305/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Penedes – Avinyonet del Penedes – Cellar Can Ràfols dels Caus – Ad Fines 2003
Bright cherry red color, medium layer, clean, thick and slow legs. Intense aromas of red strawberry, underbrush, sweet baked tomato, roasted apples. Very inviting with some light spicy aromas. Balsamic notes, scrub, mint? (Spearmint). In the mouth it is soft spoken, silky and tasty. Come over as easy to imbibe with delicate tannins. Not to broad, quite gentle fruit, medium long finish, black fruit, sweet spices, cocoa, and a very cool touch of cured meat. A lovely, delicate and inviting Pinot Noir! Ad Fines is probably the best Pinot Noir monovarietal produced under the D.O. of Penedes. I like it a lot but do I think it’s worth the price tag? Hmmmmmmm, well while we’re at it, let’s decide that after another glass!
And so the story goes, that about three years ago, I was at the right place at the right time! Meet with Xavi Nolla as he was introducing me to a winery in Montsant, which I have already covered. At the time Xavi was doing wine tastings every Tuesday at Lola Tapes in Tarragona. We went a couple of Tuesdays to taste some excellent wines and great tapas.
At the time, the knowledge of Catalan wineries was quite limited so this excellent sommelier was, and still is, a great source, recommending several cellars! One of them being Can Ràfols dels Caus! Thank you for the tip, my friend!
Only a few days after getting the insight, a phone call was placed and we were off to the massif of Garraf, a national park and protected area, southwest of Sitges, towards Vilafranca and within the D.O. of Penedes.
Upon arrival we were well received, greeted and shown the sites by Marc Rusca Baena, the in-house sommelier. After this, the first visit, there has been additional ones! And if I decide there will be many more. Will YOU join me next time? Well, that’s all up to you, I’m always available for a visit and tasting at Can Ràfols! Ops, just remembered that I am going there this Sunday with a small group of wine lovers from Barcelona!
The Garraf wine-growing region is a protected area within the traditional boundaries of the Garraf National Park. The Can Ràfols dels Caus estate is situated at an altitude of 300 m, and stands on a rise between the ravines of two watercourses surrounded by vineyards growing on the terraced slopes. From some of the highest vineyards, such as “la Calma” or “el Rocallís” the sea can be seen, some 15km away.
This situation is paramount for obtaining healthy grapes, as they are sheltered from the damp air coming in from the coastline, but are equally protected from the sporadic hailstorms in the Sierra of Ordal or the Pre-Coastal mountain range.
The Garraf Massif has an unusual mesoclimate. The daytime is sun-drenched and hot despite the tempering effect of the sea, which sends in a cooling breeze towards the afternoon. This allows the vines to complete their growth cycle and reach full ripeness.
Only 50 hectares of this 455-hectare estate are vineyards, 2 hectares being used for olive groves, 1 hectare for almond orchards and the rest for woodland, scrubland and rocky terrain. The size of the single vineyards ranges from 0.15 hectares (the smallest) to 2 hectares (the largest).
Can Ràfols dels Caus has always been a forerunner and trend-setter, and some twenty-five years after Carlos Esteva started his wine venture, he decided to take a giant step forward by building a new cellar. The aim was not to squeeze in more vats, barrels and bottles, but to work better.
With this project, the winery’s potential for producing quality wines has multiplied, as the cellar is now geared to promoting micro-vinifications, separating batches even more and research. The cellar has been designed so that it is completely carved out of the Dolomitic limestone of the Garraf, invisible from above ground and totally integrated into the landscape.
This would probably be the perfect location for the next James Bond movie. The scoundrel being a crazy wine maker, wanting to take over the world by making his wine so addictive he would have the whole human race in chains! Carlos is slightly crazy, like all artists, but in a good way! To see what he saw, being a visionary, in 1979, is simply “have to see to believe, based”!
This place is simply amazing! The location, the grounds, the mansion, the winery, the whole concept and the wines, oh the wines! Just writing about it………., I might stop writing and set of for a quick visit! Sure, I can write about it, but the only truth is, you have to sample it yourself.
All I can say is, it will be worth your while! If we were talking Guide Michelin, this would be a 3 star, worth a trip of its own! Enough with the superlatives!
Can Ràfols dels Caus winery produces a range of wines, most of them are great! I believe the current count is 7 or 8 reds, 6 whites, probably around four Cavas and three rose.