DG Viticultors, Freegull in Catalunya

258/365 – Catalonia – Without D.O. – Torelles de Foix – DG Viticultors – Cinclus 2008

Freegull……..,

Cinclus_08Cinclus 2008, 60% Chardonnay and 40% Albariño

Bright and clear, yellow gold colour with pale edges. The nose gives of fine scents of sweet fruit, grapefruit, creamy notes and pastries. Secondary follows suit with hints of tropical fruit and stone fruit, pineapple, peach. Lovely display of fruity aromas. Great, sweet entry with a good development of aromas. Balanced acidity, citrus feel throughout and a nice sweet and long after taste. The finish clings with intensity. Both varieties have been hand harvested. The fermentation of the Chardonnay takes place in new French oak barrels (400l). Albariño: fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks, under controlled temperature conditions set to 15ºC.

DG Viti

The history of DG Viticultors is intimately intertwined with the history of the land and people of Mas Fonoll and Sapera in the wine country of Alt Penedes. The story began in 1991 when Jaime Doménech Trinchant, who believed in the prospects of growing grapevines on a hard land of extreme climate, endeavoured to plant the first vinyards. His son, Santiago Domenech Garay, gave continuity to this endeavour by devoting time to transform this land into a vinyard of extraordinary appeal. Nowadays, Pedro Domènech and Antonio García, shouldered by their family and the effort of their whole team, are the ones who are further developing this beautiful landscape and producing highly appreciated wines.

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The vineyards of Mas Fonoll and Mas Sapera are located within the area of Pontons, a small village in the Alt Penedes, in the province of Barcelona. Mas Fonoll and Mas Sapera are two mountain properties at altitudes between 650 and 850 meters above sea level. The area of Sapera extends alongside a small valley at the foot of the cliff upon which Mas Fonoll lies. Together they make up some 54ha of vineyard in a total property of over 200 ha. Of the 54ha Sapera occupies 14ha, and Mas Fonoll 40ha.

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The grape varieties grown at Mas Fonoll are Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Albariño, Incroccio Manzoni and Gewürztraminer. The Sapera covers Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Albariño and Loureiro. The soils are all of loam-clay structure, each different lot with varying proportions of stone or gravel. As a whole the soil is poor and shallow and abundant in clay. The climate is cold which delays the germination of the plants and favours late maturity.

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

126 to go!

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The Cava of Carles Andreu, Birth Of The Cool, D.O. Cava

257/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Cava – Pira – Celler Carles Andreu – Cava Reserva Barrica Brut Nature

Birth Of The Cool………,

carles-andreu-cava-reserva-barrica-brut-nature-75cl-do-cavaCava Reserva Barrica Brut Nature, Macabeu, Parellada and Chardonnay

Clear and golden straw colour, with a thin and consistent rosary of bubbles, it presents itself during the tasting as a very fruitful Cava and with a fine fusion between the wine and the barrel. In the mouth it is smooth with a good structure and some notes of wood in the background, fresh and persistent, with an explosion of little bubbles that gives a nice tickling feeling. This Cava is made using a meticulous selection of base wines from Macabeu, Parellada and Chardonnay, grapes from vines with a balanced yield. After separate vinification of the three varieties, the final “coupage” is prepared and the wine is then aged in French oak barrels for around six months before the second fermentation in the bottle. The second fermentation is carried out very slowly with these Cavas, at a constant temperature of 14ºC. The ageing period is prolonged to twenty-six months.

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The regulatory body of D.O. Cava dates back to the year 1959 when the Trade Regulations of Sparkling and Fizzy Wines were established, in which the term Cava appears for the first time. A subsequent Order of the Ministry of Agriculture dated 23 April 1969 sets out the regulations for sparkling and fizzy wines, and Cava was acknowledged as the term for sparkling wines produced using the “classic system of fermentation in the bottle and ageing in the “cava”, and could therefore “designate its products as Cava”. This definition was the basis for designating the product with this name.

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The Cava Region, or should I say the Appellation of Cava, comprises a total of 159 municipalities in the provinces of Barcelona (63), Tarragona (52), Lleida (12), Girona (5), La Rioja (18), Alava (3), Zaragoza (2), Navarra (2), Valencia (1) and Badajoz (1), which together conform the delimited Cava producing area and are therefore the only ones with the full legal capacity to produce this type of sparkling wine and market it under this name. The municipality of Sant Sadurní d’Anoia is the heart and origin of this region, its driving force. Its spirit lies not merely in an area, a territory, but in the tradition, the style of winemaking, a blind faith in the quality of the product and a keen enthusiasm in disseminating this special beverage.

