will seduce you!


How does the name of a wine see daylight? Do you ever reflect about that? Or, is it the design of the label that attracts more than the name? Is the story behind the name known to you? So many questions, so little time. In this case the story behind the name is simply like taken from a movie, with a happy and delicious ending.


Tramp’s story is the story of a dog, making its escape from a family that has been treating the dog so bad, it one day becomes obsessed with running away, to save its life. An opportunity and the pooch is free, not looking back and running as fast and as far as it could. Feeling hungry it finally decides to stop for a rest and meal at a field, quite close to the town of Hostalets of Pierola. There, while filling its stomach with big and ripe bunches of grapes, he meets a man named Jordi who instead of hitting him or yelling at him to leave, he speaks kindly and scratches his head, before inviting him to his home.

imgManager (1)

“I could not believe it! I’m inside a real house, with sofas and a bed to climb into, with the warmth of a fireplace, a kitchen that smells amazing, free to run up and down stairs, rooms, nooks and cronies. Company, both human and that of two new friends, who’s stories were not that different to mine.”


“They looked at me a little askance, as if to say: Watch out boy! We have been here for quite some time, so don’t you come and try to take over! I did not care, I just noticed the chicken leg that was on the plate! I ate and five minutes later I fell asleep” How long did I sleep? “Don’t know, but I woke up recognizing the sweetest of voices, my saviour saying; Tramp, time to get up! I looked around, but I was the only one there, I must have been dreaming as I know my name has always been Dog! He called again, Tramp, come on, out to the vineyards! This time, waving his hand to me! Tramp? Me?”


Jordí, explained it to me. Tramp is English and means bum. “And that’s what I had become, without knowing it. I liked it and waged my tail in thanks. I did not hesitate for a second to accept the position I was given in exchange for staying there at the Can Grau Vell, my new home. From that moment I had to watch the vineyards, defending from intruders” Oh, and did I tell you, I got my own wine!


Jordi Castellví i Agut, the founder and owner of Can Grau Vell, explains. “I have always dreamt of making wine for our restaurants in symmetry with what we understand to be gastronomy. In 2000 I bought Can Grau Vell, in Hostalets de Pierola, at the foot of the Montserrat mountain, and started making my dream come true. Of the 49 hectares, we selected 3 hectares and planted 5 different grape varieties. This small vineyard not only allows us to work traditionally but also with a touch of loving care.”

155 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

EccociWine, Message In a Bottle in Catalonia

225/365 – Catalonia – Without D.O. – Sant Marti Vell – EccociWine – Eccoci Blanco 2011

Message In a Bottle………,


Eccoci Blanco 2011, 50% Roussanne, 30% Viognier and 20% Petit Manseng

Straw yellow colour, very bright, beautiful green hues. This wine is very open in its appearance and offer a multitude of aromas. First thing that hits me is the white fruits and stone fruit, then the floral notes come to mind. Peach, pear and some musk. The palate is medium-bodied, dry and fresh with lovely peach, tangerine and citrus with the slightest hint of sweetness, nice. It is intense and aromatic with a long smooth finish. Clearly a French style wine, but nevertheless I like it a lot!

Eccoci Blanco is made from a blend of grapes from Ca l’Elsa parcels lying at the foot of an inactive volcano where soils are composed of siliceous-limestone and volcanic stones with very good drainage. The rest of the blend comes from the Can Nobas parcels, which lie near a river where the soil is siliceous-limestone with alluvial stones.
The grapes are hand-harvested. Whole berry clusters enter a pneumatic press that uses nitrogen to prevent oxidation. The grapes are slowly and gently pressed before entering a stainless steel vat followed by slow fermentation at 16 °C (60.8 °F) for two to three week sur-lie.


