Masia Barthomeus, The Shadow Of Your Smile in D.O. Penedes

373/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Penedes – El Vendrell – Barthomeus – Barthomeus Rosé 2013

The Shadow Of Your Smile………,

rosat (kopia)Barthomeus Rosé 2013, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon

Lovely bright red colour with violet trimmings. It has a lively red fruit aroma and forrest berries stand out. Some fresh strawberry, rose and hibiscus aromas that are mirrored on the palate. Pomegranates, red currants and a touch of lychee. A lovely display of aromas. On the palate it is massive and complete. It has a good acidity, astringency and freshness. With its dry finish and balanced acidity, this Rosé is perfectly suited for al fresco dining and lighter fare. Serve chilled, between 11 and 13°C.

1376359_674653149219006_1909150598_nThe masia Barthomeus is currently owned and operated by the family of Llasat, a constellation of three siblings. It was probably acquired by Bartomeu Minguella whose name is still preserved in the historical records of the mansion. Three generations earlier, in 1635, the forefather was Joan Castanyer. He was a farmer and lived in El Vendrell in his ancestral house in the High Street of the town, which is still kept in order and where the original wine cellar has been preserved.

DSC_0022-optim-940x450In 1911 the great grandfather, Joan Recasens Minguella, was one of the founders of the “Cooperativa del Vendrell” and he was the first president of this, in the days, high producing wine cooperative. The father of todays generation, Carles Llasat, followed in his fathers footsteps and fifty years later became the President as well. Now, the three Llasat siblings, with the support of their mother are following the ancestral path and not only are they cultivating the vineyards but also elaborating wines.

CCI14012013_00002optim-940x450Masia Barthomeus has a property of 30 Ha. and is situated between 28 and 50 m. above sea level, in close proximity to the Mediterranean coast and not far from Via Agusta, the ancient Roman trade route of Catalonia. Its surface is covered by vineyards, olive trees and carob trees, Mediterranean forest of Aleppo pines, Kermes Oak and with an important amount of palmetto and some American aloes. All together it is like an island of green in the middle of an urban zone which becomes a fauna refuge fighting the influence of humans.

1074895_1424145954469863_1212772362_oIn 2001 they decided to go against the progressive degradation of the surroundings and with the aim of preserving its biodiversity, they obtained for that an extension of 50 Ha. to be declared REFUGE OF WILD FAUNA, that is to say, a protected natural zone, by the Department of Environment of the Generalitat de Catalunya. In 2012 they slowly began to turn all viticulture into ecological growing, under CCPAE (Catalan Council of Ecological Protection).This culture excludes all sorts of chemical treatment (herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers) which damages the fauna too, in order to keep an ecological balance.

DSC_0062optim-940x450The masia Bartomeu has 15 Ha. of vineyard distributed on 18 parcels of different dimensions. They are distributed in two different zones which are almost equal: one of them looks to the sea somewhat higher than the Sant Salvador shore; the other is situated behind the little hill where the masia stands and looks at the little village of San Vicenç de Calders. The different locations have their own microclimates. The one looking at the sea receives the see-breeze and the other one doesn’t.

Marge-1-580x350There are two different varieties of red grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. This decision was taken many years ago when it was realized that this land had been ground for red grapes. In fact, some of the vineyards of Cabernet Sauvignon are among the oldest in el Baix Penedès because they were planted in 1987 and have adapted themselves extraordinarily well to this place.

Presentacio2_optim1The vineyards were born more than 2000 years ago. As the archaeological remains tell us, the “masia” (farm house) Barthomeus was built by the Iberian people and in the V century they traded with the Greek and Carthaginians and later with the Romans and all of them left their traces here, especially the last ones.

ceramica3-940x450The great quantity of Iberian, Punitian and Roman amphoras coming from these peoples clearly show that the trade of wine had been very important in that little Roman “villae” where the masia Barthomeus now stands. Imagination has no boundaries and I can easily ponder about how the Romans traveled through this landscape and during such journeys needed shelter, a hotel if you wish. They would probably be welcomed at the Barthomeus mansion to spend a night or two and enjoy some wine and dinner. Today, you are able to do the same as the family have built a separate agroturistic house on their land, which is possible to rent. Welcome to my hood!

