Can Bonastre, It Don’t Mean a Thing in D.O. Penedes

288/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Penedes – Masquefa – Can Bonastre – Nara Aging 2007

It Don’t Mean a Thing……..,

Nara 2007Nara Aging 2007, 50% Syrah, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot

Bright dark cherry colour with brown trimmings. Very dense, high layer, close to opaque. The nose is quite intense, with fruit compote aromas (like plum), cocoa and toasted and spicy notes (vanilla and pepper). On the palate it is oily, greasy and greedy, balanced and with a good structure. Long aftertaste and persistent aromas. Cabernet Sauvignon spends 25 days on open French oak barrels and the Syrah and Merlot, 25 days in stainless steel tank, plunging the cap often. 60% of the wine spends 14 months on French oak and 40% on American, also 14 months. The grapes come from three different estates, the Syrah from Can Bartomeu vineyard, the Cabernet Sauvignon from El Fêlix vineyard and the Merlot from the Cal Capità vines.

96 to go!

The White of Vinyes del Terrer, La mer in D.O. Tarragona

287/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Tarragona – Vila-Seca – Vinyes del Terrer – Blanc de Terrer 2012

blanc_del_terrer(1)Blanc de Terrer 2012, 100% Sauvignon Blanc

Pale, bright yellow with green iridescence, shows that it’s a young wine. The nose picks up intense expression of its terroir, with direct white pepper notes and mineral. White stone fruit, freshly cut grass, apricot and a very slight hint of anise come through as secondary aromas. Lemon peel and thyme, after some time of aeration. In the mouth it is clean and fruity. Gentle white fruit, lees which is not taking over, fleshy, peach and apricot. Full in the mouth with sensations described above, with a sweet and greasy feel, intoxicating. I would love this one with a prawn risotto!

La Mer…..

…., we should never underestimate the importance of the sea, especially when it comes to its influence on the vineyards, and as such, the final product. Vinyes del Terrer is a clear example as to that fact, and here, the sea helps to secure high quality grapes, which suffer less from humidity and hence fungal diseases. We should also remember the history and the great role played by the Mediterranean for the sake of spreading our beloved Vitis vinifiera throughout the countries of the middle sea.

KISH_04_77The culture of the ancient Phoenicians was one of the first to have had a significant effect on the history of wine. It was a civilization centred in the northern reaches of Canaan along the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea, in what is now Lebanon. Between 1550 BC and 300 BC, the Phoenicians developed a maritime trading culture that expanded their influence from the Levant to North Africa, the Greek Isles, Sicily, and the Iberian Peninsula. Through contact and trade, they spread not only their alphabet but also their knowledge of viticulture and wine making, including the propagation of several ancestral varieties of the Vitis vinifera species of wine grapes.

logo-vdtThe Morell family vineyard estate is comprised of nine parcels totalling seventeen acres in the outskirts of Tarragona on the Mediterranean coast. Defying urban sprawl, the vineyards lie within a mile and half of the sea, their soils composed of calcareous loam derived from shell (fossil) limestone, known locally as lumaquela.

Felsenküste_Conil_Muscheln_2The lumaquela is a biochemical, non-detrital, sedimentary rock. A type of limestone which keeps decomposed remains of living organisms, i.e. fossils and shells, hence its other name, or fossiliferous shell rock. The overall colour is light soil, like any common limestone, but can present various colours like for example black, which is best seen in shells or fossils, they usually have the characteristics of tile features, used for decoration and construction of houses, the colours it presents, are being polished to increase brightness.

w3-1400x460The heat-mitigating sea breezes and the singularly mineral soils motivated the Morells to perennially dedicate their parcels to gape growing, with the objective of producing wines of the highest and most expressive level. With the encouragement of experts and in recognition of the estate’s unique viticultural gifts, TERRER (terroir) was the clear choice of name.