Confusion is hardly the right way to describe Eccociwine, but to some degree it did confuse me. The first time I got in touch with their wines I couldn’t quite make out the writing on the label. The wines as such are easy to understand and very much to the point, giving you the feel of the region and the varieties used. Some nice results right there and truly wines of the future. The Eccociwine winery is producing some unusual wines in the province of Girona. Drawing from its close proximity to France (the vineyards are only one hour south of the border), the wines are made with French grape varieties including Viognier, Rousanne, Petit Manseng, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Marselan and Petit Verdot. Normally you would encounter at least two or three local grape varieties at a winery in Catalonia, but these guys roll out the French guns 100%.


Eccociwine practices sustainable farming methods and, while the term leaves a lot of room for interpretation, the winery’s commitment to preserving the environment is clear. In fact, it was the first Spanish winery to be Carbon Zero certified as of 2009, only one year after its first vintage. Eccoci currently produces four wines: Blanco, Rosado, Tinto Premium and Tinto Super Premium. For me, the highlights was their white, and the rosé was enjoyable as well. Great composition of fruits and fresh as a dip in the sea. The reds, and I like reds a lot, are going to extend their true potential in a few years, as is will get rounder and the tannic feel allows it to express the fruit to a higher degree. The annual production reaches some 90,000 bottles.


EccociWine is a special place and project in which people from many different countries have come together to create great wine. This place was discovered jointly by all the stakeholders and now they can call it home. Individuals from the nearby town of Girona and faraway places such as Italy, France, Belgium, and Africa have established their “multicultural” roots here together with the French varietals that have become a part of the landscape. One of the first to arrive from afar and fall in love with the area was an artisan from Italy. Nurturing is a way of bringing out the best in living beings, and a way of showing appreciation is to give back life to a place left fallow. By listening to the land, those who have come to call this place their new home planted grape vines ideal for producing wines expressive of the area, capturing the essence of the vineyard’s surroundings. As a result of this happy union and a respect for Mother Nature, this team has created Spain’s first CarbonZero certified winery. Ultimately achieving harmony amongst the place, its people and the vineyard.


Near Les Gavarres, a natural park reserve, there are villages that still conserve their old medieval air where winemaking was once a thriving activity. The vineyard is the only one in the area, which has revived the grape growing area thought to have been lost. This magnificent setting provides a unique environment for grape growing — vines are planted amid a natural landscape of cultivated fields, surrounded by pine, Holm oak and cork oak woods. The estate has 12 hectares (29.65 acres) of vineyards, surrounded by 30,000 hectares of woods that keep the vines isolated from other crops. Lying at the foot of an inactive volcano, the soil is composed of siliceous-limestone topsoil and stony alluvial subsoil with good drainage. The vineyard lies at the base of an inactive volcano surrounded by the natural park reserve Les Gavarres, therefore the vines are protected from external pollutants. The vineyards benefit from a combination of volcanic soils, siliceous-limestone and alluvial stones. The winery’s privileged location allows the vines to receive plenty of sunshine, ideal rainfall and diurnal temperature variation so that the grapes ripen gently, resulting in balanced tannins, sugar and acidity. The result is a collection of organic, artisanal wines that are terroir-driven, with a distinct sense of place.

156 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

Mas Blanch i Jové, in D.O. Costers del Segre

224/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Costers del Segre – La Pobla de Cérvoles – Mas Blanch i Jové – Saó Abrivat 2009

Slow Wine……..


Saó Abrivat 2009, 40% Tempranillo, 35% Red Grenache, 15% Cabernet-Sauvignon and 10% Merlot

Cherry red color and elaborate garnet medium layer. The nose is that of intense liquor , some cocoa, blackberry and cherries. Some spices are picked up, cinnamon and pepper. Toasted wood from the barrels stands out with some sweet notes of vanilla. This is a great wine. The taste is potent, structured and large. Quite persistent with pleasant astringency, elegant, somewhat alcoholic. There’s cherry and blackberry compote, cocoa, pepper, mineral equilibrium between fruit and wood.

