Oops Upside Your Head, Cava and 12 grapes!

427/365 – Catalonia – Happy New Year – Time for Cava & Grapes – Kripta Cava Gran Reserva 2007

Oops Upside Your Head……,

Happy-New-Year-Songs-e1419224873411

I don’t know how you celebrate New Years Eve but for me the choice is easy. One of my favorite Cavas is going to flow, the Cava which made me understand that there’s more to Catalan Cava than the mass produced bubbly sold cheap all over the world! Tonight a minute before midnight, I am celebrating what has been and christening the New Year with yet another bottle of Kripta. It was only four and half years ago I got to try it the fist time and since then it has been a returning companion and always present in my wine cellar. I would  also like to introduce you to the tradition of 12 grapes. In Spain, Portugal, and South America people celebrate new year’s eve with Cava and 12 grapes. By midnight, each time the clock chimes, you have to put a grape in your mouth – and eat it. By the time the clock has finished chiming, you have to have finished your grapes! It’s said eating all 12 grapes for new Year’s Eve will bring you luck and happiness for the new year! Make sure the grapes you are about to eat are not too big!Eating-12-Grapes

With this I wish all of you a wonderful New Years Eve and a fantastic 2015 with, hopefully, many great wines and lots of laughter with good friends. I also hope to see you here in Catalonia so that we might be able to share a glass or two together. HAPPY NEW YEAR and THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH FOR FOLLOWING MY BLOG!

kripta_1

Kripta Cava Gran Reserva 2007, 45% Macabeo, 20% Xarel•lo and 35% Parellada

Straw yellow with golden reflections. Elegant, fine and persistent bubbles. Intense, clean and honest. Nose of good intensity with very refreshing initial citrus notes (lemon peel) accompanied by ripe white fruit (sweet pear), hints of apricots, fresh herbal notes of thyme and lavender, milk and fine yeast, with memories of fine pastries, candied fruit and pine nuts and a light floral background. The silkiness is enhanced by the foam which transmits a background of vanilla, ripe fruit and light toast. Long and complex aftertaste, as the aromas of the nose and mouth are repeated, emphasizing vanilla, butter and toast as a legacy of its long aging. Happy Days, Lovely Days and frequently repeated! A Cava with body and soul that goes Oooops Upside Your Head! Happy New Year my wine loving friends!

Then there was none! And that’s how you write a blog  about Catalan Wine during 365 days, consecutive!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

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Satisfy My Soul and 15 Delicious Reds from Catalonia!

412 – 426/365 – Catalonia – 15 Delicious Reds

Satisfy My Soul……….,

I haven’t quite decided what to write about tomorrow and I can’t really say what I am going to do with the blog in 2015. That it will continue, in one way or the other, is clear and I am thinking that I might post once a week and then only do videos, as to change the theme somewhat. As for New Years Eve…., there will be wine, that’s for sure and there will be Cava, no Champagne! So, I’ll either do a piece on a good red or a Cava, or why not both? Catch me tomorrow and you’ll see, but whatever it is, it will Satisfy My Soul and hopefully yours as well! Thank you Bob! And now for some of the great reds from Catalonia! Enjoy!

a_7_177La Llopetera, 100% Pinot Noir

Just the fact that Sanahuja makes this wine using Pinto Noir gives me chills! And how they have managed to give it utmost care is to be admired. I really, really, want you to try this wine! I’m sure you’ll be intrigued and positively surprised whit regards to what can be produced here in the Conca de Barbera, if the wine maker is skilled. This wine has been made without any filtration or clarification, fermented with natural yeasts from the vineyard. As a result, the wine has virtually no sulfur. The aging is 6 months in French oak barrels. The Escoda-Sanahuja winery practice ecologic viticulture and to some extent biodynamic as well. This wine has been made using biodynamic principles.

Light ruby color. The nose shows a lot, a virtual dance (samba?) takes place. Berries in masses, Mediterranean forest, fresh cut fennel, underbrush, chalk……. The palate is delicate, easy, wide and quite fleshy. The wine has clear varietal and mineral character, which include fine notes of red fruits on light backgrounds of wood. Super fresh and elegant. It will get even better with time, my guess is that should have been drunk now, as it is still unruly and young. Will age slowly improving in character and elegance, give it another few years and I’m sure this will be a great one!

DSC_1083L’Antana 2009, 100% Merlot

This wine displays the benefits of slow, even ripening during a mild growing season. Though there is fullness and a lush character to this Merlot, there is also restraint and elegance. Promising aromas of cherry, red plum, raspberry, and dried herbs lead to a clean fresh entry with impeccably balanced acidity suporting intense red fruit flavors of cranberry, plum and raspberry. Round, supple tannins provide an enticing framework for the flavors and contribute to a lingering finish. Age a few more years and you won’t be disappointed!

1980213_1473071126244012_988613148_oTerra Remota Usted 2009, Garnacha and Syrah

Splendid garnet red colour with light reflections of tile. A wine with finesse that I dare call opulent and big. Smoked bacon, cherry and truffles are the aromas that are primary and easily detected. Caramel, liquorice and tobacco are present but all intertwined in the most stylish way. A silky and smooth entry, classy and elegant with silky tannins. Toasted almonds, mineral notes and lingering soft spices. The after-taste is long almost chewy but the tannins are soft.

DSC_0802Sons 2012, 100% Monastrell – Fermented in clay amphoras in the vineyards of Sicus.