TerrerRed varieties grown are Cabernet Sauvignon and Garnacha, vines between 15 and 25 years of age. Viticulture is sustainable and yields are held to a scant 1.5 tons per acre. Careful berry selection is followed by natural fermentation and aging during approximately one year in seasoned barriques and 5,000-liter uprights of French oak, seeking minimal wood influence. 2010 represents a début of sorts, the first vintage produced in a new bodega facility in the heart of the estate.

1249403417-368x276The Vinyes del Terrer is a property that occupies seven acres of land south of the historic area of ​​Tarragona, in the municipality of Vila-Seca. The vineyards are timidly risen 20 meters above sea level and just two kilometres from the Mediterranean, where the farm enjoys a climate with sunny days and gentle sea breezes. It has temperatures without extreme changes, with annual average of 15ºC. The vineyards get about 2,600 hours of annual sunshine and rainfall is quite sparse and sporadic. Such climatic features provide the freshness necessary to offset the hot summer days so that the grapes achieve optimal ripeness.

vinyes-del-terrer-do-tarragona-L-4dCShhThe property of Vinyes del Terrer is a flat farm with lumaquela soils rich in silicon, which offer each vineyard of the Terrer its own character and the personality of this unique type of terrain. This peculiarity influences the contribution of mineral terroir heartened by marine sediments accumulated over millions of years. The ambition is to conserve the mineral character throughout the production process, so that the wines reflect the original richness of the terroir.

DSC_1040The wines of Vinyes del Terrer are made exclusively from grapes from their own estates. With a limited production of Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha and the varieties Sauvignon Blanc and Muscat, all the products are made with their own grapes. Right now, Vinyes del Terrer grown grapes in nine partitions, all falling within the seven acres of vineyards owned by Vinyes del Terrer, which has become a distinctive brand that gives us wines, rich in character.

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Terrer d’Aubert 2010, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon

Made from old Cabernet Sauvignon vines and aged in used French oak. Deep ruby color, bluish edges, with nice tears. Pungent cherry and dark berry scents, plus notes of tobacco and dried flowers. Blackberry and bitter cherry flavors give way, after aeration to brighter red fruits, with juicy acidity providing elevation. Closes with tooth-dusting tannins and very good, fruity persistence. A lovely approach to cabernet and it certainly has the necessary structure and balance to age.

97 to go!

Cellers Avgvstvs Forvm, Five Leaves Left in D.O. Penedes

286/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Penedes – El Vendrell – Cellers Avgvstvs Forvm – Cabernet Franc 2011

Five Leaves Left…….,

Cab Franc

Cabernet Franc 2011, 100% Cabernet Franc

Nice and intense cherry colour with violet edges. High, clean and bright. Very intense. The ripe red fruit and floral aromas (violets, roses) are the main characters. When opened, notes as cocoa, coffee, spices follow. Elegant roasted herbal aromas. A wine with a powerful and elegant character, very complex. Friendly input and silky. Tannins with some astringency, which will be rounded of with time.

Peculiar by definition, this “Standalone” Cabernet Franc leaves the reminiscent of its variety and floral notes, combining with details of very ripe fruit due to the Mediterranean sun. A unique,and excellent where nobody will remain indifferent. With a fantastic development inside the bottle for the next 4 to 5 years, this wine is made for those wishing to learn about new frontiers. It is a wine of intense nature, that will shine bright in your glass and will accompany you in your most special moments.

The cellar at hand is world renowned for their vinegars, they are not as known for their wines but they are making progress. I knew about this winery way before I moved to the region. During my youth I worked at the Noble Prize banquet in Stockholm and the chefs there only use vinegars from Avgvstvs Forvm, when preparing the menu for 1,500 guests!

Reconstruction of the Forum of Augustus with the Temple of Mars Ultor, late 1st century B.C.

It may be the best vinegar for all I know, but this is after all, a blog about wines, so wine it is! If you, however, should have a chance to try the vinegar they make, be sure not to miss such an opportunity! It is delicious! Historically Agustus Forum was located in Rome and no, it hasn’t moved to Catalonia. The Forum of Augustus was built to both house a temple honoring Mars, and to provide another space for legal proceedings, as the Roman Forum was very crowded.

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Before battle, military generals set off from the Temple of Mars, after attending a commencement ceremony. Other ceremonies took place in the temple including the assumption of the toga virilis by young men. The Senate met at the Temple when discussing war and the victorious generals dedicated their spoils from their triumphs to Mars at the altar. The Forvm here in Penedes is at times crowded but there are no legal proceedings going on, just wine and vinegar making!

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The name comes from the owners wanting to give some kind of homage to Via Augusta, which used to pass the estate. A vineyard with a long history, having in mind the remains of what was once the Via Augusta, the Roman road that connected Rome with the most important cities of the Mediterranean. That’s why they wanted to pay tribute to this singular Roman road, giving the winery and their wines, the name of Avgvstvs.

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This charming winery was created in the 80s and rebuilt in 1990 with all the charm of times past. Driving into the estate gives a Tuscan feel, with pine trees lining the drive way, leading up to the main building. Inside the atmosphere of times gone by is still vey much breathing. This place is ideal for its rustic charm. It retains all the magic due to its rural setting and the rustic feel of the facilities. It’s an original, that will surprise visitors due to the spaces available and the quality of their services.

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When the first vines were planted in the 80’s, a unique place was chosen because of its “terroir”, just 3km from the Mediterranean Sea. That place was the Pla de Mar, where currently the vineyards enjoy a very special microclimate within the D.O. Penedès, fruit of the constant sea breeze, that brings in warm air from the sea preventing different illnesses and leading to a quicker maturing of the grapes. Noble variety grapes as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay have adapted perfectly to the microclimate and soil.

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Avgvstvs Forvm Chardonnay 2012, 100% Chardonnay

Aged during 4 months in new French, Nevers, oak barrels of 300 liters. The color is slightly creamy, satiny bright pale yellow. Outstanding notes of ripe tropical fruit such as pineapple, papaya and a hint of banana. Some citrus along with some light toasted notes due to its elaboration in barrels.. The notes present are elegantly conjoined with some lactic characteristic touches of the complex development, which give it a nice creaminess and volume. Palate is rich, medium persistent and quite sweet. Ideal with cheeses, goat in sauce or grilled fish, seafood, foie and nuts.

98 to go!!!!!!

Bodega Miquel Jane, Que Se Sepa in D.O. Penedes

285/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Penedes – Guardiola de Font-Rubí – Bodega Miquel Jane – Blanc Baltana 2012

Que Se Sepa……..,

blanc-baltanaBlanc Baltana 2012, 50 % Macabeo, 35 % Parellada and 15 % Sauvignon Blanc.

Pale lemon colour. Expressive aromas of fresh peach, pear, mango, floral notes and a touch of smoke and spice from the oak. Fresh and silky texture, with flavors of green apple and stone fruits. Balanced, with complexity and enveloping after taste. The first thing I noticed was pear and apple, but then as it progressed it was a bit complex, showing a tropical background. When it won temperature it got easier to notice some smoky flavours, typical of ageing, presumably it has to do with parts of the Macabeo being aged on oak. The palate is very structured, with density, with a smooth and refreshing finish. Not very powerful but quite persistent.

bodega-j-miquel-jane

In the heart of Penedès, you will find this bodega and its vineyards. The bodega owns its vineyards, split between two different parts (Cal Costas and Baltana) and is situated in Font-Rubí (province of Barcelona). The vineyard represents 51 hectares under production and has the capacity to increase it up to 150 hectares. The plots are situated at 500 meters of altitude, ensuring a day/night temperature contrast which is necessary to get a full development of the grapes and a good concentration of aromas. It will bring out well balanced aromas of ripe fruits with nice fragrances and acidity. In these wines you can appreciate the geographic nuances of each plot. The different soils and microclimates give each wine its own personality. The wines are part of the appellation, Denominación de Origen Penedés.

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99 to go!!!!!!

Vinos del Paseante, Midnight Rambler in D.O. Montsant

284/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Montsant – Vinos del Paseante – El Pispa 2012

Midnight Rambler………,

el-pispa-2012El Pispa 2012, 100% Garnatxa

Cherry red colour with ruby highlights. Ripe, fruity, mineral touches and well-integrated toasted notes. Easy flowing and gives of a bunch of red fruit aromas, fresh and sweet spice notes from the barrel aging. On the palate it is lively, full of flavour and well-balanced, palate texture is nice and smooth and balanced with a finish of sweet fruit leaving a fresh, fruity aftertaste to be savoured at length.  Grilled red meat, barbecues, stews, jugged hare or rabbit, game, mushrooms, sheep’s cheese, grilled blue fish, salted cod, dried fruit and nuts, sun-dried tomatoes are just some of the foods that would work well with this wine.

GArnacha

Grown on the slopes of the Montsant range in calcareous clay soil, the old goblet-pruned Grenache vines produce full-bodied, complex wines. The Grenache grapes are handpicked
and fermented in small 5,000-litre stainless steel tanks where the close contact of skins and must frees aroma and colour. The wine is then aged in 300-litre French and American oak barrels. In the Montsant region, landscape and wine have gone hand in hand for centuries. From the twelfth century onwards, the Montsant massif was a refuge for hermits who cultivated spirituality. Human activity and respect for the environment have always coexisted here and the Montsant wines faithfully reflect the authenticity of their natural setting.

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The cheeky goldfinch grabs a seed and flies off with it in the direction of the oak forest. The impassive rocky massif of Montsant witnesses the scene.This is a land of white stone, thyme and thistles baked by the sun; it is a region of small terraced vineyards cut into the hillsides.The Grenache vines grown here express the vitality and coolness of this steep and beautiful area. This lively wine full of flavour is a perfect balance of ripe fruit, a hint of minerals and well-integrated toasted notes. Montsant for me, constitutes the very best that, not only Catalonia can offer, in terms of wine, but also I believe it is one of the best wine growing areas in the world!

1217Vinos del Paseante is a collection of wines from a choice range of Spanish appellations, each one selected with the aim of revealing the unexpected, seducing and delighting the palate with its distinctive authentic character and precise. Created with all true wine lovers in mind, present and future, Vinos del Paseante is a proposal marked by quality, identity and typicality, in other words, the expression of the specific character of each area. The rambler has reached Montsant and gives us El Pispa, I hope his wine walking days are not over yet! The selection is based on the ideal figure of El Paseante, the rambler, an ever curious and vital figure who travels the world of winemaking to find new emotions and new wines. The fruits of this search are for people like him, with a thirst for knowledge, conscious of the importance of place and of history, and inclined by nature to value pleasure and understanding.

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100………, ONLY 100 to go!!!!!!

Gran Clos, Should I Stay or Should I Go, DOQ Priorat

283/365 – Catalonia – DOQ Priorat – Bellmunt del Priorat – Gran Clos – Finca el Puig 2004

Should I Stay or Should I Go………,

……., darling (the wine) you’ve got to let me know….., should I stay or should I go? If you say that you are mine, I’ll be here to the end of time, so you’ve got let me know……, should I stay or should I go? It’s always tease tease tease….., you’re happy when I’m on my knees, one day it’s white, the next it’s red! And today it’s red and there’s no indecision that’s bugging me! Time for Super Catalan wine! Should I stay or should I go? I’ll stay and take the consequences! Enjoy life and the Catalan Sweet & Easy Lifestyle!

Finca el PuigFinca el Puig 2004, Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah

A wine that  is well-defined and bright. Almost opaque, intense red-purple hue, almost like a dark dark ruby jewel. Intensely aromatic and complex with hints of fresh, ripe red and black fruit, wild forest herbs, mineral and balsamic notes. Warm and fresh and in perfect balance. Well-balanced taste with a big structure and texture of fruits, delicate and ripe tannins and well-integrated wood with medium-high acidity. Explosive fruit on the palate complements the complex aromatic expression of the nose with hints of licorice, wild herbs and minerals. Long and very aromatic finish. This is not a wine you’d drink every day nor is it a non food wine, so for best experience make sure you’ve got something nice to eat with it! A grilled piece of well seasoned meat, especially beef and lamb and please keep it rare or at least medium-rare. Wouldn’t mind to have it with Serrano ham and especially Jabugo. Classy wine and another Super Catalan to add to the scrolls!

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Vines, like people, often reach their peak in the face of adversity. This highly limited cuvée is hand made from 100-year-old vines that suffer daily to survive in dense slate soils on steep hillsides. Their fruit offers a unique mineral complexity that could come from no other place on earth and has done so since Carthusian monks first planted vines in Priorat in the 12th century (Priorat is the Catalan word for ‘priory’). Welcome to my world!

101 to go!

U Mes U Fan Tres, Emulsified in D.O. Penedes

282/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Penedes – Guardiola de Font-Rubí – U Mes U Fan Tres – Dahlia 2013

Emulsified…….,

dahliaDahlia 2013, 75% Viognier and 25% Xarel.lo

The colour is straw yellow with greenish reflections, clear and bright. This wine is characterized by its deep and elegant nose. Subtle and elegant aromas, rich in nuances, fresh fruit (mango), dried apricots with hints of minerals and stone fruit, apricot, peach and loquat. Dense, soft, warm tropical notes, complex, beautifully balanced, good acidity, long and persistent aftertaste. Wouldn’t mind spending an evening with this wine, some good friends and possibly salad with fresh cheese, prawns or spicy seafood. Works well with Asian cuisine.

Life Is Good

1+1=3 (U Mes U Fan Tres), and yes it is a winery and not a math class, anyway…., the project started about fourteen years ago, although the founders were fully linked to the world of wine ages ago. The 1+1=3 brand name has its origins in the sum of different synergies; the passion for the well done work in the vineyard and for the wine elaboration of the wine maker Josep Piñol; the love of Josep Anton Bonell for the precious fruit which is grown on Penedes land, the coordination of the ageing processes, the bottling and the preparation of the final products, All this together with Carles Esteves prestigious Garraf wine elaboration make these wines and Cavas recognized and sold in USA, Japan, Belgium, Denmark, Holland, Finland, Italy, as well as in Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore…
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The wines and Cavas from this “project” are getting more and more appreciated in Catalonia as well as in the rest of Spain, but for some reason the foreign markets have sniffed up this wine before the general public around the corner got convinced. More or less all their products are “perfect”. if there’s such a description in the world of wine. The energies which are passed on from Carles, Josep and Josep Anton, make the 1+1=3 team carry on working for the lovers of their wines, which at the same time are the ambassadors of the portfolio.
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 The grapes used in this wine are Viognier and Xarel.l, The Viognier which is of unknown origin has been able to adapt itself very well on the highest vineyard of  ‘Can Romeu’; at an altitude of 600 m. This vineyard is known for its scented and fruity wines with stone and tropical aromas. The soil of the  ‘Can Romeu’ vineyard is deep, stony and at the same time fresh. It was planted in 2007 and the growing system used is on trellis; its exposure and orientation is north/west.
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The xarel.lo is one of the native grapes and the most emblematic variety of the Penedes area. The grape is known to give  balanced, silky wines with aromatic, fresh and fruity nuances, which usually reminds us of white fruits and is at the same time capable to surprise us with certain touches of tropical fruits. The vineyard of ‘Can Llerda’ was planted in 1956; its soil is deep, fresh with clay loam texture. Traditional growing system; south exposed and east orientated.

logo-grisThey currently produce around 150,000 bottles of Cava and 40,000 bottles of still wine, under the appellation of D.O. Penedès, In addition to these figures they produce some 100,000 bottles of an organic Rosé made from Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo, which is made for the Swedish market. They export 75% of the total production, so for the ones living outside of Catalonia it is probably easier to encounter the wines then for us living here. They have however begun working to penetrate the wine market of Barcelona.

102 to go!