327/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Montsant – Marça – Celler Dosterras – Dosterras 2009
327/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Montsant – Marça – Celler Dosterras – Dosterras 2009
325/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Montsant – El Masroig – Celler Orto Vins – La Carrerada 2010
Cherry red color with a garnet rim and high middle layer. This is the kind of wine you could smell all day long, really no need to drink it……, except the fact …., that would defy the whole purpose of its being. The aromas are amazing. Good intensity, mineral, spicy and warm. Black fruit, menthol, spearmint, balsamic. A very special nose that I think would appeal to most wine lovers. Although the taste carries some of the same properties, like black fruit, it is not as sweet as the nose. Slightly immature fruit, with high acidity. In the mouth it has a strong presence, enveloping with a good volume and satiny feel. It feels meaty and heavy, giving the tannins plenty of space but the aftertaste lacks length. Anyhow, I’d venture to say this is a great wine and not only because it is Catalan!
The Samsó, Carinyena, Sinsó or Carignan, is a black grape variety. The Carignan grape is very small and compact, of medium grain, round in its shape and of a bluish to black color. It contains lots of juice and plenty of sweet flavors. It is a productive variety but sensitive to diseases. It buds late and is therefor not affected by early spring frosts. Wines made by using Carignan have little body, little color but a strong fruity taste. It is used to make rosé wines or blends with Grenache grapes to produce light wines that are soft and that has harmony. The large amount of tannins makes it suitable for aging, especially if it has been blended with Tempranillo or Grenache.
The name “Samsó” derives from the French Cinsaut. It is grown throughout the Mediterranean between the Rhone and the Ebro. It is a traditional variety of ancient and unknown origin. It has been successfully transplanted to South Africa where it goes under the name Hermitage. It is one of the main varieties in many of the Catalan appellations, like D.O. Conca de Barbera, D.O. Costers del Segre, D.O. Empordà, D.O. Montsant, D.O. Penedès, D.O. Tarragona and D.O. Terra Alta, not to forget DOQ Priorat.
July 18, 2008 is the birthdate of Orto Vins in the D.O. Montsant. Four farmers previously working at the cooperative Masroig, with a long wine making tradition in their families, created Orto Vins. Perhaps the best known is Joan Asens on whose incredible knowledge, sensitivity and experience, the foundation for the success of his project is relying.
But this is a winery in which the land and labor are essential ingredients. Each of the four partners are important and do what they do best, whether in the field, in the cellar or at wine sales. During the span of about two years, parents died and left some vineyards. The idea was born, let’s make wine from our vineyards and with our own brand!
Bottle the goodness of the vineyards, enjoy the added features and offer the flavors of the most emblematic grapes of the region. The vineyards have a highly individual character, looked after devotedly for years by different generations of their families. They now use those grapes to create four special wines which they call the ‘singularidades de Orto’, effectively the Orto singular wine collection.
Alongside these four single varietals, of Cariñena, Ull de Llebre, Garnacha Peluda and Picapoll Negre, they also make two entry level wines – a red and a white – and two deliciously fresh, sweet wines. The sweets are naturally sweet and the vintage grapes makes them unique. All the wines are made in keeping with biodynamic agricultural methods, with total respect for the vineyard and the land.
Orto Vins is looking for beauty, purity, the expression of the terroir and the grape, and therein lies its name. According to their explanation, “Orto refers to the particular moment in time when the sun, or any other star, crosses the horizon line and becomes visible in our hemisphere. It therefore symbolizes the dawning of a new day. Orto (or Ortho) is also a prefix of Greek origin, meaning ‘straight’, ‘exact’ or even ‘true’”.
63 to go!
323/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Montsant – Marça – Celler Vendrell Rived – Serè 2011
Lovely cherry red color with violet edges. The youth is showing. Plenty of fine and dark tears. It has a fresh and expressive nose of blackberry, ripe dark cherry, mature fig and a slight hint of gingerbread, spicy notes. Smooth entry, friendly step with subtle but tasty red fruit nuances. The finish is offering some mineral expressions. Fruity aftertaste with white pepper corns coming through as a pick me up. A easy wine to drink but certainly it has character. I would like this with a red meat barbeque!
The grapes used, Garnacha and Carignena, have been harvested from vines between 10 and 40 years of age. They are grown on altitudes between 250 and 300 meters in the municipalities of Marca and Capçanes, in the D.O. Montsant. The farming methods applied are organic and even though some minerality is noticed, the wines has been rounded of in a very attractive way, having spent 4 – 6 months on French oak.
The small winery of Vendrell Rived is currently producing two red wines, the Serè and L’Alleu, the latter having a higher percentage of Carignena. The total production over the year is around 26,000 bottles. The Montsant appellation, in its current shape, was formed in 2001, one of the younger D.O:s. The Vendrell Rived winery was up and running only a year before that, in 2000 Josep M. Vendrell decided to take advantage of the riches the family possessed. The old vines; the vines that have belonged to the family since the time of their grandparents’.
“We believe that in a global environment we must produce different wines from the ones you can find everywhere, wines that stand out because they are unusual. 10 years of experience answer for us: the varieties our ancestors planted still are the ones that best fit our terrain and they produce high expression wines. That is Vendrell Rived Winery philosophy: preserve our heritage, the one that comes from our territory to create high quality products with outstanding personality.”
67 to go!
298/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Montsant – Marça – Vertical Wines/Celler Dosterras – Vespres 2007
Vespres 2007, 80% Garnacha and 20% Merlot
Dark red, quite opaque with dense tears. Great volume of very fruity aromas in the nose. A range of black and red berries, not overly sweet. Additional notes of spices and cocoa adds depth and a wide aromatic dimension. The toffes appear over time. In the mouth it is elegant and tasty, with extraordinary finesse and long aftertaste. With a spectacular step, pleasant, harmonious and it expands on the palate. Full of smoothness and structure. To be fully enjoyed and appreciated from dawn too dusk!
The Garnacha grapes used to make Vespres come from vines between 40 and 100 years of age. The harvest is manual and collected in crates of maximum 10 kg. Alcoholic fermentation and maceration takes place in stainless steel tanks for a period of 10 to 20 days. The malolactic fermentation takes place in barrels. Aging is between 9 and 11 months in barrels of 225 liters and 300 liters. It is a tribute to the Carthusian monks, that used to cultivate vineyards in this area. Everyday at sunset or at 18:45 they would pray the prayer called “Vespers”, after which they could access the daily single glass of wine.
La Sierra de Montsant, The Montsant Mountain Range, makes sure that it doesn’t go unnoticed as it casts evening shadows over a landscape steeped in historic intrigue. But it is so much more than a provider of shadows and shade, it is highly necessary for the special microclimate that both the DOQ Priorat and DO Montsant enjoy. This mountainous ridge has given shape to a legendary wine region and birthed some of the worlds most distinguished expressions of terroir for the indigenous grapes Garnaxta, Garnacha (Grenache) and Samso, Carignena (Carignan).
Vespres, Catalan for dusk, speaks from its origins. A rugged terrain where ascetic culture has struggled for a life woven with time and ’biodynamic’ principle. In vespers, ‘evening prayers’, earth’s life giving force was reflected in a cup of vi negre, ‘black wine.’ Symbolized with a grape cluster formed in light of 13 moons, Cellar Dosterras winemaker, Josep Grau gives a nod to the ‘natural order.’ His deft touch for balance allows just enough oak to serve up plenty of rich fruit from a prized small plot collection of old vines.
86 to go!
296/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Montsant – Cornudella de Montsant – Cellers Baronia del Montsant – Flor d’Englora Roure 2009
Deep cherry color. Powerful aroma, ripe fruit, spicy, mineral. On the palate there’s plenty of ripe fruit, is is a well developed and flavorful wine. Slightly bitter but with ripe and well integrated tannins. The wine stands out for its elegance and delicacy, but in turn provides power and freshness. I found black fruit and minerality with fresh ripe tannins. Its evolution in the glass is a journey through different landscapes that are happening every few minutes through new sensations and aromatic palate. A true wine loving experience.
The grapes are picked up manually in14kg boxes, and once in the winery, the most healthy and optimally matured clusters are manually selected. They are destemed, lightly pressed and gravity carried (without pump) to the different fermentatition tanks. The grape juice of each variety, ferments and macerates itself with its lees at a controlled temperature of 24º C, using for this process inox steel tanks. During this process (c.a. 8 days) 1 “flush – over” and 1 “delestage” are daily made in order to extract the “sweet” tanins from the grapes along with their flavor and colour potential. Later on, the malolactic fermentation is done in order to increase “mouth thickness” and stabilize the wine microbiologically. The maturing is also developed separated by each variety, using for each variety the most suitable origin and toast degree. The maturing period was 4 months.
In a region of difficult and crooked landscapes, wrapped up by the Montsant massif, Cellers Baronia del Montsant was born in August 1998 in the beautiful village of Cornudella de Montsant (Tarragona). As fruit of a youth initiative and with a clear philosophy of making different, exclusive wines addressed to the most cultured and learned palates, the Clos d’Englora wines are made under the D.O. Montsant.
Cornudella de Montsant is a municipality in the comarca of the Priorat. It is situated in the north-west of the comarca below the Montsant range and the Prades Mountains. The Siurana reservoir is on the territory of the municipality and supplies its drinking water.
Sites near to the village include the Sant Joan del Codolar Hermitage. The village derives income from tourism and agriculture, particularly wine and hazelnuts. Cornudella de Montsant is at the centre of one of the world’s major rock climbing regions. In medieval times the town was part of the Barony of Entença. The old winery of Cornudella de Montsant, also known in Catalonia as one of the ‘Wine Cathedrals, was built during the Modernisme and Noucentisme periods and was designed by architect Cèsar Martinell.
Getting here from Barcelona or Tarragona is easy, with great communications, and for a day trip it is a excellent excursion. Once you get to Reus, which is signposted the whole way, you can take the road to Falset until you find on your right, after 8 km., a diversion heading towards the village. As you follow this road you cross Les Borges del Camp and Alforja until you reach “coll d´Alforja”.
From this 600 metres high mountain pass you can have an overview of Montsant. It is from this high and distant point that you can enjoy the different chromatic shades of the view: roseate in the morning, reddish under the sunshine and deep blue in the afternoon. After following this road and going deep this wonderful landscape you reach the village of Cornudella de Montsant.
The village belongs to the region of Priorat (administratively) but to the Montsant when it comes to appelation, and it was also there where the monks of Cartoixa de Escaladei helped in creating civilisation and richness on that rough and hilly area. They were the ones that transmitted to the following generations the art and the knowledge of wine elaboration.
In the Montsant area Baronia del Montsant principally elaborate red wine, and among the different varieties, the ones they use mostly are; Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Ull de Llebre (Tempranillo), Samsó (cariñena) and red Garnacha. It is worth mentioning the velvety, complex and meaty characteristics of these wines, which predispose them to long aging in wood.
Among the varieties used for the elaboration of white vines, the white Garnacha is the king and produces aromatic and silky wines. There are few hectares of vineyards under this mark of origin. The average is about 2,500 stocks of vine per hectare and they produce an average of 2 kg. per vine. The characteristic orography of the region, with sharp slopes, makes the farming work difficult and hard, but the fruits that grow have a unique personality. The traditional vine crops do not hurt the natural shape of the land. Its slaty composition allows a growing without eroding the land. It is so very beautiful in all its simplicity!
88 to go!
290/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Montsant – Cornudella de Montsant – Celler Cingles Blaus – Moreres 2006
Goodbye Blue Sky……..,
Moreres 2006, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, Red Grenache, Merlot and Syrah
Ripe cherry red color, intense and brilliant. The aroma is strong and penetrating, red fruit, roasted nuts, minerals and light lactic notes, extremely elegant. Once n the mouth it washes over the taste buds with abundant fruit, it shows a full body and it is very fresh and long. A complex wine which is not typically Montsant, quite personal and highly enjoyable! 112 months aging in French and American oak barrels. The grapes are mainly from the Mas de les Moreres estate. The vineyards are planted in the Arbolí river valley, a priviliged location because of its microclimate and excellent terrain for wine growing.
Eloi Milá, the wine-maker at Cingles Blaus has the following to say about this wine, “With Moreres, I am interested in a wine with stronger notes of oak, a wine that ages longer in the barrel but doesn’t loose its characteristic fruit. A friendly wine with a slightly “Riojan” accent, with the style and personality of Montsant. In short, I am looking for a typical aged wine adapted to modern taste, light on the wood and easy to drink.”
….., taste, think, feel, say something, have an opinion! Don’t reflect on weather it’s right or wrong, sometimes you need to actually say what you think about the wine you drink, just to hear it out loud, if even just for yourself. The more you practice this approach, the more you get to understand about tasting wine and sometimes you might be “wrong” but you will never be wrong! How can you? It is after all only about you and your appreciation of what’s in the glass. You like whites? Drink whites! You like reds……., same thing. But please do me a favor and think about what it is you are drinking. I promise, that after a while, it will pay off!
Welcome to step into the world of the next generation wine makers of the D.O. Montsant. Cingles Blaus will rock your world! You will have to show that you know wine, to show that you at least care about how it was made and try to understand what it tastes like, all to get into the deep end! When they say they want to democratize wine, they are just declaring their intention to see wine as a healthy and sustainable part of the everyday diet, an integral part of the Mediterranean diet and culture.
Ever since the time wine was made by hand and drunk from clay jars in the wine consuming parts of the world, wine culture has adapted to each era of civilization. But lately the culture of wine has distanced itself from the everyday table and the reach of all people. It has become exclusive and lost some of its culture, when in fact it should be a staple. By that, I don’t mean you should over consume wine, have a glass or even two, but again (and I’m repeating), think about it and enjoy every drop.
In the middle of the Priorat lies a vineyards, like so many here, laden with history. The Busquets family owns a country house on the estate of Mas de les Moreres, in the municipality of Cornudella de Montsant. Formerly, there had been a winery and so the family decided, a fee years ago, to start it up under the name Cingles Blaus. In 2000, Magi Baget, technician and partner of the cellar, put out the first vintage of this estate. And during 2004, an agreement was reached with the Busquets brothers, deciding to convert the country house into a cellar. ” We had the space, land, and he needed a place to expand, so we consolidated” says Joseph Busquets, partner of the winery.
This would be the natural continuation of what Baget started, an expanding business. Magi Baget released the Cingles Blaus Selecció onto the market, as the first label of the cellar. When teamed with the Busquets family, they released the line Ocubre. It is a young wine with a semicrianza, designed for the daily market. Initially it was only the red wine, which was later followed by a white and rose. The Cingles Blaus winery also works with winemaker Eloi Milan from Vilafranca, deriving from a family of winemakers with over 500 years of tradition. The whole range of wines, although the wines are all made under the Montsant D.O. have a touch (the hands) of Vilafranca, which gives the wine a flavor different from the rest. In total, the range of wines from Cingles Blaus consists of the Cingles Blaus Selecció’, which is red; Mas de les Moreres, a red wine but they have the intention of making a white one as well, the Octubre, red, rose and white and a semisweet, made from dried grapes (raisins).
The winery has an area of roughly fifteen hectares of vineyards, planted with young vines and vineyards older than eighty years. In the beginning, it started with a production of nine thousand bottles, and year after year, it is growing. The intention is to grow, and the have the capacity, to approximately a hundred thousand bottles. The advantage of being part of the Montsant, is that they can have a high quality product on the market, priced to compete with the Priorat wines. This is definitely a winery to keep your eyes on, because I’m certain that great things are to come, not that what ‘s made there today isn’t great!
Octubre Negre 2007, 60% Garnacha, 20% Carignena and 20% Syrah
The wine has been aged for six months in European oak barrels. The color is intense dark cherry and brilliant. The aromas on the nose are primarily those of fresh (ripe) red fruit, violet candy, balsamic and slightly mineral. The palate is balanced, fruity and fleshy, good structure, easy to drink. A nice, well made wine, with a great price/quality ratio! A wine with personality and character.
94 to go!
284/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Montsant – Vinos del Paseante – El Pispa 2012
Cherry red colour with ruby highlights. Ripe, fruity, mineral touches and well-integrated toasted notes. Easy flowing and gives of a bunch of red fruit aromas, fresh and sweet spice notes from the barrel aging. On the palate it is lively, full of flavour and well-balanced, palate texture is nice and smooth and balanced with a finish of sweet fruit leaving a fresh, fruity aftertaste to be savoured at length. Grilled red meat, barbecues, stews, jugged hare or rabbit, game, mushrooms, sheep’s cheese, grilled blue fish, salted cod, dried fruit and nuts, sun-dried tomatoes are just some of the foods that would work well with this wine.
Grown on the slopes of the Montsant range in calcareous clay soil, the old goblet-pruned Grenache vines produce full-bodied, complex wines. The Grenache grapes are handpicked
and fermented in small 5,000-litre stainless steel tanks where the close contact of skins and must frees aroma and colour. The wine is then aged in 300-litre French and American oak barrels. In the Montsant region, landscape and wine have gone hand in hand for centuries. From the twelfth century onwards, the Montsant massif was a refuge for hermits who cultivated spirituality. Human activity and respect for the environment have always coexisted here and the Montsant wines faithfully reflect the authenticity of their natural setting.
The cheeky goldfinch grabs a seed and flies off with it in the direction of the oak forest. The impassive rocky massif of Montsant witnesses the scene.This is a land of white stone, thyme and thistles baked by the sun; it is a region of small terraced vineyards cut into the hillsides.The Grenache vines grown here express the vitality and coolness of this steep and beautiful area. This lively wine full of flavour is a perfect balance of ripe fruit, a hint of minerals and well-integrated toasted notes. Montsant for me, constitutes the very best that, not only Catalonia can offer, in terms of wine, but also I believe it is one of the best wine growing areas in the world!
Vinos del Paseante is a collection of wines from a choice range of Spanish appellations, each one selected with the aim of revealing the unexpected, seducing and delighting the palate with its distinctive authentic character and precise. Created with all true wine lovers in mind, present and future, Vinos del Paseante is a proposal marked by quality, identity and typicality, in other words, the expression of the specific character of each area. The rambler has reached Montsant and gives us El Pispa, I hope his wine walking days are not over yet! The selection is based on the ideal figure of El Paseante, the rambler, an ever curious and vital figure who travels the world of winemaking to find new emotions and new wines. The fruits of this search are for people like him, with a thirst for knowledge, conscious of the importance of place and of history, and inclined by nature to value pleasure and understanding.
100………, ONLY 100 to go!!!!!!