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This is a small bodega that started only in 1991 by Carles Andreu, it also bears his name. It’s located in the very nice village of Pira. The old Masia (manor house) Cal Celdoni has existed since 1796 but today wine making is fairly young.

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The Mas of Cal Celdoni was bought by Carles ancestor from the monks of the Monastery of Poblet. Cavas that are produced here surpass some of the Cavas made in neighboring D.O. Penedès. If that is true or not, is for each and everyone to determine on their own, what I know (and appreciate) is the boldness of Carles when he decided to make the first red wine in the world containing 100% Trepat!

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First time I tried their Cava was in a restaurant. Can’t remember the restaurant but the Cava stayed in my memory and I decided that a visit was long overdue! If there is one winemaker that is a must to visit in Conca de Barbera, it is this one! Then again, I always say that! Go figure!

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The main varieties grown are Trepat, Parellada, Macabeo and Chardonnay. They are currently doing some testing with Xarel.lo and Garnacha. As the production is kept to a minimum, the grape selection is rigorous as the grapes are received, but the first selection is made already in the vineyards.

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The extraction (pressing) of the grapes intended for Cava is very gentle. Only 60% is extracted and it is done slow to control, as far as it’s possible, that only must from the centre of the pulp is flowing, to avoid areas close to the skin and the seed, which provide herbal flavors and favor oxidation.

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Each variety is vinified separately by the lowest possible temperature to preserve what little flavor Parellada and Macabeu give. Then the blend is for the base wines that give rise to future Cavas.

Trepat

Trepat is a red Spanish wine grape variety that is grown primarily in the Conca de Barberà and Costers del Segre. The grape is likely to be indigenous to northeast Spain and today there are approximately 1,500 hectares of the variety used mostly for light rosé wine and Cava. The D.O. Conca de Barberà is one of the main wine regions in that grows Trepat.

D.O Conca de Barbera

In Catalonia, Trepat is mainly found in the blended rosé wines of Conca de Barberà and Costers del Segre where it is often blended with other varieties. Over the years Trepat has been known under a variety of synonyms including: Bonicaire, Embolicaire, Parrel, Trapat, Traput and Trepan.

Trepat is quite particular when it come to soils and doesn’t not thrive everywhere, but it seems to be resistant to most fungal diseases.  It is a early riser and is thus susceptible to frost damage, which is more of a problem in this region at some of the higher altitudes but it is normally planted in vineyards on lower altitudes.

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 Carles Andreu Trepat 2011, Trepat 100%, from fifty year old vines, from the vineyards of Les Alzinetes and Les Parades.

Bright red color with cherry hues and red edges. Low to medium layers and moderately slow tears. Primary aromas of ripe red fruit (currants and strawberries), toasted oak is noted but very subtle. Followed up by spicy notes, black pepper and nutmeg, balsamic, sweet licorice. Nice and tasty on the palate, good acidity, red fruits (currants and plums), intense notes that give character and personality, spicy, light menthol. Good structure and persistent. Long aftertaste of ripe fruit and spices. Kept developing and this could easily have stayed in the bottle another few years as it will improve.

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

127 to go!

Celler Mas Candi, Amado Mio in D.O. Penedes

256/365 – Catalonia –D.O. Penedes – Avinyonet – Celler Mas Candi – Ovella Negra

Amado Mio………,

Ovella NegraOvella Negra, 100% Garnatxa Blanca

Bright and clear, yellow colour with subtle aromas of tropical fruit (mango, passion fruit) and peach. Somewhat complex nose. The palate is oily with a sweet point and good acidity, there’s some minerality but mainly the tropical flavours appear, just like in the nose. Good structure, fresh and long after taste. Black sheep, Ovella Negra, of the family? I think not!  It is made with Garnatxa Blanca (White Grenache) and this is one of the few vineyards that are of this variety in the Penedes region. They have only 226 vines, which are over 60 years of age (vineyard La Salada). Due to the difficulties growing this particular variety and the challenges it posed to make a good wine, the name Black Sheep, Ovella Negra, came about! Now they make 500 bottles!