The Saó is elaborated exclusively using grapes from the estates of the Mas Blanch i Jové winery. The vineyards are located in the town of La Pobla de Cérvoles and as all Catalan vineyards they carry names, in this case they are  l’Esporgada, Els Llinars, El Pla d’en Mas, El Senill and St, Joan. All in a mountainous ecosystem with strong Mediterranean influences neighboring the Priorat and Montsant wine regions.

Mas Blanch

The 11 hectares of vines are located 700 m. above sea level and the vineyards thrive due to the combination of low rainfall, high temperature differentials between daytime and night time and just the right amount of sunshine. The lands are argillaceous, chalky and poor in organic components, limiting the grape production to only 3.500 kg. per hectare and thereby resulting in a superior concentration of sugars and polyphenols.

The grape varieties cultivated here are the ones most suitable for the region and the ones that have proven to give great wines. They grow Red Grenache, Cabernet-Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Merlot, White Grenache and Macabeu, all of them offering  distinct characteristics and are of exceptional quality.

Mas Blanch2

Wine….., slow….., food…., slow….., is there really anything in life that should be hurried? Well, maybe jumping into freezing cold water, not that I have that problem, just saying! Pace of life, should be taken seriously. It’s to short and with todays society everything is fast paced, let’s at least keep the wine and food, and the company of friends, at a very very very……., slow pace! STOP! THINK! ENJOY! Have a great day ya’ll!

You might not think so...., but this is called working!

In 2006 a small winery, MAS BLANCH I JOVÉ, was created in LA POBLA DE CÉRVOLES (Lleida) where quality wine is produced under the D.O. Costers del Segre. The project was however initiated much earlier by the grandparents, as in many cases here in Catalonia. This is where slow wine is the best!

Pobla de Cérvoles

The vineyards are located in Les Garrigues, on the western border of the Priorat region, a mountainous area more than 700 meters above sea level. The uniqueness of the vineyards’ soil, the low rainfall, the ample sunshine and the significant temperature differentials between day and night allow for, following the thorough and meticulous laboring of the land, to produce very well made wines.

Not even Indiana Jones would find it!

Such a cool design! The winery is entwined with the mountain rocks it emerges from. Seeking to be in harmony with the surrounding landscape, to become a part of nature. To this end, they winery’s walls are overlaid with large stones, extracted from the same site, olive trees are planted on the exterior surface and adjoining areas.

Got to love the interior as well!

The building is covered with earth and vegetation so as to fuse with the surrounding mountains, and the whole structure is painted in an earthy ochre tone. The electrical power is partially derived from solar energy stemming from panels located on the winery’s rooftop.


La Pobla de Cérvoles is a town located in the region of Les Garrigues and the only municipality in this county that has been declared a protected mountainous area. There are about 250 inhabitants, while in the summer time the number increases. There are two wineries, within the village, open for visits. The Celler Cérvoles and Mas Blanch i Jove.

Make me better! As soon as I open and drink you, you'll be better!

157 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

Finca Bell-Lloc, Root-Down in D.O. Emporda

223/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Emporda – Palamos – Finca Bell-Lloc – As for the wine? Why not come and try it at the “Beautiful Place”?



Sometimes……., it’s only the wine, other times it is only the property/winery, or the persons behind the projects or the location or, or, or……., many a times it is all of the above, including history, the present and the future. In the case of Bell-Lloc it is so much more. So perfect, so well thought through and utterly and distinctly checking all the boxes, hands down a true favorite, or Root-Down, I’ll have to stay here for a weekend to enjoy the Bell-Lloc, (*Bell Lloc is Catalan and translated it is and means, Beautiful Place). I suggest you come and enjoy this piece of beauty in Catalonia and at that time, try the wines where they deserve to be enjoyed!

BellLLoc 4

The Finca Bell-Lloc winery is almost buried on the boundary between the vineyards and woodland. The winery building, designed by the RCR architecture studio of Olot, is surprising in its audacity and its perfect symbiosis with nature. On the surface, the parallel steel panels sloping in different directions are an original way of conferring a structured yet dynamic order on the complex as a whole. Meanwhile, the underground area is made up of a labyrinth of dark, insulated and cool passageways equipped with climate control. To enter this area is to penetrate into a world of shadows. Down here the silence can be heard, the aroma of the wine can be perceived, the strength of the materials can be felt and, when it comes to tasting the wines, all five senses are finally stimulated.

Finca Bell-Lloc. Celler Brugarol DO Empordà

Introducing the farm in the lovely setting of The Gavarras (Girona) offers exclusive accommodation that redefines the traditional concept of luxury. Finca Bell Lloc is a place where you could easily get lost for a weekend (or longer), Here you can celebrate a memorable event together with friends or family or enjoy authentic pleasures, like Catalan food and organic wine, or why not both in a combination? Located in Las Gavarras, near Palamos (Girona), yet off the beaten path in the middle of a magical environment consisting of olive trees, pines, vines and views of the sea. This old house, typical for the region, also has spectacular vineyards you can visit and participate in guided tastings.


Everything in the Bell-lloc Villa is steeped in a philosophy that avoids unnecessary processing, and take advantage of advances to deliver the highest quality, without subtracting essence and authenticity. The farm is part of the Rough Luxe concept that proposes a new way of conceiving luxury as a moment in time and not as a high price commodity. The house of Bell-Lloc, which hosts the “hotel” has 6 rooms each of which has been decorated with a distinct style that gives them personality. Each room carries the name of some of the grapes that the winery uses for their production. Samso (Carignen), Garnatxa (Grenache), Lledoner, Malvasia, Xarello and Moscatell. This part of the property offering accommodation is completed with an attached three bedroom house surrounded by vineyards, ideal for family holidays, and an exceptional pool.


The wine bottles of the  Bell-Lloc winery are unlabelled. Or at least not labelled as per “normal” standards. All you need to know about the wine, is very concentrated information which you will find on the very original metal housing that gives the bottle a very minimalistic style, consistent with the wine and the winery. Josep Trallero, the winemaker at Bell-Lloc, says that “the capsule is of the same materials with which they built the winery and responds to our understanding of wine.” A wine and a philosophy that has “minimum presence of additives and the extreme care of the vineyard,” adds Trallero.

BellLloc 6

Everything at Finca Bell-lloc is pervaded by the philosophy of avoiding unnecessary processing and taking advantage of progress for providing comfort and quality, but without losing any of its essence and authenticity. The wish of the proprietors is that every instant spent on the estate, is to be evocative and lasting in your memory. How is this achieved? By stimulating your five senses, without any tricks. Rough Luxe is having time for reflection; enjoying the pleasure of close encounters with people, nature, architecture and the environment; living cultural, social and gastronomic experiences associated with concrete geographic localities. And giving time and all that surrounds us the high importance it deserves.


158 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

Celler Malondro, Sweet And Lovely in D.O. Montsant

222/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Montsant – Cornudella de Montsant – Celler Malondro – Latria 2009

Sweet And Lovely……,

Latria 2009

Latria 2009

Intense cherry red colour with purple rim. It has a rich, elegant aroma, black fruits and ripe red fruits, roasted coffee and eucalyptus, lovely depth and complexity. Pleasant on the palate, broad entry and well structured with soft tannins, very fresh long finish. Easy, maybe just too easy, to drink! I had it as is, but I would recommend food with this one, or just some good friends to share it with. The harvest began on October 6th in the “Les Vedrenyes” vineyards at 500-550 m. collecting the Garnacha grapes and the Carignena was harvested  in the area of ​​”Les Troies” at 450 m. Due to the altitudes of the vineyards, the harvest is slightly later than normal for the region. The fermentation takes place during 14 days at 25°C temperature, in contact with the skin. After the malolactic fermentation, the wine is transferred to second year oak barrels (50% French oak, 20% Eastern European oak and 30% American oak).