12 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

Rosa Maria Torres, One on One in D.O. Conca de Barbera

369/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Conca de Barbera – Sarral – Rosa Maria Torres – Susel Rosé 2009

One on One……..,

Susel 2009Susel Rosé 2009, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon

Bright red onion peel color, leaning towards light cherry. A very elegant aroma of ripe red berries, strawberry and raspberry. Some candied fruit, dried flowers and touches of herbs, some currant. Light entry, tasty, great acidity in the mouth. It is round, intense and to be very honest, as my preferred wines are certainly not rosés, this one is amazing. Long aftertaste which is slightly spicy. Probably one of the best rosés tried this side of Christmas! The fermentation is done at a temperature between 14 and 16ºC, after soaking with the grape skins in order to preserve the bouquet. This wine spent a short period resting on its lees. This wine is excellent with pasta dishes, vegetables and salads. The perfect temperature for this wine is: 6-8ºC. Lovely, not only as a summer wine, this can stand most seasons and most wine loving moments.

Logo_seccionatThe documentation about the origin of Villa of the Sarral, takes us to the XII century, and it is known that the name of the village at the time was Saluc. The wine was imported by monks of the locality of Poblet, from the convents that the Cister monks used to have in France. Sarral is located in the tour guide of the Ruta dels Cisters. From the wine cellar, you can visit three monasteries which are very close. The Villa Ducal Montblanc is also located in the vicinity, which has a rich historical past.

rc91The region is full of vineyards, modernist cellars and a variety of picturesque villages, that are interesting to visit, as: Conesa, Fores, Barbera de la Conca, etc. Those villages are very rich in history related to the country and its people. Both in Montblanc and Poblet, you can visit the Tourism Office, where you will find all the information to have a pleasant day of tourism and enjoy the best gastronomy of La Conca de Barbera.

PADDOCK_RUTA_la-ruta-del-cister16 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

Can descRegut, Bitter Sweet Symphony in D.O. Penedes

361/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Penedes – Vilobi del Penedes – Can descRegut – Vermell 2012

Bitter Sweet Symphony…….,

vermell-2012_f_10006987Vermell 2012, 100% Red Xarel.lo

Vibrant yellow-orange color. Equally vibrantly nose, where apple aromas are found comfortably nestled on a citrus background, reminiscent of lime. Some green touches, laurel and a hint of geranium. Medium-bodied, smooth and elegant flavor. Balanced acidity and a slight bitter hint which is actually quite nice. It pairs well with cheeses and with oven baked fish.

Can DEscregutCold maceration of the skins for about 48hours, to extract the aromas of the varietal and some of the color.  A static clearing of the must is then carried out at 14ºC and the alcoholic fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks. After fermentation it ages with its lees for 4 months. 100% Red Xarel.lo. The Red xarel.lo is a genetic mutation of the White Xarel.lo. It is rarely cutivated in the central Penedès region. It comes from old vines, planted 60 years ago, producing less grapes but with more taste concentration. The grape skin is red, and thicker than the White Xarel.lo, giving a different taste.

 

010c5670990903fea0d8c88858a804e9_400x400Can Descregut is an old traditional farmhouse, restored in 1990, when it became a winery to produce wine and Cava. This project works with young vineyards of traditional white varieties like Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel·lo and the Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon when it comes to red varieties. As explained above, they also have a very small plot of the Red Xarel.lo or as it is called here in Catalunya, Xarel.lo Vermell. They have 50 hectares of vineyards, all ecological. The most striking peculiarity of the visit to the facilities of Can Descregut is its zoo, where they have a lot of animals, both domestic and exotic. It is possible to take a walk to see the zoo, especially attractive for children. The visitors can see the whole process of wine and Cava making, from the vineyard to the bottle. The owners of the company are responsible for giving the didactic explanations and take you for a tour of the property. Furthermore, they offer the possibility to have a meal at the estate, a calçotada or barbecue, depending on the time of year.

24 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

Cal Cabo Celler, Buttercup in D.O. Costers del Segre

317/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Costers del Segre – Sant Martí de Maldà – Cal Cabo Celler – Curvus 2010

Buttercup……..,

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Curvus 2010, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Ull de Llebre

Cherry red to ruby with a mahogany rim, medium-high layer and tinted tears with a slow flow. The aroma appears as tertiary notes, cigar box, cedar, moist mushrooms. A nice scent of nutmeg, clear earthy character and a background of candied ripe fruit. Easy entry, smooth and elegant presence of tannins. Powerful finish with an aftertaste of vegetables and spices, sweet black pepper and leafs. A well elaborated wine, nice coupatge. The varieties have been separately aged in French, American and Hungarian oak barrels over a 10 month period. After blending it has spent another 3 months to rest in tanks.

curvus_small

Cal Cabo is a very small family winery that produces wines covered by the appellation of Costers del Segre, and extra virgin olive oil under the name of Mas de Sant Pere. Rosa Maria Bisa Felip is responsible for this project which started in 2009. During 2010 they bottled and started selling their first vintage. Earlier, like in many small wineries, her father had made ​​wine for home consumption using the grapes from the vineyards of the family. The cellar is located in Sant Martí de Maldà, a town that is part of the municipality of Sant Martí de Riucorb and situated along the Cistercian Route . It is a journey that follows the outline of the Cistercian monasteries of Santes Creus, Poblet and Vallbona, located in the Alt Camp, Conca de Barbera and Urgell, respectively. The vineyards and olive growths that cover some 13 hectares are irrigated by the river Corb, hence, today’s wine and one of the wines produced is named Curvus.

F1

 

This is indeed a small winery with a limited production of only 3,000 bottles per year, for which they only use a portion of their grapes, the rest is sold to other producers. They work with the red varieties Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo (Ull de Llebre), from which they obtain three wines: the aforementioned Curvus, which is a red wine, a pink and a red, both named 1-11, in memory of the contribution of grapes that valley residents historically had to make their lord. To visit you have to call ahead, as they only receive pre booked groups and in limited numbers. During a the winery tour you can taste their products in a small tasting room; there is also the possibility to have breakfast or alfresco dining should the weather allow. Well worth the trip if you like small, familiar wineries!

onze_small

74 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!

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107 to go!

Alella Vinicola, in D.O. Alella

271/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Alella – Alella – Alella Vinicola – Mayla Rose 2013

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Mayla Rose 2013, 87% Syran and 13% Pansa Blanca

Grapes obtained from organic vineyards.  It has a beautiful strawberry colour with bluish highlights and it is quite delicate and attractive. It has a high intensity nose in which red fruits (strawberries, blueberries), flower (violet) and fine lees stand out. It is a very original blend and for me personally something totally new, which I can say I quite like. In the mouth, it is fresh and very tasty and is characterised by the original, natural sparkling point that intensifies all sensations, inviting you to drink it again! The wine was aged in stainless steel tanks on its own fine lees from November to February in order to give the wine more lubrication and volume, and to prepare it to improve its evolution throughout time. Likewise, the second fermentation was done in stainless steel tanks for two months to obtain the desired sparkling point. It is a great aperitif, ideal for accompanying light dishes, salads, pastas or tapas.

Alella 1

1886 was the year the Phylloxera plague reached Alella and by 1894 it had affected the local vineyards with extreme virulence. Many owners were ruined and had to sell their properties. In 1888, the first American stemmed vine was planted in Alella. The first harvest after the Phylloxera plague was in 1894. On July 15 1906, Alella Vinícola was founded as a co-operative with the character of an agricultural trade union, and its first 54 member associates contributed, at the beginning of the business, with around 513,000 vines. In September of the same year, Jeroni Martorell was commissioned with the building of the wine cellar and Alella Vinícola’s company headquarters in a modern style.

By 1911, 800.000 vines had already been re-planted. The recovery of the vines and of production was complete. Of all the vines in Alella, 513.000 belonged to the Alella Vinícola union. The founders of the co-operative were concerned about authenticity and certification of origin. This is why the labels carry the wording” Alella Legítimo” (“Genuine Alella”). Alella Vinícola became a guarantee of the authenticity of Alella wine, operating de facto as a Regulatory Council for the Guarantee of Denomination of Origin (Appelation Controlée), by pursuing any illicit use of the name Alella. In 1918, the most exclusive stores offered to represent the Alella Vinicola wines on important markets: Argentina, Cuba, London, New York, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, etc. These exports increased the prestige of their wines. In 1923, 900.000 of the one million vines throughout the Alella municipality belonged to the union.

Alella 2

In 1928, the trademark MARFIL was registered and the co-op’s wine came to be known as Marfil Alella. The name arose because of the colour of the wine and the caps that sealed the bottles. The 1920’s and 1930’s saw significant growth in the wines of Alella Vinicola. The prestige of MARFIL wine reached its peak: “and Alella Vinícola received its ultimate blessing when in 1928 a Spanish king – Alfonso XIII – gave Marfil Alella the distinction of his royal seal of appointment, in preference over a very famous foreign brand”. The co-operative’s wine has been awarded national and international prizes, prominent among which is the gold medal received at the Barcelona World Fair in 1929. This distinction was the only one awarded unanimously to a Spanish brand.

During the post-war years, demand was twice as high as capacity. Alella Vinícola had to restrict the number of deliveries. Unscrupulous shopkeepers became wealthy thanks to the name of Marfil Alella by selling wine from anywhere except Alella. In 1942, the cooperative took the initiative of asking the town hall to take suitable measures to protect Marfil’s good name. Four years later, measures were taken to create a Regulatory Council for the protection of Alella wine. In 1947, Jeroni Martorell oversaw the extension of the building, taking advantage of the slope of the land to improve the wine-making process. The grapes were received in the higher area while the wine matured in the lower area. On 13 May of 1953, the Regulatory Council of the Alella Denomination of Origin was established.

Alella 3

In 1956, the 50th Anniversary of the foundation of Alella Vinícola was celebrated and the Bye-Laws of the Regulatory Council for the Guarantee of Denomination of Origin was approved. Between the 1950 – 1970’s, the co-operative kept up its good results. At the end of the 1970’s, increasing pressure by urban development led to the destruction of many vineyards, which were converted into plots on which second homes for people from Barcelona were built. The lack of Alella wine in the shops during certain periods led to disappointment among loyal customers. During the 1980’s, part of the wine cellar installations were renewed. Many of the wooden vats were replaced with stainless steel tanks in which to commence the production of young wines following the introduction of new varieties. On 23 June 1998, the Alella Vinícola co-operative became a private company. It was the beginning of a new era!

Alella 4

Starting with the 2002 grape harvest, MARFIL wines were presented in a Bordeaux bottle and the classic Rhine type bottle was abandoned. In addition, a new brand was born in the cellar: IVORI, a white wine fermented in oak barrels and whose production is based on a local variety. The 2003 grape harvest initiated the production and renovation of the vintage VIOLETA wine, a sweet wine produced with Garnacha Tinta (red Garnacha) from old vines, which had been made for many years in the cooperative. “Pansified” white raisins (pansas blancas) are also vinified to obtain sweet white wines. Only 14 kilometres from Barcelona, they now have 50 hectares of old and young vines which allow them to produce nearly 80% of the grapes needed for the production of their wines. As well as a guided-tour through the wine cellar, it is also possible to have a walk through the vines along the Rials Valley, with their spectacular views of the sea, our vineyards and the city of Barcelona behind them. Welcome to Alella!!!

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113 to go!

Cellers d’en Guilla, Games People Play in D.O. Empordà

246/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Empordà – Municipi de Rabós d’Empordà – Cellers d’en Guilla – Vinya del Metge 2013

Games People Play……,

vinya-del-metge

Vinya del Metge 2013, 90% Garnacha Roja and 10% Garnacha Negra

A rosé wine with an elegant sparkling colour and lingering mouth. A different rosé from the Empordà. It has an attractive pale pink, slightly salmon, colour. On the nose it is fresh and lively, with primary aromas of the varieties, the Grenache is showing of in a very filling way. The mouth is balanced and very enjoyable. A rosé wine that I wouldn’t mind having a few bottles of on stock, as it might come in handy for the late summer evenings, as a pre dinner glass of wine. Manual harvest in boxes of 20 kg. The grey Grenache comes from La Vinya del Metge in Mollet de Peralada, the red Grenache from La Guilla in Garriguella. Maceration for 48 h for the grey Grenache and 12-24 h  for the red Grenache. Great price/quality comparison!

celler-den-guilla-per-web

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

137 to go!