Mas Candi

Four young farmers, with studies in viticulture and oenology, have joined together to create their own wines from the vineyards that they got from their grandparents. The house of Mas Candi is located in Les Gunyoles d’Avinyonet, just at the gates of the Natural Park of Garraf. Since the sixteenth century there has been evidence that the family Cuscó (Cal Candi), cultivated these lands, which today are partially under vine, used for the production of wines at Mas Candi. They also use grapes from vineyards in Font-Rubí, el Pla del Penedès and Torrelavit. This small winery seeks interaction with the landscape, working their native varieties and recovering their old Catalan grapes, which have almost disappeared.

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The range of wines produced at Mas Candi, no frills, no fancy layout, just good wine! From left to right; Mas Candi QX, the four Xarel.lo:s, They have chosen the best vineyards producing xarel.lo, they are located at: Les Gunyoles (vineyard La Pura), Font-Rubí (vineyard Mas Rossell), el Pla del Penedès (vineyard l’Angeleta) i Subirats (vineyard Cal Martí). The best bunches are selected at the peak of ripeness. The wine is fermented in four diffrent barrels (chestnut, acacia, French oak and American oak), each gives different characteristics which provide a complexity to the wine a a whole. The second is Mas Candi Desig, 100% Xarel.lo, This wine is from a single vineyard, located in Les Gunyoles d’Avinyonet. The vines were planted in 1961. The cultivation is fundamentally respectful of the land and the vine. There’s no use of chemical herbicides or pesticides. So the existence of the ecosystem is essential to the complexity of the wine and the balance of the plants. This wine has sought the ultimate expression of the land, the climate, the variety without oak aging. A true “terroir” wine. The purity of Xarel.lo. Ovella Negra, third wine, covered at the top. Les Forques, the Cabernet-Sauvignon used in this wine, comes from the Mas d’en Tort vineyard, close to Torrelavit. The vines were planted in 1983, on a very poor calcareous clay and gravel terrain, south facing. In this wine they are looking to transmit the Mediterranean climate (hot dry summers) and minerality of the land; ripe and concentrated wine. Each year they add a small percentage of the experimental varieties that have been recovered (Sumoll, Mandó, Cannonnau, Roigenc i Mònica). Can 28, 100% Mandó, This is the first wine made from experimental Catalan varieties that have been recovered. After the phylloxera 120 years ago; many vineyards were replanted with grape varieties more profitable at the expense of others who were of high quality but did not produce enough to be financially viable. At Mas Candi they have been, and still are, working towards the recovery of these forgotten varieties, like the white Malvasia de Sitges and Torbat and the red grape varieties like Mandó, Mònica, Sumoll, Cannonnau i Roigenc. SOL + SÒL, This is a powerful wine, concentrated and mineral. Selection of the best grapes from the vineyard of Les Forques. Produced each year, but only the best vintages are released to the market. Mas Candi CAVA Brut Nature, the local varieties of the Penedès (Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel·lo), with a higher percentage of Xarel.lo.

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

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The North Face, Trozos De Ti in D.O. Montsant

255/365 – Catalonia –D.O. Montsant – El Vilosell – Celler Cara Nord – Mineral del Montsant 2012

Trozos De Ti…….,

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Mineral del Montsant 2012, 80% Cariñena and 20% Garnacha

Purple red colour with cardinal-violet edging, medium layer and fast flowing, slightly tinted tears. Nose of good intensity with aromas of fresh ripe forest fruits (currants, raspberries and blackberries), very marked licorice notes, strawberry and some cherry, notes of spearmint with soft spices that are disappearing as the wine gains temperature. Powerful entry with a marked astringency, somewhat unpleasant journey and quite strong nerve, good acidity, ripe red fruit, very dry tannins, intense, very persistent. Long finish and aftertaste of ripe fruit.

The Mountains

Celler Cara Nord is located close to the Serra de Prades mountains and owes its name Cara Nord (north face in Catalan) due to its location in this part of the mountain. This is a steep and hilly landscape, surrounded by high peaks and forests of oak in the Natural Park of the Prades Mountains and Natural Park of the Poblet Forest. An area that has been nationally classified as an area of Geological Interest. Poor earth with slate, clay and limestone with rocky outcrops, cliffs and rugged mountains. The climate is Continental-Mediterranean with cool nights that allow the vines to rest. This delays the accumulation of sugars, preserves acidity and helps in the creation of aromas.

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Cara Nord was created by 3 people, joined for more than 20 years by their friendship and their passion for wine: Tomas Cusine, Xavier Cepero and Eric Solomon. They had many years of experience in the wine industry, and in March 2012 they decided to start a winemaking project together. They all had been attracted to the majesty of the North Face of the Sierra de Prades and its magnificent climate, land and history of quality wine making.

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From experience they knew the potential of the grapes that grow in the  Prades Mountains when it came to making good wines: the excellence seen in the DOQ Priorat, the reliability of D.O. Montsant, and the creativity of the D.O. Costers del Segre all originate from the same mountain range. Three Denominations of Origin located on a single mountain, all producing remarkable results. In reality, however, this interest lay particularly in the fourth D.O. of the Prades Mountains.

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This area was the Denomination of Origin Conca de Barbera, which itself has a long tradition in wine making and still has great potential in the world of small wineries and micro-elaborations. In 2012 they felt the call of “Mountain Viticulture” and threw themselves wholeheartedly into the Cara Nord project, aiming to: Vinify grapes from vines planted at altitude on the North Face of the Prades Mountains. Starting with the vineyard and with their small winery located within the historic Monastery of Poblet, in March 2012 they embarked on this great wine-making adventure.

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Viticulture up to 800m above sea level, as is the case at Cara Nord, takes place in a very particular and demanding geographical environment that poses constant challenges. But Tomas, Xavier and Eric are convinced that vineyards grown on rocky land, in unpolluted air, and surrounded by untouched biodiversity, will result in the creation of original wines with unique organolèptic qualities.

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They have opted for a mountain viticulture with vineyards at about 800 meters above sea level. And in Prades, per 100 m altitude, the temperature falls with about 0.65 º C, and the ultraviolet radiation increases 4% for every 250 meters. Moreover, this area has an average of 330 sunny days a year. Furthermore, the vines suffer water stress allowing them to concentrate flavor, aroma and color in an extraordinary way and also fungal growth is rare.

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Cara Nord is working with varieties like Grenache, Syrah, Garrut, Macabeo, Chardonnay and Albarino adapted to the landscape of the area. The Macabeo vines are very old, about 80 years. The rest were planted about 15 years ago. In addition, all the grapes that constitute Cara Nord are grown without irrigation to promote the intensity of the wine that comes from grapes harvested in its most optimal time. They  have no fixed rules in enology and each vintage should start over with new weather, new grapes and a new human factor. Exciting times ahead!

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Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

129 to go!

Celler Balaguer i Cabré, Red or White in DOQ Priorat

254/365 – Catalonia –DOQ Priorat – Gratallops – Celler Balaguer i Cabré – La Guinardera 2009

Red or White……….,

Guinardera 2009

La Guinardera 2009, 100% Garnacha

This wine has a deep red color with shades of purple. La Guinardera 2009 has a truly amazing nose. It has a penetrating aroma, complex, profound and subtle. Initially displays notes of plum and redcurrant jam and later appear notes of cinnamon. It is a structured fruity wine, ripe tannins, smooth and dense. It is very fresh, long and persistent. This is truly A remarkable Garnacha: La Guinardera!

Cabre

Aged 12 months in 300 liter barrels, from the best French oak forests of Europe (Q. Petraea) using only second year wine barrels.
The grapes used for the production come exclusively from the estate La Guinardera, with an area of ​​2 hectares. The Guinardera is located at a hill on 250 meters altitude. Exposed to the sun and the four winds, which ensures optimum ripeness and health.

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Both the Balaguer and Cabré families are steeped in the grape growing and winemaking tradition and have contributed to the evolution of wine production in the Priorat region for three generations. Currently, Balaguer i Cabré Winery, after leaving the families’ old cellars, is located in the historic district of Gratallops, in a building remodelled for the purpose of producing wine. The old house consists of a vinification room, an ageing room and a room for wine tastings with magnificent views of the winery’s estates.

Lluna VElla 2011

 

Between the estatesLa Guinardera and Mas de Dalt are the four hectares of the firm’s own vineyards, planted mainly with the variety Garnacha Tinta. Thus far, they only bottle wine obtained from the fruit of Guinardera Estate, exposed to the sun and the four winds, which ensures optimum ripening. The Balaguer i Cabré family also owns the restaurant Piró and the store Bonviure, in Gratallops. Both establishments complement the winery’s wine tourism offers. In the restaurant one can enjoy samplings with tapas. At the store guests can take part in a free wine tasting after touring the small family-run winery.

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

130 to go!

Celler Ronadelles, Walkin in D.O. Montsant

253/365 – Catalonia –D.O. Montsant – Cornudella de Montsant – Celler Ronadelles – Cap de Ruc Garnatxa 2012

Walkin…….,

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Cap de Ruc Garnatxa 2012

This is a very intense, light wine of mahogany colour, some soft tones of cherry. The nose is very open, with a good balance of fruit and wood in which the lactic and fruit vanilla wood tones blend quite nicely. The palate has a soft entry, but filling the mouth with balanced flavours, which repeat the nasal sensations. Notes of fruit and fine tannins that contribute to lengthen the after taste, it is still a young and easy wine.  This is fresh, light and fruity. The palate is soft and balanced. It can be defined as a Mediterranean wine. Despite being a young wine, it spends 4 months on French oak. A day to day, for a couple of bucks, not too bad with a light bbq! Enjoy!

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Celler Ronadelles is a small, family owned and run winery that lies in the shadow of the impressive Montsant mountain range. The winery came to life in 2002 and has gradually grown and developed until present days with its modern, elegant and innovative range of wines, under the distinctive labels of CAP DE RUC, GIRAL and PETIT de Joanne Cox. The small, dedicated team who are employed at the winery, care for the vines all year round before carefully preselecting and hand-picking the grapes at harvest time, always respecting the lunar calendar and integrating these traditional methods with modern technology.

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In the early 1920’s a group of practicing farmers, concerned with the decline of the soil, sought the advice of Dr. Rudolf Steiner, founder of anthroposophy, who had spent all his life researching and investigating the forces that regulate life and growth. From a series of lectures and conversations held at Koberwitz, Germany, in June 1924, there emerged the fundamental principles of biodynamic farming and gardening, a unified approach to agriculture that relates the ecology of the earth-organism to that of the entire cosmos.

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Regarded by some as the first modern ecological farming system and one of the most substainable, biodynamic farming has much in common with other organic approaches, such as emphasizing the use of manures and composts and excluding the use of artificial chemicals on soil and plants. Methods unique to the biodynamic approach include the use of fermented herbal and mineral preparations as compost additives and field sprays and the use of an astronomical sowing and planting calendar.

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131 to go!

Celler Pardas, Somethin Else in D.O. Penedes

252/365 – Catalonia –D.O. Penedes – Torrelavit – Celler Pardas – Rupestris Blanc 2012

Somethin Else…….,

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Rupestris Blanc 2012, 81% Xarel.lo, 6% Xarel.lo Vermell and 13% Malvasia de Sitges

Intense colour with a lot of depth. The primaries give of citrus fruit. After a while the secondary shows mature pear, pear milkshake and ripe melon. Quince and soft hazelnut .A feeling of dawn in a Mediterranean landscape with aromas of: Lavender, weaver’s broom and dried cuttings. Beyond the fruit, there’s  minerality of the soil in which the vines have been thriving. Quite a lot of flint stone. Fresh and fruity passage through the mouth. Glyceric, ample and franc in the mouth. With character. The fruit: pears, apricots and peaches overlay a marked acidic background and provide an excellent tension across the palate which carries over the depth of the fruit towards an electric fresh and slightly bitter aftertaste. Ideal to accompany seafood: mussels, shellfish, Dublin bay prawns as well as grilled and baked fish.

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Rupestris evokes the strength of the rock, the purity of the earth, something primitive, rustic, wild, ancient and authentic. The vineyards of traditional white varieties grown on the estate are planted on the hillsides of the Can Comas estate, which is covered in limestone. Vines that are rooted in the bedrock, the petrocalcic or tapasot. During the summer days, these ancient and shallow soils, suffered a lot to get water and the minerals they needed. All this effort and the enthusiasm of the Celler Pardas team is what they want to convey. Tenderness in every bottle of wine!

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Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

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