The story behind the red in the bottle, in this case of the Celler Malondro, begins not that far back. In the year 2000, a family of grape growers, like many before them in this region and others, decide to take the ultimate step in grape growing and make and label their own wine, made from their own grapes, their own sweat, blood and tears. Two families joined forces to create Celler Malondro in Cornudella de Montsant with the aim of disseminating handcrafted, high quality wine from the grapes they’ve grown for almost half a century. Vineyards are located between 450 and 800 meters in altitude and planted with Garnatxa, Carinyena, Syrah, Macabeu and Garnatxa Roja (pink Garnatxa). The soils are primarily comprised of varying percentages of slate, chalk, sand and and Codol (rolled stone).


One interesting piece of trivia is that they’ve designed a trellising system unique onto themselves. Vines are housed inside a metal structure, much like a tomato cage, which allows for greater ventilation between the vines, as well as a greater leaf surface. By tripling the leaf surface, the leaf absorbs more light, which places a greater strain on the vine. And the greater strain on the vine, the better the grape.


Another unique trait of this winery is their experimentation with various toasting levels before blending. Wines are places in French oak barrels for 15 – 18 months, varying from high toast to no toast at all, before blending. This practice is far from unique among wineries, but it’s always fun to see the before and after product. Malondro is a small family winery that barely has enough room in its cellar to fit more than 6 people. That said, I trust if you give the winery a ring, Joan Carlos the owner, would be more than happy to find a way to receive you, regardless of the size of your party. And to be honest, it’s worth a visit.

159 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

Masia Serra, Bringing Down The Byrds in D.O. Empordà

221/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Empordà – Masia Serra – Ctonia 2012

Bringing Down The Byrds………,

01_ctonia2011_mida_web_sense-anyadaCtonia 2012, 100% Garnatxa Blanca

White wine of yellow colour with greenish hues. High complexity and aromatic intensity, with aromas of white fruit, chlorophyll and light toasted oak barrel, varietal and terrorir driven. The palate has a voluminous entry due to aging on its lees, light meatiness, surprising in a white wine. Very good persistence due to its remarkable acidity. A wine with personality and good spine. Love it!


Ctonia (meaning underground or pertaining to the earth) was an epithet used for the goddesses of the underworld (called chthonic) as Hecate, Melinoe or Nix. Also referred to as Demeter, guardian of the fields. The name Ctonia, comes from the fact that this wine is made ​​from grapes from old vines and as such its roots are embedded deep in the ground. Harvested manually, collected in small containers.  The grapes are destemmed  and deposited in stainless steel vats for maceration (6-8 hours) at 10 degrees. Only the free run juice is extracted and fermentation begins at 14 degrees in a stainless steel vat.  When density of 1.020  is reached the liquid is transferred to chateau style barrels of French Allier oak to complete the fermentation process, aging 2 months in the same barrels giving a “batônnage” with the fine lees.


Masia Serra produces wines from D.O. Empordà since 1996. The history of Masia Serra begins with a small vineyard planted in 1961 with the Grenache grape.  Other french varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, … occupy part of the 12 hectares that today make up the estate. Jaume Serra, owner and oenologist of the bodega, grew up in a traditional winemaking family.  After completion of his studies at the university Rovira i Virgili of Tarragona and completion of his arduous apprenticeship at Chateaux Petrus he decided to create his own wines at the bodega he founded in Cantallops. Jaume, grandson of a wine dealer and son of the also well known oenologist Simon Serra, has learned to value the noble liquid, which he says generates warm feelings in its surroundings. Masia Serra is a family owned bodega, the fruit of its efforts and its dreams.  The nobility and constancy of its work is evident in each footstep taken amongst its vines.


As you might have well noticed, this blog is all about and only covering wine from Catalonia. Wine, in all forms and shapes, is a considerable part of my life. However, I like to cover the regions in which I work and live. Back to the basics!

Catalan Wine 365 New1

Wine in Catalonia is ancient! The Ancient Greeks, Romans and the Carthusian monks, they have all been here, must be for a reason! It is a leading wine producing land, with exquisite reds, scrumptious rosés and whites which you can drink forever, as well as a multitude of sweet wines. Not to forget, this is where Cava was born!


Huge and well know cellars like Freixenet, Codorniu, Raimat and Torres are at the forefront when it comes to Catalan wine, which are covered by 11 appellations (D.O:s) for wine and one exclusively for Cava. The vineyards have always been an irreplaceable part of the Catalan landscape, as well as its culture. Let’s keep it this way!


The tradition of wine in Catalonia is deeply rooted, in some cases as deep as the vines. Nowadays representing a rising sector, gaining international prestige on a yearly basis. In Priorat, Penedès and Empordà, as well as the other D.O:s, you can find wine that can compete with any wine in the world.


Cava is no longer the poor man’s and woman’s Champaign, but a quality product in its own right available all over the world. More than 200 million bottles of Cava attest to this fact, joined by 180 million for wine.


The D.O:s of Catalonia

In number, there are 11 Denominations of Origin, regulating the winemaking for red, white and rosé wines and then the one, exclusively for the production of Cava.


DO Alella: Though the smallest, it is one of the oldest and most unique. It covers a small piece of land between the Mediterranean shore and the coastal mountains, north of Barcelona. It produces quality wines and is famous for its white wines, in which some are considered the best in the world.


DO Catalunya: It is a DO that fosters experimentation, as wines can be produced with a great variety of grapes in a wide range of soils. This DO has been growing significantly in the last few years, exporting more than 40 million bottles to more than 100 countries.


DO Conca de Barberà: It corresponds to a Catalan county with a very old wine tradition, coming from Medieval monasteries in the zone. Since the creation of this DO in 1989, there has been a continuous effort to modernise the cellars and the vineyards. The speciality of this DO is top-quality red wine, which is produced together with white and rosé. Most of these wines use a grape type that is autochthonous from the county, namely Trepat.


DO Costers del Segre: The DO of Lleida and split into the following sub zones: Artesa, Vall del Riu Corb, les Garrigues, Pallars Jussà, Raimat, and Segrià. It employs advanced technology and is famous for its innovation, changing grape varieties and fostering “Ull de Llebre”, Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha, Syrah and Merlot.


DO Empordà: New and old cellars are easily adapting themselves to new technology trends, changing harvest patterns and restructuring vineyards. This DO is seeing new cellars booming in the Northern coast of Catalonia.


DO Montsant: It is the youngest Catalan DO, located in the southern part of Catalonia. Despite this fact, it has achieved a good market positioning. This DO includes the sub zones of South Priorat and some zones in Ribera d’Ebre. The soil has a high percentage of mineral salts, which is one of the main characteristics of this region. The cellars are young and modern, producing a small quantity of wine but of a great quality.

logo_do_penedesDO Penedès: This is probably the most famous wine region within Catalonia. It has powerful cellars, always improving their technology and innovating. It has traditionally been associated with white wines, but in the last years it has also started to produce top quality red wines, which have been internationally recognised.


DO Pla de Bages: It is a small DO but that produces quality wines. In the last years, wine producers from this DO have put effort recuperating an autochthonous type of grape: the “picapoll”, which is very small and can be either red or white.


DO Priorat: In the last 15 years, this DO has lived through a revolution, being recognised worldwide and seeing some of its red wines reaching the highest prices in specialised shops all over the world. The DO has new cellars, young entrepreneurs and experts who all work to maintain this DO among the best of the world. Their wines have a unique strong taste, full of peculiarities.


DO Tarragona: It is the oldest Catalan DO, producing liquor wines of great quality, such as Tarragona Clàssic. In the last years, red-wines have joined their traditional white and rosé wines.


