Laurona, Cry To Me in D.O. Montsant

372/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Montsant – Carretera Bellmunt – Celler Laurona – Laurona 6 Vinyes 2006

Cry To Me………,

laurona-6-vinyes-694399.pngLaurona 6 Vinyes 2006, 60% Garnacha and 40% Carignena

Its colour is deep, almost opaque, and intensely red, with some bluish tones. Its rich, complex and with subtle aroma which initially evokes blackcurrant, plums and figs blended with oaky notes. As the wine aerates, it becomes concentrated, unctuous and powerful, with clear balsamic notes. Intense, complex and changing. Very clear aromas of plums and ripe figs, complemented by a subtle background of vanilla and cinnamon.
Extremely ripe tannin feel immediately fills the palate, saturating it with vivid and persistent sensations. A truly great wine that will remain alive for the next decade. A delicious wine to be enjoyed with friends and if you don’t have any friends? Well, in that case you’ll have to enjoy it yourself!
6 Vinyes by Laurona is produced with the intention to represent the authentic winemaking tradition of the region. This is why 6 Vinyes is is made only with Grenache and Carignan varieties, from the oldest vines of six very unique estates, selected for their ideal soil and climatic conditions.

The essence of Montsant in a bottle! Is that what Laurona is about? Want to meet the makers of history? Want to experience the essence of Montsant wines? Or do you just want to enjoy a quiet morning discovering yet another little winery in Catalonia? Well, in any case you are in the right place to start with! And you are always welcome to call or write and set up your own little wine adventure in Catalonia, the Sweet & Easy way!

wine-tasting (1)The Denomination of Origin Montsant is ring-shaped, circling practically all of the DOQ Priorat area. Formerly D.O. Montsant was a part of D.O. Tarragona, but with its unique characteristics, and similarity to the wines of the Priorat area, the winemakers wanted to separate their wines from the rest of the produce of Tarragona. So, in 2002, D.O. Montsant was created, enabling the vintners to present the vineyards under one common distinction. 

montsantdomapThe characteristics of the DO Montsant wines are the local varieties Garnacha and Carignena which together with the qualities of the soil and climate and the contribution of other grape varieties produce excellent wines. The winery Celler Laurona is situated in the very heart of Montsant, where the wine is elaborated and carefully aged under controlled conditions. The vineyards however are located in different areas of the D.O. Montsant, in small estates in Figuera, Falset, Darmós and Masroig.

cellerlaurona_fromyvinos
 Plini 2009 is a red wine from Celler Laurona. High quality, modern expression, high complexity, elegance, maturity and harmony are the result of picking the best grapes from the best vineyards of Garnacha, Carignena and Syrah from their own estates. After 15 months of ageing in 500 litres French oak barrels, and several months in the bottle, the launch of the first limited production of only 4.000 bottles of this exclusive vintage, was a hit!
Celler LauronaDO MontsantPriorat, TarragonaAn excellent and peculiar soil, gives the wines from Laurona their personality with a marked Mediterranean character; soft on the palate, but with a great structure and a warm aromatic expression, fruity, fresh and complex. All its features are taken from the coupage of Garnacha from the estate of La Figuera, with the concentration from Carignena, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon from the vineyards of Falset, Darmós and Masroig.

1011-laurona_547But without any doubt, what characterizes the wines from Laurona, is the elaboration and ageing that permits the total expression of the terroir character. After caring for the vineyards respecting the environment, and a careful harvest, all the grape varieties arrives to the winery, where the artesan wine making process begins. In the Celler Laurona the whole process is performed manually, from the selection of the fruit, grape by grape, to eliminate the ones that do not fulfil the requirements of quality, then the fermentation, maceration and ageing in 500 litres French Oak barrels. 

oakbarrel500An excellent extraction is obtained by working in controlled temperature conditions during 30 or 40 days, and extracting the colour and taste from the grape peels, by gravity, to avoid an aggressive treatment to the wine. The ageing, always performed in the best quality French oak, makes a fine and elegant finish to the robust wine. The wine is not clarified nor filtered, in order to preserve the natural qualities, and the quality controls before bottling guarantees an excellent final product. After a second ageing in the bottle when the evolution is optimal, the wine is finally launched for consumption.

ep001750_1The winery is located in an old factory dedicated to the manufacture of timber doors for gym lockers but it has been adapted perfectly for the production and aging of wines. The winemakers of Celler Laurona, René Barbier and Fernando Zamora supervise the whole production and control the quality. They are both experts on the local terroir and the possibilities of each harvest. Together with their long experience as winemakers, they guarantee the best results.

elaboracion-vinoFrom this patient and careful vinification, two wines are made: Laurona and 6 Vinyes de Laurona. Two wines which keeps the secrete of a good wine, and have received high ratings (always above 90 points) by the famous wine critic, Robert Parker. Laurona has also been included in two occasions on the list of the 100 most competitive wines in the world, published by the Wine Spectator magazineThese international rewards, and the great success of the terroir itself, backs up the quality of Laurona, a clearly Mediterranean wine, result of a unique talent and sensibility which makes it really magical.

Plini,2009,Laurona,Montsant-400x400 (1)
 Laurona Plini 2009, Garnacha, Carinena and Syrah
Deep red colour with violet rims, showing signs that it’s still a young wine. The aromas intoxicates initially with notes of currants and blackberries being easliy distinguished, all surrounded by a dairy background. Really intense, slowly it shows the many facets of its personality. As it opens up, aromas of cinnamon, coffee and especially violets appear. The complexity grows and finally, after an hour, it shows all its properties, especially in the mouth. A truly opulent wine. Featuring a remarkable tannic concentration, structured, friendly and mature. Good acidity and structure, and the passage through the palate is surprisingly fresh and sweet. Its finish is really long, distinguishing all the aromatic complexity described above. A truly great wine that will improve over the next decade.

13 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

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Vermunver, Hot Damn! in D.O. Montsant

357/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Montsant – Marçà – Celler Vermunver – Vinum Domi 2012

Hot Damn!…….,

vinum-domi

Vinum Domi 2012, 50 % Garnacha 40 % Cariñena and 10 % Merlot

This young wine from the Genesis cellar, or more commonly know as Vermunver, is probably one of the ten best buys this year, quality/price comparison, and having in mind that this is a ¨drink it now wine¨and from the Montsant region. Clear and bright, cherry red color. It displays raw freshness but without sacrificing the typical body of the wines of the region. The nose offers an attractive combination of red fruits, raspberries and cranberries. An honest wine with some licorice notes that follows the fruit. The entry is fresh and I find it to be a wine that shows some minerality while still being easy to drink.

botella_varietal_2011Genesis Varietal 2011, 100% Carignena

Cherry colour with a garnet rim, very intense, Gènesi Varietal is a high complexity wine. On the nose there are loads of black mature fruits, toffee, spices and forest with a balsamic touch. On the palate it is a wine with great terroir expression, wide, fleshy and a touch odd acidity that fills it with freshness. It has also an elegant tannic structure that indicates a good evolution in the bottle. The Genesis Varietal consists of Old Carignena (also known as Cariñena or Samsó) from Vernet-Muntané family’s vineyards in Marçà. Vines are between 60 and 80 years old, soils are mainly clayey and calcareous, that gives complexity to the wines. Alcoholic fermentation is made in stainless steel wine tanks during 28 days under controlled temperatures between 25-27 degrees; malolactic fermentation is also done in stainless steel, once it has finished, the aging takes part in French and Hungarian oak barrels, over a period of 12 months.

VermunverCeller Vermunver is a small, family-run company situated in the village of Marçà. It is part of the D.O. Montsant, one of the two ‘Denominations of Origin’ (wine appellations) in the administrative (but also wine appellation) region known as the Priorat. Some members of the Vernet-Muntané family make up the company. Roger Vernet Muntané deserves a special mention because he is the oenologist (winemaker).

Vermunver 2In 2004 they began working on the idea of launching the company of Celler Vermunver – a long-cherished ambition, which would mean they would finally make their own wine. This task, although daring, was well justified given that they could count on the excellent primary product, readily available to them, and the shared vision for the project. The starting point for this shared vision was to complete Nature’s circle: from the vineyard to the wine glass. The company’s environmental policy is based on recycling and making use of the waste materials generated in the production of wine. In this way, residual water which is not contaminated is used on an area of the vineyards destined exclusively for this use and all organic waste is used as an environmentally friendly fertilizer on the land. The cellar is located beneath an historic building in the village, Cal Nolla, a construction that dates from the end of the 19th C. The plan is to marry tradition and quality, creating a hand-crafted product without leaving aside new technologies and the advances that these have brought.

Vernmunver11Because we are speaking of a small quantity of wine, they are able to maintain personal control of all the elements within the production process; closely following the progress of the vine during its entire growth cycle, during the harvest when the grapes are brought to the cellar, until the final process of bottling the wine. All their vineyards are to be found within the municipal boundaries of Marçà, in the south of the Priorat region. They are divided between various locations within this area, all with different orientations. In total, there are 23 hectares of vines, some grown on land owned by the company, others on rented plots.

vermunver12The vines are mainly of the grape varieties known as ‘Garnatxa’ (Grenache) and ‘Carinyena’ (Carignan), local to the region. The majority, around 75%, are vines of between 70-80 years old, with a ‘Lot’ root stock, and grafted with the best shoots of the local vines of the area. They also have a small quantity of Merlot and Syrah varieties about 20 years old. The soil is slightly calcareous and the placing of the vines, planted by the grandfathers in the twenties and thirties, was magnificently done.  The total production of Celler Vermunver is around 70,000 kg from which small amounts are carefully selected from the different sites.

Celler-Vermunver

An anecdote relating to the selection of these plots is that on the municipal map of Marçà they form a figure that resembles the constellation of Orion, and for this reason they are called the ‘Vineyards of Orion’. With an annual production of around 5,500-6,500 kg, the cellar has created as the first product of the winery, Génesi Selecció.

28 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

Mas de l’Abundància, Treasure in D.O. Montsant

350/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Montsant – El Masroig – Mas de l’Abundància – Flvminis 2012

Treasure……..,

flvminis

Flvminis 2012, 55% Grenache, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Carignan

Intense red color with bluish tones. High viscosity. On the nose it shows high intensity, frank and clean. Expressive. Loads of fresh red fruit and mature blackberries. On the palate, the entry is fresh and good performance due to the concentration of tannins which are soft. The whole experience is very enjoyable and the wine has a nice flow to it and a long finish. High freshness, dominated by red fruits. The balsamic notes appear after a while together with chocolate and vanilla resulting in a long and intense aftertaste!

The word that best defines the year of 2012 is “dry”. 2012 was marked by a lack of regular rainfall during the growing season. The year started with a mild winter, with only a few days of frost. Spring brought some rain during April that helped sprout the vines, however this was the only rain until October. As usual in the area the summer was typical, with high temperatures and extremely limited rain. With little rain and a warm summer, the vineyards had a very high level of water stress, which led to wastage in production and highly concentrated fruit. In October it finally rained again which helped to improve the ripening of the varieties that had not yet been harvested like the Cabernet and the Carignan.

lAbundancia

Mas de l’Abundància is located in the region of Priorat (Tarragona) and belongs to the D.O. Montsant. Up until the disentailment, in the 1830s, it belonged to the Prior of Scala Dei (the property still has three magnificent landmarks with the same boundaries of 1790). It had previously belonged to the Dukes of Cardona and Entenza, who gave it to the Prior on the 27 January 1727. It was always a self-sufficient estate, with planted vines, olive trees and a vegetable garden that allowed for its own subsistence.

The soil type is “llicorella” (Tertiarycoal) and alluvium from the Quaternary; it has its own spring water and is located between the Siurana River and the old village of Les Pinyeres, a place of country worship, where from immemorial times the virgin of the same name is revered. The current winery was created in 2002 by the del Rio Mateu family, with the dream of returning to the origins and follow an family tradition, which hash´t been broken for generations, with a desire to produce a wine of the “terroir”. From the beginning the objectives were to implement effort, faithful dedication to the cultivation of the vine and extreme care in wine-making.

Since 1995, when the project began, the two mottos are: “You can be humble but you should be excellent” and “Not only well made, but also pretty“. For me, all that remains now is to visit the cellar, and hopefully I´ll get to taste their white wine, de Calpino, which I have heard is something spectacular, but that´s a story for another day!

37 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

Saturday Lunch with Friends, D.O. Montsant

336/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Montsant – Celler Alfredo Arribas – Trossos Tros Blanc 2009

Friends…….,

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!

This Garnatxa Blanca single varietal originates from 80 year-old vines, grown at an altitude of 240 metres, in a parcel lying on slightly sloping ground facing northeast and southeast. Aged for 10 months in French oak barrels. A wine in the top echelon for quality and price. Alfredo Arribas’ Tros Blanc has no need to fear international competition, as it is right up there with the best of them, coating the glass like high-performing Californians or Burgundy Chardonnays and Sauternes. There is plenty of volume found on the palate too, with so much body you can almost chew it. Inevitably, the lengthy aftertaste constitutes a wine-lover’s joy, especially impressive since this is a very limited production wine available at an incredibly low price! Many a good red would seem weak and watery in comparison with this outstanding white, offering great complexity and elegance – and one that can be cellared too.

The lunch ingredients just about ready to enter the stone oven!

The lunch ingredients just about ready to enter the stone oven!

Friends hanging out, waiting for the tasting and lunch to begin!

Friends hanging out, waiting for the tasting and lunch to begin!

Introducing label less Cava, made by our host Miguel! Soft and nice, although still quite young!

Introducing label less Cava, made by our host Miguel! Soft and nice, although still quite young!

The best one, out of all of the wines the past Saturday!

The best one, out of all of the wines the past Saturday!

All I was asking them for was the name of the grape! Blind tastings are a great way to learn how to interpret wine, always with a laugh at hand!

All I was asking them for was the name of the grape! Blind tastings are a great way to learn how to interpret wine, always with a laugh at hand!

Succes Vinicola, El Mentider, another great wine which I am doing a separate piece on later!

Succes Vinicola, El Mentider, another great wine which I am doing a separate piece on later!

Fantastic French wine!

Fantastic French wine!

A lovely starter! Rice with mushrooms and artichokes! With this one we tried four whites and one red!

A lovely starter! Rice with mushrooms and artichokes! With this one we tried four whites and one red!

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As we were lacking time we only managed to work through these wines!

As we were lacking time we only managed to work through these wines!

52 to go!

 

The beautiful place, Come Live Your Life With Me in D.O. Emporda

334/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Emporda – Palamos – The Bell-Lloc Winery – Bell.Lloc 2008

Come Live Your Life With Me……..,

 

bell-lloc-red-brugarol3Bell.Lloc 2008, Cabernet Sauvignon, Monastrell, Garnacha Tinta, Carinena and Cabernet Franc

Ruby colored with violet reflections, middle layer. Dense tears. Aromas of candied fruit (prunes) with distinct notes of vanilla. Toffee and aromas of Mediterranean herbs (rosemary, mint) and spices (liquorice) are intense. It is fresh and balanced on the palate, but also broad and persistent, allowing for a number of of levels when it comes to the taste. Bell-Lloc 2008 is a subtle combination of components that takes us to its origins by the sea and the forest of oaks in the heart of the Gavarres mountains. Pleasant and easy to drink.

BEllLloc1

Sometimes……., it’s only the wine, other times it is only the property/winery, or the persons behind the projects or the location or, or, or……., many a times it is all of the above, including history, the present and the future. In the case of Bell-Lloc it is so much more. So perfect, so well thought through and utterly and distinctly checking all the boxes, hands down a true favorite, Come lIve Your Life With Me in D.O. Emporda, we’ll have to stay here for a weekend to enjoy the Bell-Lloc, (*Bell Lloc is Catalan and translated it is and means, Beautiful Place). I suggest you come and enjoy this piece of beauty in Catalonia and at that time, try the wines where they deserve to be enjoyed!

BellLLoc 4

The Finca Bell-Lloc winery is almost buried on the boundary between the vineyards and woodland. The winery building, designed by the RCR architecture studio of Olot, is surprising in its audacity and its perfect symbiosis with nature. On the surface, the parallel steel panels sloping in different directions are an original way of conferring a structured yet dynamic order on the complex as a whole. Meanwhile, the underground area is made up of a labyrinth of dark, insulated and cool passageways equipped with climate control. To enter this area is to penetrate into a world of shadows. Down here the silence can be heard, the aroma of the wine can be perceived, the strength of the materials can be felt and, when it comes to tasting the wines, all five senses are finally stimulated.

Finca Bell-Lloc. Celler Brugarol DO Empordà

Introducing the farm in the lovely setting of The Gavarras (Girona) offers exclusive accommodation that redefines the traditional concept of luxury. Finca Bell Lloc is a place where you could easily get lost for a weekend (or longer), Here you can celebrate a memorable event together with friends or family or enjoy authentic pleasures, like Catalan food and organic wine, or why not both in a combination? Located in Las Gavarras, near Palamos (Girona), yet off the beaten path in the middle of a magical environment consisting of olive trees, pines, vines and views of the sea. This old house, typical for the region, also has spectacular vineyards you can visit and participate in guided tastings.

BellLloc2

Everything in the Bell-lloc Villa is steeped in a philosophy that avoids unnecessary processing, and take advantage of advances to deliver the highest quality, without subtracting essence and authenticity. The farm is part of the Rough Luxe concept that proposes a new way of conceiving luxury as a moment in time and not as a high price commodity. The house of Bell-Lloc, which hosts the “hotel” has 6 rooms each of which has been decorated with a distinct style that gives them personality. Each room carries the name of some of the grapes that the winery uses for their production. Samso (Carignen), Garnatxa (Grenache), Lledoner, Malvasia, Xarello and Moscatell. This part of the property offering accommodation is completed with an attached three bedroom house surrounded by vineyards, ideal for family holidays, and an exceptional pool.

BellLloc8

The wine bottles of the  Bell-Lloc winery are unlabelled. Or at least not labelled as per “normal” standards. All you need to know about the wine, is very concentrated information which you will find on the very original metal housing that gives the bottle a very minimalistic style, consistent with the wine and the winery. Josep Trallero, the winemaker at Bell-Lloc, says that “the capsule is of the same materials with which they built the winery and responds to our understanding of wine.” A wine and a philosophy that has “minimum presence of additives and the extreme care of the vineyard,” adds Trallero.

BellLloc 6

Everything at Finca Bell-lloc is pervaded by the philosophy of avoiding unnecessary processing and taking advantage of progress for providing comfort and quality, but without losing any of its essence and authenticity. The wish of the proprietors is that every instant spent on the estate, is to be evocative and lasting in your memory. How is this achieved? By stimulating your five senses, without any tricks. Rough Luxe is having time for reflection; enjoying the pleasure of close encounters with people, nature, architecture and the environment; living cultural, social and gastronomic experiences associated with concrete geographic localities. And giving time and all that surrounds us the high importance it deserves.

BellLloc7

 

54 to go!

Ronadelles, Crepuscolo Sul Mare in D.O. Montsant

329/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Montsant – Cornudella de Montsant – Celler Ronadelles – Petit Passiment 2011

Crepuscolo Sul Mare……..,

passimentPetit Passiment 2011, 40% Red Grenache, 50% Carignan and 10% Grey Grenache 

“Singular and unique” Dark cherry red color, dense and shiny. Aromas of mature red berries, jammy and sweet. Dried fruit aromas, dried fig and plum. Some raisin notes. Nice and expressive entry. Fresh and voluptuous, nicely balanced and round with a pleasant sweetness on the palate. The jammy taste of mature fruit works well with the well integrated tannins, which are almost always present in wines from  the Montsant region. A stylish finish with a long, slightly sweet after taste, with well rounded tannins. A fantastic free style wine that can be paired with both meat and fish, with fruit and almost any kind of dessert. Aging 6 moths on French oak. The harvest was characterized by a large amount of fruit due to extreme climatic conditions; a short yet cold winter, a wet spring and a dry, hot summer. Grapes matured slowly. The pronounced thermal contrasts gave the wine a freshness with high alcoholic and acidic levels. The grapes were harvested when they were overripe, left to turn into raisins on the vine and handpicked using 10kg boxes.

celler-ronadelles-13

Celler Ronadelles is a small, family owned and run winery that lies in the shadow of the impressive Montsant mountain range. The winery came to life in 2002 and has gradually grown and developed until present days with its modern, elegant and innovative range of wines, under the distinctive labels of CAP DE RUC, GIRAL and PETIT de Joanne Cox. The small, dedicated team who are employed at the winery, care for the vines all year round before carefully preselecting and hand-picking the grapes at harvest time, always respecting the lunar calendar and integrating these traditional methods with modern technology.

celler-ronadelles-02

In the early 1920’s a group of practicing farmers, concerned with the decline of the soil, sought the advice of Dr. Rudolf Steiner, founder of anthroposophy, who had spent all his life researching and investigating the forces that regulate life and growth. From a series of lectures and conversations held at Koberwitz, Germany, in June 1924, there emerged the fundamental principles of biodynamic farming and gardening, a unified approach to agriculture that relates the ecology of the earth-organism to that of the entire cosmos.

celler-ronadelles-18

Regarded by some as the first modern ecological farming system and one of the most substainable, biodynamic farming has much in common with other organic approaches, such as emphasizing the use of manures and composts and excluding the use of artificial chemicals on soil and plants. Methods unique to the biodynamic approach include the use of fermented herbal and mineral preparations as compost additives and field sprays and the use of an astronomical sowing and planting calendar.

images59 to go!

Celler Aibar 1895, Feels So Good in D.O. Montsant

328/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Montsant – Darmós – Celler Aibar 1895 – XYZ Tridimesional 2012

Feels So Good……..,

xyztr12_anv800XYZ Tridimesional 2012, 60% Garnatxa Negra, 20% Syrah and 20% Merlot

Lovely dark cherry red color with garnet reflections and purple edge. The subtle aromas entering the nose are those of forrest fruits, it has a floral feel to it and some spice, white pepper and a little clove. Toasted notes appear. It is a easy wine, nice balance, quite wide. The fruit that appeared on the nose is also present i the mouth, together with the toasted notes. Has a medium long finish and good persistency. Price vs. quality is great, a bargain! Before being exposed to the market it gets to spend three months on French oak and 4 months in the bottle. A young and well made wine from the Montsant.

aiba_fic_2

The three coordinated axes form a coup, which is a form of submerged vessel/tank, in which the wine was traditionally made here in Catalonia. Most houses, that had vineyards, would also have a coup, a three-dimensional space. In each dimension you will see one of the three main factors needed for this wine: X: (Longitude): Represents the vineyards planted in rows. Y: (Surface): Represents the hands that worked the vineyards and made the wine. Z: (Volume): Represents the cellar space which is needed for the aging of the wine, constant temperature, sufficient time, barrels and bottles.

aiba_fic_1

Celler Aibar 1895 is not all about the wine. This property belongs to a farming family with an agricultural business dedicated to growing grapes, fruit and olive trees. Mentioning the year of 1895 is in recognition of the efforts and commitment of their grandparents, forced to start from scratch, not once but twice, due to the devastation caused by the phylloxera. The cellar is located in the village of Darmós, in the D.O.Montsant, the property has an old irrigation well and the ruins of an olive oil mill, dating from the sixteenth century.

60 to go!