The Sons is a wine that I intend to keep one bottle of and open it in 12 – 14 years as I am sure it can stand at-least that amount of time.  The color is dark cherry, slightly bluish, pink rim with heavy and fatty tears, receding slowly. The first nose says a lot, leave me alone for a while and you shall be rewarded. A multitude of aromas evolve during the 2 hour tasting and there is a lot of fruit but also herbs and underbrush. Elegant floral aromas with intense aromas of red fruits such as mature strawberries, raspberries and currants. It is a mouthful, almost to be cut with a knife. The strain of Monastrell holds everything and concentration of the vintage gives very deep rustic shades, with cherries, raspberry, carob and chocolate.  No food is needed and one glass of this bundle of joy can last forever!

93-ceps93 Ceps, 100% Sumoll (one of my favorite, Catalan, red grape varieties)

As the name indicates, 93 Ceps, (93 vines), the Sumoll grapes come from only 93 vines! The vineyard is 60 years old and located in Santa Maria de Martorelles. The harvest was carried out during the first two weeks of October, collected in boxes of 15 kg. The harvest is de-stemmed and tread lightly and led throughout by gravity, without the use of pumps. The wine is fermented and macerated in stainless steel tanks of 1000 liter. 21 day resting period with 3 pigeages daily. Malolactic fermentation is done in barrels of 225 liters of various backgrounds and different levels of toast. Aged for 14 months in new French Allier oak barrels. Production below 1,000 bottles.

Medium cherry red color, shiny and bright, clean. The nose has good intensity, expressive and crisp varietal definition. Fresh red fruit (cherries, strawberries, plums) are dominating. Menthol, with notes of Mediterranean forest (thyme syrup , rosemary) are nicely laid out and carries the wine further to a second dimension. There are marked aging notes (aromatic cacao, lactic, smoked and curious notes of oriental spices (turmeric, curry leaves, cardamom) and a hint of graphite pencil lead. Intense spicy finish. A wine with a great personality.

brao-vinyes-velles-2011_g_577Braó 2011, selection of vines, 60 years of age to almost centenarian plants of Garnacha, Garnacha Peluda and Samsó (Carignan)

Braó was widely used as a word for strength and courage. These are the words that best define these very old and wonderful vineyards, which against all possible odds have offered rare and unique grapes. Bright cherry colour, intense, clean and bright with violet hues. Abundant slow-falling, dark tears staining the glass. Nose of ripe fruit, sweet spices, expressive, complex, elegant. Tasty, fruity, ripe tannins. Powerful, bulky attack. Slow, concentrated, silky and tasty in the mouth. Some intense tannins, a little bit rough but compensated with a very refreshing and defined acidity. Long and persistent finish with fruity notes. A serious wine full of life and joy!  12-13 months French oak. Powerful wine, structured, deep but with great elegance and finesse to drink now or store for many years.

DSC_0054Cal Batllet, 5 Partides 2009, 100% Carignena, from very old vines!

Aged for 15 months in French oak. 100% new barrels. The barrels are of 225 liters and the fermentation is carried out in open barrels at a maximum temperature of 26 º C, 4 pigiage daily, gentle extraction, long gestation and high control. Respecting the grapes fully! “Gratallops Vi de la Vila” is the new appellation for the wines produced from Gratallops, inspired by the Burgundy philosophy of village wines.

The color is dark ink but not opaque, it is more of a deep purple. Red and black fruit with an overlay of jammy blackberries and red currant. This is a complex wine and the secondary notes were a bit hard to read as they were evolving minute by minute, but ground coffee and underbrush were present most of the time, blue berries and cassis showed up to join the show as well as slight hints of cedar and spices. The mouth receives a harmonious mix of savory ripe fruit, smooth and velvety with a multitude of rich flavors endorsed by time, better by the minute. Have I found new favorite from Priorat? Yes, because they are ALL my favorites!

destrankis-2012Destrankis 2012, 80% Garnacha and 20% Cariñena

Bright red cherry color with violet tones, middle layer. The nose is full of fruit, light touches of menthol, green leaves and pine. Good combination of fresh red fruit, herbs, thyme, rosemary and mineral notes. The palate shows some minerality. This is a fresh and balanced wine. Licorice, balsamic and butter, with a slight touch of camphor. The palate is light but persistent, with a subtle mineral background showing where it comes from. If you like Grenache, this is a wine for you!

Sot Lefriec 2004Sot Lefriec, 50% Merlot, 30% Carignan and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon (D.O. Penedes)

The fermentation of this particular wine takes place in small tanks on wild yeasts. There are no pumps in the winery as the wines are moved using inert gas to avoid any uncontrolled oxidation. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carignan were harvested approximately 10 days later than usual or what would be considered normal for the varieties and region. Prefermentation maceration and alc. fermentation around 30-35 days for Merlot and Cab. Sauv. and around 25 days for Carignan , which is also longer than usual. During these periods, there are daily remontages and pigeages. Sot Lefriec 2004 has spent 23 months ageing in French oak barrels, 70% new oak. This is a super small garage producer, that works out of Vilafranca del Penedes, so if you see a bottle of Sot Lefriec on a shelve be sure to grab it fast!

DSC_0036Negre de Negres 2012, Garnacha Tinta, Carignena, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah

Down and down I go, round and round I go, like a leaf that’s caught in a tide….., Black Magic is found in abundance in this Super Catalan that Alfredo Arribas had created by most probably using magic? This is a wine that shouldn’t exist, at least not in this region, because it defies all sensory logics when it comes to what the Priorat region equals and what wines from here in general are all about. Even the price is magical, an absolute value for money! And that, my friends, is why it is a Super Catalan.