DO Terra Alta: Many of the cellars from this DO work as a cooperative. Their wines have a singular taste and are reaching great levels of quality in the last years. Their rosé varieties are very fruity, the white have a low acidity and the red have a round body and a dark colour. Finally, there is one DO that needs to be explained aside, the DO Cava.


DO Cava: This DO is shared with 6 other Autonomous Communities within Spain apart from Catalonia. However, 95% of DO Cava’s production come from Catalonia. More than 200 million bottles are sold each year, a number that grows year by year. Cava is famous all over the world. In the past it was sold as a cheap replacement for Champaign, but in the last years top-quality cava has started to be exported and has become famous for its great quality which is at a much more affordable price than the French Champagne.

160 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

Amics del Gobe, With a Little Help From My Friends in D.O. Montsant

220/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Montsant – Bodega Amics del Gobe – Gobe 2011

With a Little Help From My Friends……,

Lend me your ear and I’ll tell you a story about friends, true friends, wine loving friends honouring a wine dream! The short story about Gobe, with a little help from his friends.

The 12 friends encircling Gobe, in the middle!

The 12 friends encircling Gobe, in the middle!

Gobe 2011, 60% Cariñena and 40% Garnacha

Montsant, friendship and love in a bottle! Dark cherry red colour. Intense red and black ripe fruit, toasty, spicy and certain mineral and balsamic notes. The Cariñena is showing its true potential, when grown in this amazing region and from vines that have been take care of in the best possible way. Concentrated and explosive fruit carries this wine a long way. The wood is hardly noted, the fruit does the talking. Marked acidity and tannins in a long, dry finish with some nice bitter notes. Delicious after-taste!


How do you get a nickname that is remembered? How does a wine get its name? In the early eighties little Josep Barceló, still too young to read, would identify the peg to hang his coat on at his Priorat school by a drawing of a mushroom (“rovelló”) over it. In his childish speech, he would not pronounce the “r” sound properly, so his schoolmates promptly nicknamed him “govelló”, later shortened to Gobe. Josep “Gobe” Barceló grew up among his friends, meeting them also after school to play football (their team was called “La Xusma”, the rabble), and, later on, to share a bottle of wine. In due time, many of them worked in the world of wine; Gobe himself at the Celler de Capçanes, while planning, in the future, to make wine from a small family vineyard farmed by his uncle.
Gobe 12
Sadly, in 2004 Gobe died in an work related accident, that shouldn’t have happened. A few weeks later, his friends, gathered by Adrian Perez, visited Gobe’s family and, suggested making the wine Gobe dreamt of, as a common effort, in a non-profit way, as a tribute to his memory. Ten friends, with the help of Gobe’s uncle and brothers, making the group of friends and family 12 in total, would endeavour to make Gobe’s wish come to reality. The winery of Venus La Universal helps out in providing the space and tools needed for the vinification.
The vineyard is in the D.O. Montsant, at a height of some 300 m: 1 hectare of sandy soil with 80-year old Carignena and some new Garnacha, farmed organically. Grapes undergo a first selection in the plot, are gathered in 12 kilo boxes and taken to the Venus La Universal winery, where a second selection is made before starting the winemaking process. After de-stemming and 20 days of contact with the skins, the wine goes to second year 300 l French oak casks, where it stays for twelve months.
The 2013 harvest gathered many friends! Photo by Amics del Gobe FB site.

The 2013 harvest gathered many friends! Photo by Amics del Gobe FB site.

Even though Gobe didn’t get to make his own wine, his wine has been made available and if you get to try it, you might experience what a dream and good friendship can achieve. The Amics del Gobe are continuing to honour their friend and the previously limited edition of 1,800 bottels released, I’ve heard, is growing to some 3,000 as well as changing the lable for the new releases. You can also become a friend of the Gobe endeavour, by liking and following the project on their Facebook page. Personally, I can’t imagine a better way to remember a dear friend than putting his vision and dreams in a bottle!
Super Gobe

161 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

Celler Cooperatiu de Gandesa, Kodachrome in D.O Terra Alta!

219/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Terra Alta – Gandesa – Celler Cooperatiu de Gandesa – Somdinou Blanc 2012



Somdonou Blanc 2012, 100% Garnatxa Blanca

Somdinou Blanc is clean and bright, presents a waxy pale yellow colour, with faint greenish sparkle. Thin tears, slightly fatty. Good aromatic intensity, besides conveying a fresh feeling it also transmits, without effort, tropical fruit fragrances with good citrus notes and also the presence of white fruit like pear. There are also some sweet notes, which lays nicely as an additional spectra. It has a good entrance, cool and smooth, with a mean impression of creaminess, but very light; the fruity sensation is present and dominates at all times. It is a greedy confusion between pineapple and pear that reaches the end of its fresh journey. Good acidity, which helps maintain freshness. Somdinou Blanc has a nice and smooth finish, giving a hint of bitterness at the very end. An exotic wine which leaves me longing for more!


This is a white mono-varietal from D.O Terra Alta. Unoaked young, fresh and promising every wine lover out there, great wines to come from this magical region, in the future as well! It is made ​​by Celler Cooperatiu de Gandesa in the county of the same name in the province of Tarragona. There is a reason the wines is as good as it is, the cooperative decided to use only high quality grapes, from vines more than 75 years of age of the Garnatxa Blanca variety. The harvest began in early September. Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks at 12 ° C for a period of 25 days. They are now advised by Toni Coca i Fito. 400,000 bottles of wine are produced each year.

Gandesa 11

162 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

Celler Cal Batllet, Una Lacrima Sul Viso in DOQ Priorat

218/365 – Catalonia – DOQ Priorat – Gratallops – Celler Cal Batllet – Artai 2010

Una Lacrima Sul Viso…….,


Artai 2010, 43% Cariñena 29% Garnacha 22% Cabernet Sauvignon 4% Merlot 2% Syrah 

Another Super Catalan from Priorat, from the basic range of the producer but yet so big! Has a great freshness and even though it is a lively wine it is not all over the place. Cherry red rim. The nose is floral and fresh, lots of fruit, spices and minerals. The palate is powerful, but with freshness, ripe fresh fruit, mineral, composed, cool, and balanced. Easy to drink, another great one from Marc at Celler Cal Batllet. This one is hard to beat, when it comes to price/quality comparison! Get it if you can!!!

cal b1

Cellers Ripoll Sans was established in 2000 when Marc Ripoll, a young man in his early twenties, returned to the Priorat to restore his family’s winery in the village of Gratallops. Prior to his arrival, the harvest from the family’s estate vineyards was sold to the local cooperative. Over the last years, Marc has restored the old winery and built Closa Battlet into one of the top estates in the region.


While preserving the historical structure of the winery, Marc has updated the building to incorporate modern winemaking techniques, though always in small volumes and in a highly manual way. Its production is based on grape selections from its estate vineyards, some as old as 90 years, cultivated on hillsides with slate soil. The wines made in this way have their own unique personality stemming from the endeavour to convey all the special features of the terrain.


Its production comes exclusively from the growing of the family-owned vineyards, some as much as 100 years old, cultivated on hillsides with slate soil placed in Gratallops and Torroja del Priorat. The grape varieties grown here are the local Carinyena and Garnatxa in reds mainly, and the old Escanyavella in whites.

cal b2


It was during the 10th vintage, the 2009, when it was decided to move from the wine range of Closa Batllet and Petit Batllet, to elaborate all the wines under the distinctive “Vi de la Vila”, clearly committed with a philosophy of terroir wines, expressing all the personality from each village where they have their roots: Gratallops and Torroja.



163 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle