Clos Lentiscus, Take Me As I Am in D.O. Penedes

365/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Penedes – St. Pere de Ribes – Clos Lentiscus – Sumoll Reserva Familia Brut Nature

Take Me As I Am………,

V462_V658Sumoll Reserva Familia Brut Nature, 100% Sumoll

Amazing golden colored body with faint pinkish reflections and a delicate rosary of fine bubbles which rise slowly forming a nice crown. Delicate aromatics of red berries. Fragrant and ripe strawberry notes together with a background of harmonious fruit aromatics that are followed by subtle aging notes. This sparkling wine has divine pastry aromas, some toasted notes, and nuanced dry herbs. As the label says Brut Nature, dry sensations are to be expected and this is a dry and crisp Cava. Delicate fruit taste, raspberries, strawberries and some mature apple, leaning towards the taste of  a great cider. There is a creamy and fine effervescence that is accompanied by a perfect and well-balanced acidity. The finish is silky and persistent with subtle mineral touches. This Blanc de Noirs has an incredibly well-structured palate. You want a great Cava for Christmas? Look no further! Price is great and you can easily combine it with a number of dishes, from fish to meat or why not as a aperitif?

Click on the photo to see more pictures from Clos Lentiscus! Enjoy!

Click on the photo to see more pictures from Clos Lentiscus! Enjoy!

This Cava has been crafted from the red grape varietal Sumoll. The Sumoll grapes were harvested off of grapevines that were planted in 1939 at the La Torrentera vineyards in the mountains of the Massís del Garraf Natural Park. These grapevines are planted on soils with low fertility and high levels of minerals. All of the Sumoll grapes used to produce this Brut Nature Reserve Cava were harvested by hand. The harvest was done at dawn when the grapes were still cool. The grapes were then delicately pressed at the winery to avoid the must from receiving pigmentation, making this a Blanc de Noir. During the vinification, local yeasts were added. The very brief alcoholic fermentation took place in oak barrels. The second fermentation, (Methode Traditionnelle) lasts a minimum of 30 months.

Wine Lovers hang-out at Clos Lentiscus this Sunday, the 14th of December! I will be there, why not come and try some great wines and Cava?

Wine Lovers hang-out at Clos Lentiscus this Sunday, the 14th of December! I will be there, why not come and try some great wines and Cava?

20 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

Partida Creus, Slow in D.O. Penedes

364/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Penedes – Bonastre – Partida Creus – Partida Creus Garrut 2010

Slow……..,

partidacreus_garrut-e1372523071760Partida Creus Garrut 2010, 100% Garrut

Dark cherry color, somewhat ¨dirty, opaque. Pungent aroma of black fruits, blackberry and mature blueberry, accompanied by wet forrest aromas and mineral notes, delightful creamy sensations of toffee and some carob, balsamic and sweet herbs. The palate is medium bodied, with lively tannins and good acidity, fresh and balanced. Pleasant and persistence aftertaste. A unique wine from Partida Creus and the Italian connection! One of my newly found favorites.

IMG-20111002-00177-800x600Slow food, slow wine, slow life………, Antonella and Massimo have found the perfect life for them and the time is ripe to share the experiences with likeminded food and wine lovers. Is it the village of Bonastre that makes people that come here behave in a certain way? Is it a magical place that collects crazy wine and food artists? I don´t know the answer to those questions, but what I do know is that every single product coming from this small village in the Massis de Bonastre, is well made and, during its infancy, given great care. Ecological, organic, biodynamic and natural is what you can expect if you’re ever so lucky to experience this little piece of heaven!

DSC_0303Bonastre, a small town located in the area know as Baix Penedès but more importantly, and as people from the village make sure to point out, within the Massis de Bonastre. Here, remarkable things take place as it has become a Mecca for small artisan wineries, making amazing wines without impacting the environment. Over the past few years several small cellars have made their mark in the wine loving community of Catalonia and slowly, the world is following. I have in a couple of earlier posts made you aware of Sicus, from the same village, now it is time for Partida Creus and soon to follow, Cal Lluisot!

DSC_0304Partida Creus is a small artisanal winery touching the very border of Bonastre. Here they have a limited production of wines, made exclusively by using grapes which have been organically cultivated. This is the initiative of two Italians, Antonella Gerosa and Massimo Marchiori. Besides adhering to the philosophy and methods of preparation based on respect for the nature, the main asset of this winery is its contribution to recover a wine heritage that was practically extinct. Massimo is constantly on the lookout for vineyards that have been abandoned, in most cases consisting of traditional local varieties, locating the owner and convincing him/her to leave it in the hands of Massimo to make wine.

DSC_0313Most likely, the Garrut grape variety would be considered the most special one and if you hear Massimo talk about it, you’ll notice how his eyes smile the whole time! The Garrut is a sub-varietal of the Monastrell/Mourvedre or, depending who you ask, a direct synonym. This is a Mediterranean variety well adapted to dry and warm climates. The preparation of the grapes undergo a maceration during four days. The fermentation is done with indigenous yeasts and the resulting wine remains on its lees in stainless steel tanks for three months, to promote greater structure and creaminess, it is clarified by decantation and bottled unfiltered.

DSC_0315This wine is a very personal project of Massimo and Antonella, and weather you like it or not, you will have a opinion. It is a wine that makes people talk, to each other and about the wine. A wine that needs time to open up, being sweet and easy to drink, quite distinct, offering more than enough density and thus (with the tannic structure it has) certainly being a wine to keep for a few years. This is an alternative (if you are looking for a different wine) to many ¨conventional¨ wines, a character of its own and a story that is movie material. The Italian couple of Bonastre will in any case make you feel right at home and you will be charmed by their personalities and broad smiles. Got to love Bonastre and the Italian connection!

DSC_031721 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

Singular Wine by Cal Batlle and Celler Mas Candi, The Way of the Future in D.O. Penedes

320/365 – Catalonia –D.O. Penedes – Viticulture by Cal Batlle & Elaboration by Mas Candi – El Vesper de la Gloriosa 2013

The Way of the Future……,

vesper-de-la-gloriosaEl Vesper de la Gloriosa 2013, 50% Xarel.lo and 50% Macabeu

This is NOT a Cava,this is a Sparkling wine produced using the “Ancestral Method”. Pale yellow color with soft green iridescence, constant bubbles and a fine steady flow. On the nose there are aromas of white fruit (pear), hints of citrus (lemon) which provides a very refreshing background. Some creamy notes of pastries, brioche, soft nuts (almonds), presence of yeast with hints of warm bread and croissant, a touch of herbs. Pleasant coolness during its entry, tasty overall presence with fresh and ripe white fruit, light touch of a bitter taste, dried fruit notes, good acidity, spacious, light creaminess. Refreshing sparkly. Long and a aftertaste of white fruit and some citrus.

Ancestral;

adj.
1.

pertaining to ancestors; descending or claimed from ancestors:
an ancestral home.
2.

serving as a forerunner, prototype, or inspiration.

 

Ancient;

adj.
1. Of great age; very old.
2. Of or relating to times long past, especially those of the historical period before the fall of the Western Roman Empire (a.d. 476). See Synonyms at old.
3. Old-fashioned; antiquated.
4. Having the qualities associated with age, wisdom, or long use; venerable.
n.

1. A very old person.
2. A person who lived in times long past.
3. ancients

a. The peoples of the classical nations of antiquity.
b. The ancient Greek and Roman authors.

 

In addition to these definitions, the word(s) is/are used to name and define a type of natural sparkling wine, characterized by being produced by a single fermentation directly in the bottle. Too me, it represents one of the ways to make wine with minimal intervention, and I am happy to see that this production method has been reclaimed. The method is the “Ancestral Method” but I lay claim to it being Ancient as well, hence I use both definitions above!

The ancient fermentation method creates a spontaneous fermentation and uses no added sugar, nor tirage or expedition liqueur. Only sugar from the grapes is to be fermented. There’s no disgorging deposits, or if there is, it is the bare minimum, that is left in the bottle and the appearance can be a bit murky.

– The process would be:
o develop the base wine (still wine) using classic fermenting techniques and of course this depends on the process of each winery.
o make the cuvée, with the residual sugar still present, and the wine still being “still wine”. The fermentation and maturation of the base wine and the cuvée continues in the same bottle without added sugars, tirage/expedition.

el-vesper-de-la-gloriosa

Having explained all of the above, El Vesper de la Gloriosa is a natural sparkling wine, made using the ancestral method with yeasts. This is a wine made through cooperation of two great wine entities, Viticulture by Cal Batlle & Elaboration by Mas Candi, with the aim of creating a sparkling wine that breaks the current cliches, and which is not indifferent to the consumer. It is a blend of Macabeo and Xarel·lo, planted in the early 50’s. To keep up the purity of the grape, they have opted to use the ancient method, fermented with autochthonous yeast from the same vineyard, adding no sulfur in its preparation. This sparkling wants to be a recognition to the history of the property, specifically recognizing the time of the Civil War, in which part of the property was occupied by a Republican airfield, called the “Vesper de la Gloriosa”.

71 to go!

International Garnacha Day! The Drunkard Song in D.O. Montsant

277/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Montsant – Marçà – Acustic Celler – Auditori 2010

The Drunkard Song………,

auditori-2010-etAuditori 2010, 100% Garnacha

Pure pleasure, and as the top wine of Acustic Celler it displays and conveys the elaboration and terrior to perfection. Grapes from three old Garnacha vineyards, all 70 years and older. A full-bodied sensual sensation, with well ripened red fruits, cherry is clear. I distinguished some licorice  and a little spiciness  with clear oak as it progressed. Medium long finish. Nicely integrated tannins. Could easily stay in my cellar for another 5 – 10 years. The downside…….., not enough bottles on the market!

GrenacheDay2014website

The third Friday of September is celebrated as the International Day of Grenache. Coinciding with this important day for all wine lovers, events are organized today and during the weekend to come. This is the fourth year of this initiative, a series of activities for everyone that enjoy a glass or two of Garnacha, Grenache or Garnatxa, as it is referred to in Catalonia. I’ve chosen to open a bottle of Auditori from Acustic Celler! What could possibly go wrong with that choice?

grenache-grapes

Grenache is a variety of Mediterranean origin and one of the most cultivated worldwide. In Catalonia, it is estimated that there are about 5,000 hectares planted. Many wines are made with the help of this great grape variety, either as a mono-varietal or blend. It transmits the identity of a region and the expression of a landscape in a perfect way, picking up the different soils and microclimates of the regions in which we can find it: Montsant , Priorat Emporda, Terra Alta Alella, etc. Over centuries, the Grenache vine has produced colour mutation vines with berries of all range of colors, and also the hairy Grenache, in Catalonia called Garnacha Peluda The latter is a clone, originating from the Tarragona region. Grenache can be made with a variety of fruity wines and good acidity from youth to sparkling whites, and also sweets. Grenache Noir is generally spicy, berry-flavored and soft on the palate with a relatively high alcohol content, but it needs careful control of yields for best results. Characteristic flavor profiles on Grenache include red fruit flavors (raspberry and strawberry) with a subtle, white pepper spice note. Grenache wines are highly prone to oxidation with even young examples having the potential to show browning (or “bricking”) coloration that can be noticed around the rim when evaluating the wine at an angle in the glass. As Grenache ages the wines tend to take on more leather and tar flavors.

GarnatxesMontsantPriorat
As for sharing favourites……, well I guess that’s what I do all days! But just for the heck of it, some of the Garnacha wines I wouldn’t mind having on a a more regular basis could, but not be limited to, be the following; Espectacle 2010,Teixar 2010, Trossos 2011, Cerverola 2011, LLuna Vella 2010, Cims de Porrera GX 2006, Raret 2011 and Mas Plantadeta 2008.

There’s a lot going on in Catalonia to celebrate the Grenache, as well as the Mostra de Vins i Caves de Catalunya, which starts tomorrow in Barcelona, a fair covering Catalan wines and Cava, and does so during four days, 20th to 24th of September. A few players that have dedicated activities to the International Grenache Day are;

Vinyes Domenech

Vineyes Domenech, one of the wineries in Catalonia that promote Grenache. They organizes collaborations with chefs and sommeliers in different restaurants and speciality shops during the Day. Among them, the restaurant Dos Cielos, la Cuina del Guinardó, el Hoffman, Divi i el Colmado Quilez de Barcelona, the restaurant at the Club del Cep d’Arenys de Mar, the Cellar Montserrat de Mataró and the Cellar Florida de Barcelona, Cal Feru de Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, Bodega Jordà de Tarragona, Can Bosch de Cambrils, etc. If you feel for a drive through the countryside, you are certainly welcome to visit Vineyes Domenech, to see for yourself how the Grenache is treated in situ.

Vila Viniteca
Vila Viniteca, a well renowned wine shop in Barcelona, celebrate Friday evening with a tasting of 25 wines made from the variety, including the Tros Negre 2011 (Montsant), Cabrida 2010 (Montsant), Brunus Rosat 2013 (Monsant), L’Equilibrista Garnatxa 2012 (Catalunya), Quike Rosado 2013 (Catalunya), Gamberro Garnatxa Blanca 2011 (Terra Alta), Gotes Blanques 2013 (Montsant), Masia Serra Ino (Empordà), Pansal del Calàs 2010 (Montsant), etc. This tasting is free of charge. Living and working here has its perks, as I have pointed out many times before.

Edetaria

 

In addition to the above activities, The Celler Edetària, has posted a contest on their official Facebook page, called the “Grenache Challenge 2014“, where you have a chance to win one of their wines. Enjoy Wine Barcelona are tasting Grenache wines from DO Empordà at The Santa Caterina Market in the Born area of Barcelona, and this is where they normally have their wine tasting activities, Grenache day or not. Now all that remains is to enjoy the day and appreciate the Grenache variety to its fullest! Enjoy!

RH1526-1

107 to go!

Winery Terra Remota, Lulu’s Back In Town, D.O. Empordà

265/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Empordà – Sant Climent De Sescebes – Terra Remota – Terra Remota Tan Natural 2013

Lulu’s Back In Town……..,

Tan-Natural-2013-Terra-Remota

Terra Remota Tan Natural 2013, 100% Garnacha Tinta

A «natural style» wine. Seductive ruby robe with hints of violet. The nose is that of fresh grapes, crisp and healthy, a mount of crushed red fruits. A frank palate, fine and light but also firm, with very fine tannins. A pleasant wine whose charming frankness invites you to try it. Terra Remota launched this wine in 2013, using inspired elaboration, to respond to nearby traditional working models of the area and to convey the freshness and naturalness of the popular wines of the area. That was the beginning of Tan Natural, which the company claims is “the most casual and frank Terra Remota wine, moreover, thanks to a very competitive price, it becomes a perfect entry level wine” to discover this unique winery of the D.O. Empordà.

In the vintage 2013, Terra Remota Tan Natural presents this wine using the varietal Grenache as a fresh and aromatic variety treated entirely within the parameters of organic farming in this winery. The philosophy of Terra Remota work is based on a maximum respect for nature and is certified organic since 2012. After being harvested in boxes of 10 kg, the grapes for the Tan Natural entered the winery and spent three weeks macerating during which pigeage was performed manually once a day for maximum extraction. “No tricks, simplicity and transparency” Terra Remota Tan Natural 2013 presents the consumer with an alluring wine, certainly not for everyday consumption.

In the “remote land” you will find the “narrow lane“. The “hiker” travels the “road” less used. You will at the end of your journey, if you’ve found your way, enjoy what lies within the “quotation marks“.

wallpaper.big-xnw.cs.png

A 2009 vintage of the rose Caminito sees the light and smells the air after its 5 years trapped in a bottle. Wine is happiest in my mouth and belly, and that’s a fact! Anyone who disputes that will be shot, slowly. I might have in excess of 100 different wines in my cellar, trapped only because I am lazy and lack time to uncork and enjoy! But trust me, I am working real hard to change that.

This Product Is Not Tested On Animals

Before we get the ball rolling I just want to put out a disclaimer! No animals where harmed during this tasting, it was only the cork that took a hit. In the cellar of Marc and Emma Bournazeau, located in the countryside of Emporda, enjoying wine is a fact of life too. Production here never sacrifices quality, but on the contrary, is subject to it.

terraremota

Therefore, since the launch of their first vintage of the 2006 Camino, it has managed to penetrated into national and international markets. At present, the foreign markets includes countries such as France, Switzerland, Brazil, Denmark, Netherlands, Italy, Belgium and the USA. The winery exports 70 % of its production, small quantities produced, so it is not altogether easy to find the wines on the local market.

Terra_Remota_startpagina

In a vintage characterized by quantity and quality, the 2011 Camino offers the complexity and roundness of a great coupage: Grenache, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Ull de Llebre, in order of appearance, provide the best of each variety to achieve a balanced and rich wine.

Terra_remota01

As for the rest of the range of Terra Remota, all the grapes come from the estate of 23 hectares grown in the D.O. Empordà, in a granitic area that in 2012 was certified for organic farming. Standing out for its aromatic finesse, Camino 2011 offers jammy nose of cherries, vanilla, sotobosque (underbrush) and herbs. The palate is filled with velvety tannins and display meaty notes with hints of licorice and red fruit jam.

IMG_1306-500x500

In a granitic soil of the Empordà, at the foot of the Sierra de la Albera, Marc and Emma Bournazeau founded Terra Remota in 1996. The winery, designed by Pepe Cortes Nacho Ferrer, is hosted in 23 ha. vineyard. His philosophy is based with a maximum respect for nature and the building is well integrated in the surroundings. Marc Bournazeau can be symbolized by his line “Road”, product quality through perseverance at work.

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

119 to go!

El Carriel dels Vilars, But Beautiful in Emporda

232/365 – Catalonia – Emporda – Els Vilars d’Espolla – El Carriel dels Vilars – Carriels dels Vilars 2011

But Beautiful……,

Carriel dels Vilars 2011

Carriels dels Vilars 2011, 50% Garnatxa, 30% Syrah, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Samso

Beautiful cherry color with purple reflections. Dense with good legs. Intense nose which needed a little time to express itself to the fullest. Good aromas of red fruit (cherries, blackberries, plums) with balsamic (juniper, lavender, rosemary, thyme) and final notes of licorice. The palate is powerful and bulky, extraordinary acidity which is alive and well, it provides the necessary balance to the alcohol because it transmits a freshness that carries the wine further. The tannins are rounded and polished, but still very present. This wine is long and full of nuances that demands it to be enjoyed slowly, growing as it is rewarding you for your patience. A Super Natural Catalan!

CapIndex

Dreams can come true. When I first met Carlos Alonso, I thought he was yet another loony winemaker, going out of his way to prove a point he would never deliver, but he did and he did it beautifully! His reason for making wine and making a living from it, is pure, untouched and Super Natural!  It has taken him some thirty years to walk the talk in the small and personal project called Carriel dels Vilars. Throughout this period he has worked hard to shape an idea that, after years of evolution and maturation, has become a fine example of how wines may be made with the utmost respect for the environment and tradition and yet still be as successful as those produced with the most advanced scientific and expensive techniques. His method is to be considered radical. Get rid of anything superfluous during the growing of the vines and making of the wines, just keeping the essentials of both activities. This is as naked as winemaking gets to be, but the final reward hasn’t been easily accomplished. Being ignored and frowned upon, for many years, by the wine establishment, his achievements are starting to be rewarded with well-deserved admiration and recognition.

Carrereeer

Carlos Alonso‘s wines still do not conform to the regulations of the local wine region, so the wines made are not D.O. Emporda, but who cares when the wine is as good as his and they sell! My fellow wine loving colleagues, that visited the natural wine fair in Barcelona with me, didn’t all fall for Carlos wines the way I did. They are not traditional, they are not conservative. They are bold, fun and way out there! Carlos Alonso calls his wine natural and there is no better word to define it. He cultivates his vineyard in a way that the grapes are just like berries picked from the wild. In his vineyards, which at present total a mere 2.5 hectares, the practices of modern agriculture are almost non-existent: he does not plough the land; he does not water the vines; he does not add fertilizers; he does not use pesticides other than the authorized organic Bordeaux mixture. In the winery he does not filter the wine nor does he add sulfites or sugar for the second fermentation of the sparkling wines; instead he allows things to happen as they should according to the laws of nature. Each season the wines at Carriel dels Vilars tell us about the climatic conditions of the previous year, since standardization is proscribed and annual variability favoured. This is the wine of the future…….., only one small problem, there’s not enough to fed us all!

angles_presentacioCatalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

149 to go!

Finca Bell-Lloc, Root-Down in D.O. Emporda

223/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Emporda – Palamos – Finca Bell-Lloc – As for the wine? Why not come and try it at the “Beautiful Place”?

Root-Down……..,

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, or Root-Down, I’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

158 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle