316/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Catalunya – Esparreguera – Celler Ca N’Estruc – L’Equilibrista 2012
This wine has the intense and dark red color of a ripe cherry. The nose has the concentration of toasted oak that seems to cover the fruit, which is present behind the oaky notes. After a few minutes the presence and freshness of the red berries take over the show, exclaiming that this is indeed a fruit bomb! It is a complex wine, even if the fruit is present at a high degree. The secondary aromas reveal citric notes, aniseed, cedar and vanilla. The entry is creamy and sweet. Flavors of mature black fruit and chocolate. Good structure. The mouth is filled with tannins which provide the volume and a tasty and pleasant finish reminiscent of strawberry lollipop. An interesting wine that should be taken seriously!
One dream, one soul, one prize, one goal. One golden glance of what should be. It’s a kind of magic. What Francisco Martí is creating under the appellation of Catalunya might be considered juts that! The farm Ca N’Estruc is located on the mountainside of Montserrat, in Esparreguera (Barcelona) and the wine making here is rooted in the world of wine since 1548.
The Montserrat mountain and the national park by the same name would in a poetic world be reason for how and why the vineyards are happy here, but I don’t do poetry. So, briefly, for all of you out there, just to understand just what the Montserrat is, here goes nothing.
This multi-peaked mountain is located near the city of Barcelona. It is part of the Catalan Pre-Coastal Range. The main peaks are Sant Jeroni (1,236 m), Montgrós (1,120 m) and Miranda de les Agulles (903 m). The mountain is the namesake for the Caribbean island of Montserrat. Montserrat is sometimes referred to as “tall”, or “la cuchador” (the spork).
It is well known as the site of the Benedictine abbey, Santa Maria de Montserrat, which hosts the Virgin of Montserrat sanctuary and which is identified by some with the location of the Holy Grail in Arthurian myth. “Montserrat” literally means “saw (serrated, like the common handsaw) mountain” in Catalan. It describes its peculiar aspect with multitude of rock formations which are visible from a great distance. The mountain is composed of strikingly pink conglomerate, a form of sedimentary rock. Montserrat is Spain’s first National Park.
The Benedictine Abbey can be reached by road, by the Aeri de Montserrat cable car, or by the Montserrat Rack Railway. The lower stations of both the rack railway and the cable car can be reached by Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya train from Barcelona’s Plaça d’Espanya station. From the abbey, the Funicular de Sant Joan funicular railway goes up to the top of the mountain, where there are various abandoned hovels in the cliff faces that were previously the abodes of reclusive monks, whilst the Funicular de la Santa Cova descends to a shrine.
The highest summit of Montserrat is called Sant Jeroni (Saint Jerome) and stands at 1,236 meters (4,055 feet) above sea-level. It is accessible by hiking trails which connect from the top entrance to the Sant Joanfunicular, the monastery, or the base of the mountain. The Cavall Bernat (1 111 m) is an important rock feature popular with climbers.
Francisco Martí has dedicated his life to the cultivation of 26 ha. of vineyard. The vineyard is 165 meters above sea level, and it has a specific microclimate and is sheltered from the cold north winds by the mountain of Montserrat. Due to this protection the vineyards enjoy cool summers and warm winters with a average annual temperature of 14.1 º C.
Plantations are perfectly designed to optimize the effect of the sun, each plot has been studied in detail so that the perfect match in terms of variety got planted. The oldest vines are redirected to trellises in globelé system (typical of the Rhône). New plantings are aligned north to south, on trellises and conducted on the first wire 80 cm of the soil to promote better ventilation and to avoid most pesticide treatments.
The winery is in the center of the property, which allows for very fast transportation of the grapes. Small deposits of 2,500 L stainless steel tanks and temperature controlled vinification makes it possible to separate musts of different vineyards, both classified by age and by variety and elaborated separately until the final assemblies. Aged in French oak barrels, by Dargaud & Jaegle, Boutes and Seguin Moreau. New plantings of Syrah, Petit Verdot and Tannat are being phased into production to bring greater complexity to the wines. They also buy grapes from selected growers in the area.
Idoia Blanc Fermentat en Bota 2012, 70% Xarel·lo, 12% Garnacha Blanca, 12% Macabeu and 6% Chardonnay
A white with an unusual blend: 70% Xarel.lo grapes, from vines between 20 and 40 years of age, perfectly assembled with Chardonnay, white Grenache and Macabeo. Fermented and aged in oak barrels. Aged for 6 months in new French oak barrels, lightly toasted Allier. Nice golden yellow color of medium intensity and with extraordinarily bright golden reflections. On the nose subtle aromas of vanilla, nutmeg and coconut, with some extra freshness provided by the lime caramel, aniseed, bay leaves and hay, and at the very end a slight sweet aroma of ripe banana. In the mouth it is intense, quite fatty and great longevity. Long and fresh with round tannins which carries to the very end. Good balance and intensity.
75 to go!