Mas Oller Winery, Make Me Smile in D.O. Emporda

362/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Emporda – Torrent – Mas Oller – Plus 2010

Make Me Smile……..,

6d2e03d70c23b9e23279f5442d45e193…., always just smile! ………you’ll see the sun come shining through for you! You’ll find that life is certainly worth while if you just smile! One thing I can guarantee is that this wine is going to make you smile! Happy wine loving days my friends!

wine-mas-oller-plusPlus 2012, 65% Syrah and 35% Garnacha

Intense cherry color with blue and violet iridescences. Clean and bright with abundant tears. Clean and expressive nose, predominantly fruity aromas that are quite intense. Ripe fruit such as red plums and black cherries. Gradually becomes more complex offering floral, spicy notes carrying nice and fine aromas, herbs and an increasingly intense minerality. The palate is elegant, silky, with a load of fruit. Good acidity and sweet tannins. Long and marked by a mineral persistence. This is a complex, balanced red wine with great value for money ratio.

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The Empordà is a legendary wine-producing region, where the Greeks first introduced grapes back in the year 600 BC. The Empordà is situated in northeast Catalonia and Mas Oller is an old estate owned by the Esteva family. It was in Torrent, in the county of the Petit Empordà with views of the city walls of Pals and the Medes Islands, where Carlos Esteva –owner of the prestigious winery Can Ràfols dels Caus– rescued the family estate from oblivion, building a cellar in what was the old cow shed and replanting vineyards in what had formerly been the best wine-producing estate in Pals.

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Nowadays, nearly 300 years after it was built, Mas Oller has become a benchmark winery in the D.O. Empordà with wines which express the essence of the area and a philosophy firmly rooted in quality. In the year 2000, Carlos Esteva decided to plant vines in order to produce new, prestigious, high-quality wines. Some wine was made from the young vines in the earlier vintages and was sold locally. Now, the vines have reached the right age for achieving the desired concentration of fruit. The first wines were launched in April 2009 and the response since then has been extremely positive.

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The Mas Oller Estate lies between the sea and the mountains, in the   path of the strong northerly wind, the Tramontana and has a diversity of different soil types: clayey, sandy and slate. Conceptually and geographically, therefore, the Mas Oller project brings together Northern Catalonia, the Empordà and Roussillon, with wines which are both expressive and fresh. At present, the Estate has 15 Ha. (37 acres) of vineyard in production and an additional 2 Ha.(4.5 acres) of newly-planted vineyard. The three red varieties are Grenache, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon and the two white varieties are Picapoll and Malvasía de Sitges.

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The vineyards surround the old country house and the grapes are selected manually in the vineyard before being transported in bins to the cellar where the grapes undergo a second round of selection. All of the grape musts are macerated at cold temperatures in order to obtain themaximum expression and extraction of colour and aroma. Their philosophy is based on reviving the winemaking tradition of the Empordà with a modern interpretation. The team consistsof Carlos Esteva, owner and winemaker, Peter Schoonbrood, wine concept and project manager, Martin Cuervo, head of the vineyard and winery.

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23 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

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Vinyes d’Olivardots, M’Agrada in Empordà

354/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Empordà – Capmany – Vinyes d’Olivardots – Finca Olivardots Vermell 2011

M’Agrada……….,

finca-olivardots-11Finca Olivardots Vermell 2011, 70% Syrah, 20% Grenache and 10% Carignan

Ruby red color with dark ruby edge. Intense and bright. Elegant, aromatic and intense aroma of fresh, floral fruit with great expression of Syrah. Violets, blueberries and cassis, all supported by balsamic notes, herbs and a light background vanilla and some lactic sensation. In the mouth it displays freshness. Opulent attack, nice and velvety in the mouth. Soft, balanced input with volume and creaminess and fine tannins. Like the nose, the wine is very expressive, emitting fruit and balsamic sensations: blueberries, plums and cassis, seems everlasting!

viticultura01The Syrah and Grenache grapes come from vineyards which are between 10 to 15 years old and the Carignan grapes come from old vines with an average of 50 years of age. All of them are situated in the flattest land of the region at an altitude of 90/100 meters above sea level where the soil is formed by pebbles, sand and granite. Manuel harvest in crates of 10 Kg, carrying out a first sorting in the vineyard and a second one, grape by grape, in the cellar. Cold soak (2-4ºC), alcoholic fermentation of each variety is done separately in small stainless steal tanks at controlled temperature of around 26ºC. The aging process is 6 months in used French oak barrels. Bottled in May 2011 without fining or filtering.

celler01On a gresa soil, in the middle of rolling hills, where silence reigns and the view is lost sighting the vines, Vinyes d’Oivardots was born. Carme Casacuberta, a graduate of chemical sciences and oenologist,together with her husband Antoni Pena, industrial engineer, both passionate about wine, with a great love for nature and moved by the illusion of creating their own wine, made the dream come true in 2002. They purchased the estate Olivardots and planted the first vineyard in the term of Capmany (Alt Empordà), in the north east corner of Catalonia at the east side of Serra de l’Albera. A stunning landscape surrounded by 4 hectare of vineyards, where they in 2006 built the cellar in a simple but modern building. The design makes it possible to work with the aid of gravity and combine the recent advances in technology with the traditional wine-making.

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The vines grow on different soil types, found in the Empordà, highlighting granite soil, acidic and poor in organic matter.

Gresa Soil: Mixture of sand and grey granite. It is the Olivardots estate soil from which the first wine took its name. This soil brings elegance and aromatic complexity to the wine.

Slaty Soil: It is located in the higher part of the Empordà surface area, about 200 m above sea level. It adds mineral complexity to the grapes.

Sandy Soil: Where they have the oldest plot of Carignane vines, which are about 100 years old. It provides delicacy and elegance to the wine.

Gravelly Soil: Located in the flattest part in the center of the region, slightly tilted toward the southeast. It is a land formed by pebbles, sand with loamy texture. Here lie the vineyards of the white varieties.

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Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

The winery Vinicola del Nordest, Get Ready for D.O. Emporda

350/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Emporda – Mollet de Peralada – Vinicola del Nordest – Garrigal 1999

Get Ready…….,

exactGarrigal 1999, 35% Garnatxa 35% Samsó 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot

Ruby red color, terra-cotta colored rim and a  middle layer. Powerful aromas of red and black fruits with a background of spices and toast, from the aging. The palate is round, fleshy and structured. The acidity is very fresh and the tannins are very round, giving the impression of creaminess. It has an excellent balance with a good palate and long finish. It is a wine with a strong personality. It is a wine that has a pleasant mouthfeel and a long aftertaste. It got to spend a year on American (70%) and French (30%) oak.

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Vinicola del Nordest Is a winery which ages and bottles wines under the D.O. Empordà. It is located in the village of Mollet de Peralada, located in the foothills of the Les Alberes, where there are around 300 hectares of vineyard.

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The wines are made in the cooperative just across the road under proper analytical and temperature control. From there, the best wines are selected to produce a range which goes from the “nouveau” style of a Vi Novell through a ranges of whites, rosés and varietals wines to the reds.

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One of the winery’s specialities is the production of naturally sweet wines, the Moscatel, Mistela Negra and Garnatxa typical of the region.

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The village of Mollet de Peralada is also registered in the D.O. Cava and the sparkling wines have been made here since the winery’s inception. There is also a small shop at the winery where other natural produce of the region may be purchased, as well as having the opportunity to taste the wines.

covest-cabernet-sauvignon-378745Covest, 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Garnacha Negra, 2009

Clear and bright, deep ruby ​​color with violet notes on the rim. Intense aromas of black berries, slight cedar, green peppers, fruity. Palate is well structured with soft, round tannins. Black-currant, licorice, blueberries. Round and long to medium long finish. An easy going red from Emporda, well made and considering the price a really good buy!

36 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

Hotel Hostal-Sport Time, I Gotcha in D.O. Empordà

348/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Empordà – Tasting in Falset – Hotel Hostal-Sport – Garnatxa Solera Marià Pagès

I Gotcha…….

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…. once again, Hostal-Sport hosted a tasting of wines from one of the 12 appellations in Catalonia. Yesterday it was time for D.O. Empordà. Professional, enthusiastic and always smiling….., Laura Masramon Grau, sommelier and highly knowledgeable when it comes to the Empordà, was in charge and showed us what Empordà is all about! If you ever feel like visiting the Empordà, you should definitely get in touch with Laura, as she will show you the soul of the region! The next tasting, and last for the year, is on the 7th of December, covering DOQ Priorat, Vi de Vila producers! I expect some real gems and I for one am not going to miss it!

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Empordà is a landscape of contrasts, situated in the far north east of Catalonia. The Pyrenees, to the north, and the Mediterranean Sea, to the south, form natural boundaries. The breathtaking Costa Brava setting makes Empordà a truly unique place, linking the coast to the mountains, influenced by the famous northerly Tramontane wind. Empordà is a landscape of great natural beauty, with several natural protected areas and an awe-inspiring coastline of beaches and coves. It also boasts a great cultural and historical heritage: menhirs, megaliths, Gothic architecture, Romanesque art, charming small villages, the surrealist art of the genius Salvador Dali… all making the area highly attractive, even more so if the people and fine gastronomy are also considered, especially the Empordà traditional dishes and the nouvelle cuisine, headed by figures such as Ferran Adrià. All of which are complemented beautifully by Empordà DO (Designation of Origin) wines.

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There is no doubt that the wine culture and the knowledge of the wine trade reached Catalonia around the 6th century BC. The area was then the most important Greek colony in Spain, and Emporiae was the Greek city that later gave its name to the district of Empordà. Four centuries later, archaeological and documental evidence exists to demonstrate that the wines of the lands of Emporiae and other areas of the Tarraconensis were known in the domestic markets of other provinces of the Roman Empire and in the metropolis itself.

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In the Middle Ages, when vines were grown near abbeys and monasteries, the terraced vineyards cultivated by the Monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes covered the slopes of the Rodes Mountain range. It is here that the winemaking monk Ramon Pere de Noves is believed to have excelled in the art of winemaking and have written a treatise on the subject. There is also evidence to show that the Monasteries of Sant Quirze de Colera and Santa Maria de Vilabertran also owned vineyards in Empordà.

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In the 18th and 19th centuries, the vines demonstrated their colonising capacity and became a symbol for the agricultural growth that fuelled significant demographic growth in the production area. A unique landscape of cypress trees with dry stone terraces, walls and cottages was shaped. The phylloxera plague first appeared in Catalonia in 1879, in a vineyard in Rabós d’Empordà. It brought a ruinous end to this thriving era for Empordà wines. The recovery was tough. The vineyards never recovered all the land they had occupied prior to the plague.

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The cooperative bodega movement was initially promoted by the Mancomunitat of Catalonia, and later by the Republican Generalitat around 1930. This was the start of a new era of improved winemaking processes; new bodegas were built and sales networks were extended. In addition to these developments, private initiatives were underway and the result was that the quality of wine of Empordà gained fame and popularity in many markets.

Garnatxa_Celler_Maria_Pages_DO_Emporda_AnabelGardellGarnatxa Solera Marià Pagès, 100% Garnatxa

Intense lovely amber color with a mahogany hue, thick and rather slow tears, unclear, slightly veiled. The nose is somewhat reduced as a result of its aging, oak notes of old wood and varnish, nuts (walnuts and almonds), soft licorice notes, nice scents of Mediterranean herbs  (lavender and thyme), soft honey notes, marzipan and soft background of dried apricots and figs. Soft on the palate with a slightly sweet touch, lovely presence in the mouth with good balance, good acidity, soft touches of liquor, dried orange peel, great volume, fine texture, slightly smooth and gentle persistence. Long and persistent aftertaste of dried figs. Powerful, sweet and fruity! My favorite of the evening!

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Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

Espelt!!! Simply Irresistible in D.O. Empordà

344/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Empordà – Mas Espelt – Espelt Viticultors – Quinze Roures 2013

Simply Irresistible……..,

quinze-roures-708105-s48Quinze Roures 2013, 50% Grey Grenache and 50% White Grenache

Bright yellow color with greenish reflections. The nose carries balanced aromatic notes. Spicy, nutty, wild herbs and some silky aromas of vanilla and cocoa. The nose is powerful and quite long, showing of the great personality of this wine and allowing the wood to show at occasions. It continues with exotic fruits like, pineapple and ripe melon, honey and toasted nuts. It has a refined taste, very savory. Sweet entry, ripe fruit and good freshness. It has a touch of acidity that gives it a lasting finish, ending with notes of honey. Price/quality is excellent and the wine is Simply Irresistible!

Once again in the Empordà, where magic happens every day! What a beautiful wine region this is, with vineyards stretching out into the Mediterranean sea. The views are incredible and the wines made here follow suit. This is a place for total relaxation and enjoyment.

Going over my notes I realize it is hard to do the place justice. I am merely a visitor, whereas the winemakers here, live here, breathe here and probably are going to die here. They have captured the very essence of the region, so I am today going to share their words. But please, what ever you do in life, make sure you see Empordà before you die!

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The Empordà Region

“An amphiteathre overlooking the sea, encircled by mountains, which transforms with the seasons. In winter, the magical, silent surprise of the snow rarely reaches it. In spring, the greens are tender and gentle. In summer, the land is parched, the yellows are bright and dry. At the end of the summer, everything becomes infused with a sweet light, as if touched by peaches. In September, the vines of the Empordà region are and elegant, golden grey. Each harvest expresses the perfect cycle of the Earth.”

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Tramuntana

“Of all the wind that caress the bunches of grapes in this land, the most powerful is the Tramuntana that blows from the north. A land wind that is impetuous, inclement and tenacious and that can last up to a week, and which, when it arrives oppresses us and when it leaves liberates us. It is considered responsible for the strange force of the landscape of the Empordà region and for the impulsiveness of its people. Our wines, like us, are touched by this fury and this peace that the Tramuntana gives us.”

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Sauló, Sandy Gravel

“The lands of Vilajuiga and the bare, mineral coasts of the Cap the Creus are covered with a fine layer of gravel, a sandy earth that has its origin in the meteorisation of the granite. The climate of the Empordà region is responsible for its tortouse geology, softened by this sandy substratum that allows the vines to take root and feeds them with minerals from the rocks in the subsoil to provide the flavor, color and aroma that characterize our wines.”

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Rauxa, Impulsiveness

“It is said that the Empordà is a land of lunatics, of crazy people. A land in which impulsiveness dominates in the character of its people. This characteristic has led us to plant vines in this land that is hard to cultivate, to look for the exact setting, close to the Cap de Creus, where the vines grow contemplating a landscape of great beauty. From this ecstasy, and this beauty a vine grows which necessarily transmits character, poetry and quality.”

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Raïm, Grapes

“The generosity of the sun has meant that the non-local varieties we have planted have adapted to our land. Cultivating 17 varieties of vine is like having 17 children each one is different. This diversity, rather than complicating our work, makes it more enriching. As oenologists, it s a journey that encourages us to seek the greatest expression of each grape, to make subtle combinations to obtain modern wines full of passion, souls and personality.”

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Pagés, Farmers

“Love of the land is the origin of our job. From this love we have obtained the certainty that we can not go against nature. We must make the most we can of this dry land and then give it its own philosophy. We must know what to do before planting, how to use fertilizer, which pruning system to use, we must know the exact moment for harvesting. Because the wine is made on the vine. This is the greatest wisdom of the wine grower.”

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Geni, Genius

“One meaning of genius is character, energy, another is ability to create or invent new or admirable things. Character and energy are used to make the most of the land and to create our wines, full of hues, of expression, able to transmit emotion, to reach the heart, to linger in one’s memory. Wines with genius that follows the star of geniuses such as Dali or the author, Josep Pla, with an unquestionable L’Empordà DO.”

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Divi, Divine

“The gods that have always been worshiped here loved wine. The first Greek gods intervened so that the vines would take root. The Romans asked their gods for their best auguries for their harvest. The gods of the monks in Sant Pere de Rodes monastery gave them the wisdom to cultivate the vines. Over the centuries this divine plan that we still respect today was not able to be conquered by the Barbarians, the Arabs, or the Turkish pirates or even by the devastating phylloxera.”

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Comabruna 2010, 100% Carignena, from vines up to 120 years  old. Aged for 14 months in French oak barrels.
A modern and well made wine. Dark cherry with a violet rim, thin layer and nice legs. The nose is elegant and “older” than the indicated vintage. Was expecting it to need more time to balance the nose, but the aromas of ripe red fruit are there (currants and plums), elegant toasted notes, spices with hints of clove. Slight menthol and licorice. Secondary gives coffee. The palate is intense and velvety with ripe fruit, good acidity, toasted oak. Good balance and well structured, ripe tannins. Long and smoky aftertaste. It lingers and lingers…….

 

43 to go!

 

Sota Els Àngels, Angels in D.O. Emporda

342/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Emporda – La Bisbal d’Emporda – Sota Els Àngels – Desea 2009

Angels…….,

botella-vino-desea-tinto-2009Desea 2009, 40% Carmenère, 32% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Carignan and 6% Syrah

Cherry red color with a garnet rim, medium layer. Overwhelming aromatic intensity but still kept together and I wouldn’t call it complex, balanced noted of sweet spices, a mix of mature black fruit and herbs. It need quite some time to wake up properly, seems to be a slow riser that likes to sleep in. Tones of toffee, sweet cocoa and licorice comes along as secondary notes.  The mouth is silky with a easy entry, quite spicy, structured and elegant. It is followed by a great tanic structure combined with a light fleshy feel and good acidity. Balanced and long! I tried the Flow 2013 from Sota Els Àngels at a wine fair and had to get the Desea as well, and I have to say it was what I hoped for!

principal-portada-1A Mediterranean cork forest surrounds the magical setting of Sota Els Àngels. The organic control and the biodynamic care given to the vineyards allows for the extraction of the soul of each grape variety and at the same time it improves the balance and harmony of the environment. Here, Under The Angels they live and work searching tirelessly for a fluid and familiar relationship with the natural environment. From terroir to heaven, The Angels came down!

noticia01The winery and vineyards of Sota Els Àngels are located in the centre of the north face of The Gavarres mountain range, in the municipality of Cruïlles-Monells-Sant Sadurní de l’Heura. This is a very special place, an ancient massif of rounded forms in which Josep Pla saw “elephants”, populated by oak trees (exploited in traditional and artisan cork industry), which shine between a pure sky and a floor with bushes of heather and arbutus. At the foot of the mountain, Sota Els Àngels, secluded, quiet soto, rests peacefully, caring for the grapes they have chosen to take care of. The property comprises of eight acres of a lush green, beautiful vines. It is densely planted with the red varieties; Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cariñena and Carmenère,  and the whites; Picapoll and Viognier. It is a soulful place where they grow excellent quality grapes and make wines infused with the nuances of their terroir.

46 to go!

 

Celler Hugas de Batlle, My Point Of View in D.O. Empordà

340/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Empordà – Colera – Celler Hugas de Batlle – 30.70 – 2012

My Point Of View……..,

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!

id-886220-260287787440067-642143354-oAn innovative coupage bringing together two of the most traditional whites of L’Empordà: White Grenache and Muscat de Alexandria. One provides the body and volume thanks to its perfect adaptation to the climate of Colera, the other gives the wine its attractive, summer, perfume. Together, the two make a fresh, pleasant wine, the essence of the land where it was created. The hillsides of Colera inspired the construction of this wine, it is almost like being at the rocks by the sea as the waves keep slapping them and the water playing, moving up and down, just like a nice tune by Herbie Hancock.

DSC_0989Varieties that resist the Tramontana wind that blasts the leaves. Vines grown near the sea provide the unmistakeable and almost sickly Mediterranean sweetness of the Muscat and Grenache grapes, always turned golden by the sun, which even wild boar and small birds get to enjoy before the autumn arrives. A maximum of the perfume and harmony is extracted from these grapes and placed in the bottle, sealed with a cork to help preserve the aromas. A fresh mouthful of the Colera vineyards.

48 to go!