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