Bugader-400x400Bugader 2006, Syrah 85%, Garnacha 15%

Cherry color with violet borders, high layers. Fine and elegant nose, floral notes, red and black fruits and a hint of wood. Its evolution is insatiable, pastries, balsamic, elegant wood, herbs, butterscotch, chocolate, cocoa, coffee….. What I have in the glass, is a great wine, very well put together (produced) and well balanced, harmonious and amazing nose. It is one of those wines that puts everything in perspective, primary, secondary and tertiary aromas dancing together as one at the end! Once in the mouth it is elegant and polished. Large and round, not tired or exhausted, very long and sweet. Very elegant balance. Make sure to decant at least half an hour and make sure to get two bottles when you buy this one, you’re gonna need them both!

escur10_174x241Els Escurçons 2010, Garnacha and Syrah

How much soul can a wine have? After trying Els Escurçons I´d say, unquantifiable! This is a wine with a beautiful dark cherry color, garnet rim and medium high layers. Bright and clean. The nose, after a while of areation, is spicy with creamy aromas, slightly oaky, ripe and complex. It is very expressive showing varietal fruit notes, like mature black berries. Mediterranean herbs, like thyme, fennel, rosemary and even a slight scent of lavender. Complex, in terms of the roasted notes found, chocolate and balsamic.It is powerful and elegant on the palate with a broad and intense entry, good acidity and polished tannins. It has a long finish with aromatic retronasal memories of spice, red fruit, herbs, wildflowers and light toast. Soul in a bottle! Love this Super Catalan!

DSC_0461Sileo 2013, 80% Garnacha and 20% Samsó

This IS the color of dark cherry! Some purple hues, clean and clear. Thick and abundant tears. The nose is clean and honest aromas of red and black fruit appear, strawberries and blackberries on a slightly spicy background which highlights the vanilla and coconut and light smoky notes. The palate is fresh, satiny, with sweet tannins and well integrated with the alcohol. It is a powerful, elegant and expressive wine, which blends red fruit with notes of pastry and fine woods. Long aftertaste where the fruit blends with notes of wood. Got to love this one!

0001692_HLaurel 2012, Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha and Syrah

Dark cherry color with cardinal red reflections. Clean and bright, abundant tears. High intensity nose, expressive, full, concentrated and enjoyable. Ripe black fruit dominates and gives way to floral notes, spicy, toasted (which after a while become roasted) and deep minerals. The palate has a powerful entrance with a lot of volume. It is a fleshy red wine, with great weight deriving from the fruit, tasty, unctuous step, with excellent acidity and ripe tannic sensation. Balanced, long finish and very persistent. Laurel 2012 comes from the small winery Clos i Terrasses, led by Daphne Glorian, creator of the legendary and excellent Clos Erasmus. Laurel 2010 is a blend of Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, aged for 15 months in second year barrels, in which the Clos Erasmus was aged. Recommend decanting about two hours. Another true Super Catalan!

Ay de mi 2010,Vins del tros,Terra Alta,Spain,vino-vi.com,-400x400Ay De Mi 2010, Garnacha Negra and Syrah

Oye Como Va, means “Hey how’s it going”….., Ay De Mi translates to “Oh My!”. And f I was a lazy bugger, which I admit to being at times, I would simply conclude the tasting with just that….., Oh My!!! Aromatic, well made and tasty are words that immediately come to mind! But let me be a bit more specific. The color is cherry red with purple edges. Tears that stain the glass. Primaries of black fruit with hits of spices, cinnamon and vanilla. Delicate notes of aromatic herbs and licorice at the background. Ample and rich on the palate with high presence of very ripe fruit, red sauce, ground pepper, cinnamon and caramel latte. Polished tannins and earthy feeling to end. The Garnatcha Negra and Syrah for this cool wine comes from the D.O. of Terra Alta. From vines growing at 400 meters in elevation with significant temperature fluctuations from day to night, this is a cool and balanced wine. It has aged for 12 months in barrels 50% newer and 50% older. Try with savory roasts, braises, and rich, meaty fare.

And then there was only 1 to go, tomorrow is the last day of 365 in a row!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

Apostrophe and 15 Selected Cava to finish the year!

397 – 411/365 – Catalonia – 15 Selected Great Cavas

Apostrophe………,

…. just lean back  and chill, can’t go wrong with Zappa and Cava! The year only has another 2 days to go, so it might be time to get some Cava to celebrate what has been and what is coming. I wish you all a fine ending to the old year and a great 2015! With todays entry I have selected some of my favorite Cavas, as I did with the whites the other day and this time again, in no particular order! Enjoy!

be14Bertha Siglo XXI Gran Reserva, Macabeo, Parellada, Xarel·lo and 10% Chardonnay

Minimum maturation sur lies, 36 months, which produces a great aromatic complexity. Bright yellow color with fine and steady bubbles. Intensive and extensive aromatic range, white fruit and flowers perfectly conjugated with lees aging: confectionery, brioche, smoked, dried fruits. Very elegant nose.  The entrance of this Cava is fresh, creamy and elegant. The bubbles are subtle, fine and very well built, durable and with an original personality. Its aftertaste is very long and delicate. If you need a food Cava, this is the one, not that I mind enjoying it as is!

recaredointens2009

Intense Rosat Brut Nature 2009, Pinot 77%, Monastrell 23%

Intensive deep pink colour with abundant slow rising medium size bubbles. On the nose red fruits are perceived together with very refreshing balsamic sensations and a slight mineral background. The palate is dominated by red fruit nuances, it has a good balance and acidity. Candied red fruit, light floral notes and fine toasty notes provided as a background. Very fresh with integrated carbon, spicy touch at the very end. Persistent minerality. This is, like all Recaredo Cavas, is a Brut Nature but due to the fruitiness perceived as sweet. Has a great personality!

agusti-torello-mata-cava-barrica-brut-nature-2007Cava Agusti Torello Mata, Reserva Barrica 2007

Pale yellow with golden reflections and fine and abundant bubbles. The nose is a festival of flavors, starting with candied fruit, baked apple and floral notes that are slowly giving way to notes of aging. Pastries, yeast, vanilla, oak, candied sugar and nuts. The palate has a fresh entry with a fairly potent carbon, excellent acidity and a really long finish, with hints of parenting and a citrus and bitter twist at the end. Another piece of Iberico works well with this one!

1523015_1440203786197413_1940330730_oMas de la Basserola – Cava Brut Nature Seleccio, Parellada/Macabeu

This is a well structured, balanced, fresh and fruity Cava. The crianza is well done which has led to a nice integration of the carbon dioxide, resulting in a soft and pleasant experience. The color is clear yellow straw with a light green hue and steady and fine bubbles. The aromas are subtle, complex and expresses a touch of yeast, brioche and white fruit. Dry, tasty and elegant notes. Good acidity, gives of a medium long finish.

 

GramonaGramona Gran Reserva Brut 1999, 70% Xarel.lo and 39% Macabeu

Bright yellow with a bright gold hue, clean with fine and steady bubbles. Great intensity on the nose with a predominance of pastries and bread, dried yeast, toasted brioche thin and freshly baked croissants, lactic and creamy notes with pleasant memories of baked cakes or pastry with cream or apple compote (Apffelstrudel), candied orange, almonds and toasted pine nuts, tart dried figs that give it a sweet touch, outstanding aromatic intensity that is accompanied by a marked mineral background at the very end. The palate has a huge input, a creamy grand tour with ripe fruit (candied orange, white fruit and somewhat syrupy candied fruit and some dried apricots), excellent acidity, at times reminiscent of the profile of Amontillado sherry with the ageing notes and oxidation, roasted nuts, slightly sweet, good texture and impressive structure that appeals to all the senses, majestic persistence. Long long after taste of ripe fruit and some sweetish after taste of yeast and fine pastries. A Cava that leaves you speechless! This is a true Super Catalan Cava!

Alta Alella Opus Evolutium

Alta Alella Opus Evolutium, Organic Brut Nature Gran Reserva, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir

All Cavas made in Catalonia are presumed, more or less to contain Xarel.lo, Macabeu and Parellada. Chardonay and Pinot Noir are not mainstream, but when they are used, AA Opus Evolutium can happen! According to the regulations all of the five varieties mentioned above are allowed. Historically the indigenous grapes are the ones used mostly. Right or wrong, sticking to imported grapes can make all the difference. This Cava is kept on French oak for 4 months and a minimum of 36 months sur lies. The color is intense with greenish tones. The bubbles are plentiful, small and constant, elegant with a persistent crown. Intense color and greenish tones. Primary aromas of white fruit, pear. well balanced in the mouth and medium structure. Very tasty, aromatic and persistent.

564Brut Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad, 67% Macabeu and 33% Parellada

This premium Cava is one of the best in its class! The balance between elegance, ripe fruit and the aging being its distinctive features. The vinous, distinctive flavor, full aroma and a delicate finish put it on a level of quality Cavas which can only be referred to as Super Catalan Cava. Bright golden color with fine bubbles. Complex on the nose, aroma of lees, nuts and herbs. Powerful entry, rich in the mouth and a great acidity. Fine bitter ending. Food Cava of the best kind presented in a very special bottle.

anne-marie1Anne Marie Cava Brut Nature Reserva, 40% Macabeo, 40% Xarel.lo and 20% Parellada

Straw yellow colour with green tones. Fine, slow rising bubbles, forming strings of pearls and a lovely crown of mousse. Delicate aging aromas with diary notes of fresh butter against a backdrop of ripe fruit. Pleasant and fresh during entry, opening up fully over the palate. Well-integrated carbon dioxide. The light aging aromas merge with ripe fruit and hints of toast and dried fruit and nuts. Full with good length and long-lasting flavours. Elegant, subtle Cava with great sensitivity, conveying the personality of its creator. With a well-designed, sober and distinguished presentation, this very special Cava cries out to be enjoyed. The Anne Marie comes as Brut and Semi Sec as well. I prefer my Cava dry so I tend to go for the Brut Nature.

CarlesAndreuRosatBrutBarricaSM_logoTorre de L’Homenatge 2003, 50% Xarel.lo, 25% Macabeu and 25% Parellada

Golden color with soft bright reflections, clean, good and fine bubbles, slow rising. The nose gives off intense aromas highlighting a multitude of pastries, brioche, toast, creamy with white fruit and a slight citrus presence, nuts appear along the way. Secondary gave orange peel and slightly bitter nutty overtones. The acidity is not overwhelming, but rather well equilibrated. Creamy entry, candied sugar, toffee. Broad and vivid, long aftertaste of candied fruit with notes of nuts. This is a a true vintage Cava, only released in 1999, 2003 and 2005. 4.000 – 5.000 Bottles unleashed. The 2003 vintage was a year with hot and dry climate, with a difficult harvest, giving low volume.

DSC_0968Cristina Gran Reserva Extra Brut 2006, 10% Macabeo, 35% Xarel·lo, 35 %, Parellada and 20% Chardonnay. 5% of the Xarel·lo is barrel fermented and the Cava has had a minimum period of 60 months sur lies.

This brut cava was selected by the Cava Regulatory Board to be served at the Infanta Cristina’s wedding banquet. To rise to the occasion of this great honour, the Cristina Gran Reserva was created as an exceptional signature Cava. For this special edition, blends of the best vintages, most suited for the long aging periods characteristic of Mas Tinell Cavas, have been used. Intense golden color with fine bubbles. Aromatically complex, showing ripe fruit, like peach, apricot and apple. Fresh and sweet at the same time. Unctuous mouth, balanced  and structured. Nice notes of toast and a final presence of aniseed. Long aftertaste, fresh and glyceric sensations.

castellroig-reserva-familiar-brut-nature-cava-catalonia-spain-10438583Castellroig Reserva Familiar Brut Nature 2005

Bright golden yellow colour with very fine bubbles that form a delicate bubble chain. Great set full of aromatic complexity. Fresh fruit is perceived among its good toasted aromas, its abundant notes of spices, its intense touch of nuts and its light buttery notes of brioche on a subtle herbal background. A great Cava! Its intensity is noticed from the attack. It shows the complexity provided by its long aging with creamy notes and toasted aromas. Its elegant acidity balances the set. It has a very tasty and very long finish.Very elegant and very serious Cava.

20100630214755-1Titiana Pinot Noir Rosé 2012, Brut 

Dark salmon pink with flashes of light ruby and grenadine around the edges, clean and very elegant. The nose is pure raspberry and aromas or ripe berries such as blackberries and blueberries. The palate is round, tasty and very long. Fresh yet subtle, this wine stands well against creamy and mildly spiced food. A great alternative to everyday wines, the only thing that might bring the overall impression down, is the price. Mouthfilling, delicately but richly flavoured, and exceptionally long.

rosaeCava rosae, 100% Pinot Noir

Attractive pale and soft salmon pink color. Fine and persistent bubbles forming a dense crown. Fresh and highly complex aroma with very smoky tones, subtle nose, red fruit finish. The palate is balanced, broad, savoury, rich and elegant, its evolution shows varietal character, ending with a very long and elegant palate with great sensations. This is an elegant and dynamic Cava, which asks you to either love it or hate it. It is NOT a Cava to enjoy just as it is, because it does demand some food to go with it. I tried it with Jamon Iberico, Bellota and it worked wonders. I do believe it would work well with grilled food as well, both meats and fish, as the smoky character it possesses would be enhanced by a summer bbq! I consider this one to be a Super Catalan Cava!

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.

Recaredo Turó d‘en Mota 2002Recaredo Turó d‘en Mota 2002, 100% Xarel.lo

Straw yellow colour, very bright and clean. The bubble rise steadily forming a very thin crown. Surprising with its great intensity, expressiveness, complexity after such long ageing. Very cool, with lots of ripe fruit, especially citrus, interspersed with soft and delicate roasted nuts. Subtle mineral background.  A seductive Cava. A Cava which fills the mouth with total expression, intensity, elegance. Very thin, with a long dry run, nuanced and very fresh. Carbonic perfectly integrated. Full harmony, lively, very nice. Extraordinarily long after taste.

Turo d’en Mota represents the elegance of simplicity: a single vineyard, single variety per each vintage and very limited production. It is a champagne terroir in the broadest sense, ie, with the expression of limestone, Mediterranean microclimate and Xarel·lo from vineyards planted as a single farm in 1940. The first fermentation in oak barrels and the it gets to rests in the bottle for more than 100 months. Very limited production, not exceeding 3,000 bottles. Recommend opening few minutes before serving and please, please, please…….., don’t serve it to cold, around 12 to 14 degrees Celsius should do the trick . Only for special occasions! One of the great ones and certainly to be considered to celebrate New Years Eve with a very special someone!

2 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

Catalan Wine 365 in a nutshell, Dettagli!

Catalan Wine 365 in a nutshell!

Dettagli……..,

Wine lovers around the globe,

from birth, or just almost, I have been subjected to the wonderful world of wine! My origin, through my parents, is Croatian and in that part of the world, you are introduced to wine early. Good wine? Well I guess that depends on what you consider good! You have to experience bad wines to know what a good wine tastes like.

Photo by DOQ Concepts

I have been in the hospitality industry all my life and been privileged and in touch with great wines (and some bad) over the course of many years. Call it a work bonus if you wish or a conscious choice. After many years of managing and opening hotels, mainly in Africa but also in Sweden and the UK, I am now running my own wine tours business together with my wife. All this in the most beautiful part of the world, Catalonia! The past 4 years we have been living and working from our home in Llorenc del Penedes, with the vine just around the corner. You could say we live in the heart of the wine making area of D.O. Penedes.

Photo by DOQ Concepts

Combining a passion and love for wine with the opportunity to show it to like minded wine lovers and making a living from it at the same time, is something I wouldn’t change for all the pizza in the world. I started this blog with the aim of providing information about the wines and D.O:s of Catalonia, giving advice on the cellars, hotels, restaurants etc. To start with my goal is to write about one winery and one wine a day during 2014. Ambitious? Well, I’ll certainly give it a try!

Photo by DOQ Concepts

Parts of our work is also to connect wine importers with wineries throughout Catalonia. SweetEasy Lifestyle and Wine Tours is covering all the D.O:s of Catalonia and we focus on small wineries of the beaten track. Personalized and intimate visits with the winemaker/owner is a must! Bespoke travel and very rarely we take groups larger than 8 guests.

Photo by DOQ Concepts

Three years ago we started a wine club for Swedes living in Barcelona and now we meet at least once a month for tastings and education. The club is a subsection of a Swedish wine club called Munskankarna, currently the largest non-profit wine club in the world, with more than 24,000 members.

SweetEasy Lifestyle

For all wine lovers out there. If you have any questions or need any advice when it come to Catalonia and its wines, wine travel and tours, you are more than welcome to contact me!

Photo by DOQ Concepts

Happy wine loving days/Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

Jamon and Cava, The Ultimate Marriage On Days Like These!

396/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Cava & D.O. Jamon – Jamon and Cava – Mont-Ferrant Blanes Brut Nature

On days like these….

mont-ferrant-blanes-brut-nature-264433Mont-Ferrant Blanes Brut Nature, Chardonnay, Macabeo, Parellada, Xarel·lo

Golden yellow color of medium intensity, very vivid and brilliant intensity, with remarkably fine bubbles. On the nose the complexity is huge, given its long time sur lees. Aniseed notes, toasted bread, a touch of yeast and even a fruity background. The palate is lively, with good acidity, tasty but not heavy, leading to an outstanding finish. An excellent choice together with a lovely plate of Jamon Iberico! Agustí Vilaret founded the Mont-Ferrant cellars in 1865 in Blanes. During 1872 they presented their production at the Concurso Exposición de Barcelona. This presentation demonstrates, in a documented way, that Mont-Ferrant is the oldest Cava producer among all the companies in the current sector. They define their customers as a legion of friends who they constantly want to please, offering them a wide taste palette so they can decide which kind of Cava goes best whit the occasion at hand, for me any day is good enough for a glass of good Cava and great Jamon Iberico.

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Besides writing I also have the obligation, and interest, to follow wine bloggers around the world to see what they are up to. Amazed by the ability they have at churning out piece after piece! Wow! Tonight! Writers block! What is that? A real thing or just a way for those claiming to write something, anything, to have an excuse! Well, if you ask me it’s something true. Then again, excuses are the nails that hold failure together.

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Had a, one in a million, bad wine cellar visit today, threw me off bunds and I haven’t quite bounced back yet! My thought was to write a cover for the producer visited, but can’t find myself doing Catalonia, the land of wine, that misfortune.  Has to be the Italian job! Yes, there are bad wine producer and less god wines here as well. My point is to give you the ins and outs when it come to the ones you should visit, not the ones you shouldn’t.

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However, all that may be, here I am and writing ahead, thanking my friend, my help and inspiration for the night, for that! Having had a long conversation over the FB, I got talked into a starting point, and here it is. Not what you might expect, but nevertheless an article! Parings! The perfect marriage is when you experience an excellent wine with a mouthwatering meal, and the two together make a unity worth repeating and sticking to.

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Fish and shellfish with white or bubbly, juicy tender red meats with heavy reds, sweet and fortified with cheeses and glorious desserts! All works for me. Pairing Cava and ham, Jamon Iberico to be exact, two quality products that harmonize perfectly, is something that I discovered living here, take the custom as it is. If you haven’t tried it yet, you should!

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It is little known that one of the most interesting pairings for the palate is the combination of a good Cava with delicious dried ham. I say this because Iberian ham, Iberian pork or ham from the white pig, goes really well with a good Cava. So I will propose replacing the red wine, a classic, with a sparkling like Cava, not Champagne mind you! Doesn’t exist in my book! The nuances of the ham will enhance the Cava and vice versa.

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First of all, it’s known that in one small piece of ham different flavors ca be extracted. Remember also that the taste of a thin slice cut is different from a thicker slice. It is essential to cut the ham into perspective. This itself can make us appreciate the flavor and aroma which is conducive to the different ham D.O:s Another key factor is the serving temperature. Too cold ham loses many of its organoleptic qualities. The factors mentioned so far can be controlled. Learning to cut the ham or serve it at the right temperature and knowing the differences between different parts of each piece is hugely important.

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Additional factors to have in mind are; pig breed, Iberian or white. Fodder. Climatology. Manufacturing process (salting and curing times). Fodder is one of the most important factors, so I would like to dwell a little longer on this. Because fodder texture, taste and aroma of ham vary substantially, leading us to choose the type of Cava for pairing. The type of food in the fattening phase (last few months before slaughter) is distinguished by:

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Iberian pig , with a natural diet based primarily on acorns and grass from the meadow (Iberian acorn palettes).

White or Iberian pig fed mainly cereals such as barley and wheat (hams and Iberian bait).

In the different D.O:s, these factors are controlled by the Regulatory Council of each, so that the resulting product is always fairly homogeneous. Generically, let’s look at the qualities of aromas and flavors of all the ham D.O:s of Spain.

IBERIAN PIG .

Ham D.O. Pedroches . Pleasant and intense aroma with a slightly sweet flavor.

Ham D.O Guijuelo . Delicate and fragrant aroma with a slightly salty taste.

Ham D.O. Huelva. Delicate and exquisite aroma with an intense and persistent flavor.

Ham D.O. Dehesa de Extremadura. Intense, enjoyable and nuanced aromas with a little salty , intense and persistent flavor.

WHITE PIG .

Ham D.O. Teruel. Soft, pleasant and evocative aroma with a delicate flavor and slightly salty .

Ham D.O. Trévelez . Soft and penetrating aroma with a taste considered the sweetest on the market.

Now let’s look at the Cava!

Well-cut ham is very important, serving Cava in at the right temperature, equality important. Try to achieve 5 to 8 º C before serving.

To achieve this temperature, do not use the freezer. A rapid change in temperature can affect the characteristics of Cava. Better cool it for a few hours in the refrigerator. If there has been an oversight and we have Cava at room temperature and urgently need to open a bottle, I recommend putting it in a ice bucket for about 20 minutes.

After various hams and Cava tastings, I have come to the following conclusion. The Cava pairs perfectly with ham and enhance its flavor, generally the dry ones!

In conclusion, no need for strawberries, a festive occasions or shellfish! Bring out the ham and the Cava! More importantly, tonight’s Catalan wine! Enjoy!

3 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

I’m Dreaming Of A White Christmas!

381 – 395/365 – Catalonia – 15 Selected Great Whites

I’m Dreaming Of A White Christmas!………,

The end is nigh and so I recap on some of my favorite wines from Catalonia. The whites below are a few of many excellent wines found in my neck of the woods and in no particular order. As you might know, if you have been following my blog, I don’t give scores and so shall it remain. Just some good wine to enjoy on your own or with friends! Have a great Saturday and make sure you have something nice in your glass!

DSC_0053Nun Vinya dels Taus 2013, 100% Xarel.lo

One of the most elegant and impressive wines, all categories, I have and the good fortune to try this year. Attractive yellow color with delicate gold reflections. Clean and bright. Glyceric tears. My first impression was that of indecisiveness, I couldn’t get my senses to interpret what was going on in the glass, as there was too much information that came too fast. Very complex sensations, hard to put in words. After a while I got my head around it. Very elegant, very fresh and seductive aromas. Intense ripe white fruit and citrus aromas and fresh flowers. Some vegetal notes but in a good way. Herbs, sage, fennel and soft menthol. All interspersed with the creaminess given by the oak. Once in the mouth it is very present, taking over and claiming the mouth as its own. Long travel, very deep, intense and concentrated. Excellent acidity which gives loads of freshness throughout its path. Elegant, long and persistent finish. This is a Super Catalan!

garnatxa_blanca_23859Herencia Altes Garnatxa Blanca 2011

Straw yellow color. Expressive exotic nose, white flowers are all over the place, mineral and well marked acidity that keeps it fresh and alive over time. The palate is creamy and has good volume. A wine with complexity and soul. It was made using old and young vines of Garnacha Blanca. The grapes were picked early to ensure good natural acidity. Followed by short maceration and fermentation. The wine was kept two months on its lees to gain texture and complexity. This is a wine to fall in love with!

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Vi de la Vila, Escanya-Vella 2011, 100% Escanya-Vella

Don’t know why really, but the wine was totally unclear  as I opened the bottle but after about half an hour it displayed a clear and vivid colour, slightly golden. The primaries present some ripe white fruit and aromatic herbs. Continuing with notes of quite light floral and mineral touches, citric lime and hints of tropical fruits, like pineapple. Complex and fresh nose. Easy entry, easy to drink and easy to enjoy. Good body, balanced  and well defined acidity, complex taste as was the nose.  mouth-filling with good acidity, giving it length and freshness. This is a wine I am happy to recommend any time a day!

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Els Bassotets 2012, 100% Chenin Blanc

Deep golden yellow and turbid, due to the absence of filtration. High intensity shows a complex nose full of nuances. Aromas of white fruit and very ripe yellow citrus fruits, yeast and sweet spices, lifted by a subtle wood. The palate is oily, with a silky smooth texture, superb acidity, deep, aromatic, good finish, long and persistent that puts more wood on the nose, lots of fruit and mineral notes.

sisquellaSisquella 2012, Albariño, Garnacha Blanca and Moscatel de Alexandria

Straw yellow color, clear and shiny. Powerful sweetness on the nose with notes of pineapple and lemon, ripe white fruit also appears after some time, toasted vanilla and a light touch from the French oak. Quite floral overall feel. It is elegantly spicy with citrus notes that are present but not overwhelming. This is a very fresh wine with a medium long after taste. With the ancient name of the lands of L’Albagés, Clos Pons Sisquella restores white wine making in the area of the Garrigues, a region otherwise known for the reds.

30.70-201330.70 – 2012, 30% Muscat de Alexandria and 70 Garnacha Blanca

Light yellow color with golden reflections. White stone fruits, honey, menthol and grass. Perfumed nose with subtle hints of peaches, apricots and the Muscat standing out with its honeyed aroma on a background of white fowers and aromatic herbs, leaning towards the typicity of white Grenache. large entry, managing to maintain freshness and intensity, slightly salty and the taste of wet stone. Great body and the honey, although mineraly, is noticed in the mouth as well. Fresh, persistent. large and ending on a slightly bitter and herbaceous note. Lovely wine!

trossos-tros-blanc-419542Trossos Tros Blanc 2009, 100% Garnatxa Blanca

The color is straw yellow with golden reflections, clear and bright. The nose is elegant and seductive, initial intense and complex aromas of white stone fruits (peach, apricot) accompanied by a bouquet of floral notes, spices, vegetables and balsamic on a strong background of toast. A number of very subtle aromas emerged constantly, menthol, white flowers and vanilla. Exquisite acidity and the alcohol is totally integrated. Notable is the perfect balance between fruit flavors, and the contribution of the barrel. Fresh, fleshy and unctuous on the palate, it exhibits lactic, citrus fruit and oak-ageing notes and culminates in a long, persistent finish. Wonderful wine that has no match! If you ever come across it, be sure to try it, I guarantee you are in for a unique experience. My preferred choise is to share it with good Friends!

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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.

ekam-221048Ekam 2013 , Riesling and Albariño

Straw yellow color, clean, silver and brown reflexes. Good flow, satiny. Alsatian bottle, high quality cork. A great example of a well done wine and the first thing that come to mind is how well the Albariño has been lifted to the foreground (Pineapple, freshness of the ocean, sea flavors). There are also clear citrus notes, floral, salinity and some ash. In general the mouth is persistent with acidic citrus notes. The attack is very good, vinous, finding flavors of pineapple, pear and citrus fruit like (lemon and lime but also apple). It leaves a salty palate with medium, not overly long finish. After 6 hours it is slightly more evolved, especially the presence in the nose with some fruits, (lemon, peach) and flower notes. On the palate, it is more refined as well, the Albariño grape is palpable, with some more presence of the northern variety (Riesling), without taking over the show, I’d say the the final flavor is that of the Riesling, while the Albariño carries the acidity. Is this a Catalan wine? Yes it certainly is, welcome to the Catalan Pyrenees.

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.

Coma Romà Xarel·lo Macerat 2012

Coma Romà Xarel·lo Macerat 2012, 100% Xarel.lo

A noble and not so soft spoken wine! Fine yellow straw colour, bright and clean, dense tears that slowly flows down the inside of the glass. Aromas of ripe white fruit (pears and apples, candied fruits), banana peel, soft milky notes (yoghurt mousse) balanced creaminess and floral notes, aromatic herbs, fennel and a gentle balsamic background, a slight touch of wet stone. The palate has a very good entry, very tasty ripe white fruit, good acidity, light citrus touches that appear after a while, very palatable, intense, broad, soft notes of spice (white pepper), and pleasant persistence. Long finish, white fruit and slightly smoky aftertaste.

The Xarel.lo grapes, from vines that are older than 70 years, is skin macerated before juice extraction and subsequent fermentation in new French oak barrels, under temperature control. The wine stays in the same barrels for about 5 months and in contact with its lees. Production is limited to 900 bottles. Get a bottle now!

Aikarai 2013

Aikarai 2013, 100% Muscat de Frontignan

Pale, straw color with green reflexes & lime hues, delicate and glyceric tears. On the it is nose bursting with intense aromas of fresh grapes combined with a pleasant fragrance of exotic fruist, white rose petals, jasmine & oriental musk and finally fusing into a citric breeze. Freshness and smoothness, balance and elegance, nice body and texture, very hip with fruit sensations, citrus and peach pit notes, creamy finish with a bitter touch. Structured & elegant with fine flavors of white flowers, peach & citric peels and very subtle notes of coriander spices. Big-boned and mouth filling with a smooth texture, balanced by a long dry finish and zesty acidity. Magnificent aperitif. Matches well with oily fish, mild or creamy style cheeses, like goat cheese with dry fruits and nuts. The handpicked grapes come from low-yielding vines & single plots reserved for the production of the Aikarai. Gentle whole bunch pressing is followed by the sequential wild yeast fermentation in small stainless steel tanks at a very low temperature between 12 -14 ºC for aprox. one month The Aikarai is a young and sexy wine and even though easy to drink, quite complex and with depth.

 

matrbMatraketa Blanc 2012, 100% Garnatxa Blanca

One of the latest wines of Ficaria Vins shows the potential of both white Grenache of the region as well as the elaboration and will to try something that in the old days was obvious. The Montsant is not only about great reds, so please, let the white Grenache shine and Roll With It! Bright yellow with green hues. The nose shows lots of fruit, white fruit, pear, apple, and floral notes, jasmine and some aniseed. Easy yet expressive on the palate, good acidity, fresh and aromatic. It is fleshy and expressive, with a long aftertaste, cool and pleasant. Super Catalan for sure, white this time! You could match this wine very well with a wide variety of dishes: pasta, rice, fatty cheeses. A good white wine to enjoy during the summer heat!

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Les Vistes 2012, 100% Xarel.lo, barrel fermented with its lees. Barrel aged.

Bright golden, clear and brilliant with slow and fat tears. The nose is floral and buttery, the oak notes are round and the vanilla is light. Notes of fudge, warm eucalyptus and some peach. There is a strong presence of mineral elements, enhanced by the permanence of wine on the lees during aging. The palate is full and complex, but maintains its freshness and balance due to its good acidity. The evolution of this wine in the glass is remarkable, slowly evolving and showing different levels of aromatic complexity.

antistiana_incrocio_manzoni_2011_low_resAntistiana 2012, 100% Incrocio Manzoni

Bright straw yellow colour. The nose transmits fresh aromas of citrus, herbs like rosemary and a likeable saltiness. This is a very Mediterranean style wine but with something that doesn’t really “fit the bill” to be fully considered a typical middle sea wine. It carries saltiness that reminds me of one wine and then some minerals and floral notes which awakens other memories, of other wines. It is strange in a way, very magical, how it changes throughout the tasting. Some expressive mature white fruit, pear and peach. It is full-bodied, flavoursome and very well balanced, elegant on the palate. Splendid and unique, nothing like it really. Well made and high accolades for price/quality.

4 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours