I’m Dreaming Of A White Christmas!

381 – 395/365 – Catalonia – 15 Selected Great Whites

I’m Dreaming Of A White Christmas!………,

The end is nigh and so I recap on some of my favorite wines from Catalonia. The whites below are a few of many excellent wines found in my neck of the woods and in no particular order. As you might know, if you have been following my blog, I don’t give scores and so shall it remain. Just some good wine to enjoy on your own or with friends! Have a great Saturday and make sure you have something nice in your glass!

DSC_0053Nun Vinya dels Taus 2013, 100% Xarel.lo

One of the most elegant and impressive wines, all categories, I have and the good fortune to try this year. Attractive yellow color with delicate gold reflections. Clean and bright. Glyceric tears. My first impression was that of indecisiveness, I couldn’t get my senses to interpret what was going on in the glass, as there was too much information that came too fast. Very complex sensations, hard to put in words. After a while I got my head around it. Very elegant, very fresh and seductive aromas. Intense ripe white fruit and citrus aromas and fresh flowers. Some vegetal notes but in a good way. Herbs, sage, fennel and soft menthol. All interspersed with the creaminess given by the oak. Once in the mouth it is very present, taking over and claiming the mouth as its own. Long travel, very deep, intense and concentrated. Excellent acidity which gives loads of freshness throughout its path. Elegant, long and persistent finish. This is a Super Catalan!

garnatxa_blanca_23859Herencia Altes Garnatxa Blanca 2011

Straw yellow color. Expressive exotic nose, white flowers are all over the place, mineral and well marked acidity that keeps it fresh and alive over time. The palate is creamy and has good volume. A wine with complexity and soul. It was made using old and young vines of Garnacha Blanca. The grapes were picked early to ensure good natural acidity. Followed by short maceration and fermentation. The wine was kept two months on its lees to gain texture and complexity. This is a wine to fall in love with!

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Vi de la Vila, Escanya-Vella 2011, 100% Escanya-Vella

Don’t know why really, but the wine was totally unclear  as I opened the bottle but after about half an hour it displayed a clear and vivid colour, slightly golden. The primaries present some ripe white fruit and aromatic herbs. Continuing with notes of quite light floral and mineral touches, citric lime and hints of tropical fruits, like pineapple. Complex and fresh nose. Easy entry, easy to drink and easy to enjoy. Good body, balanced  and well defined acidity, complex taste as was the nose.  mouth-filling with good acidity, giving it length and freshness. This is a wine I am happy to recommend any time a day!

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Els Bassotets 2012, 100% Chenin Blanc

Deep golden yellow and turbid, due to the absence of filtration. High intensity shows a complex nose full of nuances. Aromas of white fruit and very ripe yellow citrus fruits, yeast and sweet spices, lifted by a subtle wood. The palate is oily, with a silky smooth texture, superb acidity, deep, aromatic, good finish, long and persistent that puts more wood on the nose, lots of fruit and mineral notes.

sisquellaSisquella 2012, Albariño, Garnacha Blanca and Moscatel de Alexandria

Straw yellow color, clear and shiny. Powerful sweetness on the nose with notes of pineapple and lemon, ripe white fruit also appears after some time, toasted vanilla and a light touch from the French oak. Quite floral overall feel. It is elegantly spicy with citrus notes that are present but not overwhelming. This is a very fresh wine with a medium long after taste. With the ancient name of the lands of L’Albagés, Clos Pons Sisquella restores white wine making in the area of the Garrigues, a region otherwise known for the reds.

30.70-201330.70 – 2012, 30% Muscat de Alexandria and 70 Garnacha Blanca

Light yellow color with golden reflections. White stone fruits, honey, menthol and grass. Perfumed nose with subtle hints of peaches, apricots and the Muscat standing out with its honeyed aroma on a background of white fowers and aromatic herbs, leaning towards the typicity of white Grenache. large entry, managing to maintain freshness and intensity, slightly salty and the taste of wet stone. Great body and the honey, although mineraly, is noticed in the mouth as well. Fresh, persistent. large and ending on a slightly bitter and herbaceous note. Lovely wine!

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!

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Idoia Blanc Fermentat en Bota 2012, 70% Xarel·lo, 12% Garnacha Blanca, 12% Macabeu and 6% Chardonnay

A white with an unusual blend: 70% Xarel.lo grapes, from vines between 20 and 40 years of age, perfectly assembled with Chardonnay, white Grenache and Macabeo. Fermented and aged in oak barrels. Aged for 6 months in new French oak barrels, lightly toasted Allier. Nice golden yellow color of medium intensity and with extraordinarily bright golden reflections. On the nose subtle aromas of vanilla, nutmeg and coconut, with some extra freshness provided by the lime caramel, aniseed, bay leaves and hay, and at the very end a slight sweet aroma of ripe banana. In the mouth it is intense, quite fatty and great longevity. Long and fresh with round tannins which carries to the very end. Good balance and intensity.

ekam-221048Ekam 2013 , Riesling and Albariño

Straw yellow color, clean, silver and brown reflexes. Good flow, satiny. Alsatian bottle, high quality cork. A great example of a well done wine and the first thing that come to mind is how well the Albariño has been lifted to the foreground (Pineapple, freshness of the ocean, sea flavors). There are also clear citrus notes, floral, salinity and some ash. In general the mouth is persistent with acidic citrus notes. The attack is very good, vinous, finding flavors of pineapple, pear and citrus fruit like (lemon and lime but also apple). It leaves a salty palate with medium, not overly long finish. After 6 hours it is slightly more evolved, especially the presence in the nose with some fruits, (lemon, peach) and flower notes. On the palate, it is more refined as well, the Albariño grape is palpable, with some more presence of the northern variety (Riesling), without taking over the show, I’d say the the final flavor is that of the Riesling, while the Albariño carries the acidity. Is this a Catalan wine? Yes it certainly is, welcome to the Catalan Pyrenees.

dahliaDahlia 2013, 75% Viognier and 25% Xarel.lo

The colour is straw yellow with greenish reflections, clear and bright. This wine is characterized by its deep and elegant nose. Subtle and elegant aromas, rich in nuances, fresh fruit (mango), dried apricots with hints of minerals and stone fruit, apricot, peach and loquat. Dense, soft, warm tropical notes, complex, beautifully balanced, good acidity, long and persistent aftertaste. Wouldn’t mind spending an evening with this wine, some good friends and possibly salad with fresh cheese, prawns or spicy seafood. Works well with Asian cuisine.

Coma Romà Xarel·lo Macerat 2012

Coma Romà Xarel·lo Macerat 2012, 100% Xarel.lo

A noble and not so soft spoken wine! Fine yellow straw colour, bright and clean, dense tears that slowly flows down the inside of the glass. Aromas of ripe white fruit (pears and apples, candied fruits), banana peel, soft milky notes (yoghurt mousse) balanced creaminess and floral notes, aromatic herbs, fennel and a gentle balsamic background, a slight touch of wet stone. The palate has a very good entry, very tasty ripe white fruit, good acidity, light citrus touches that appear after a while, very palatable, intense, broad, soft notes of spice (white pepper), and pleasant persistence. Long finish, white fruit and slightly smoky aftertaste.

The Xarel.lo grapes, from vines that are older than 70 years, is skin macerated before juice extraction and subsequent fermentation in new French oak barrels, under temperature control. The wine stays in the same barrels for about 5 months and in contact with its lees. Production is limited to 900 bottles. Get a bottle now!

Aikarai 2013

Aikarai 2013, 100% Muscat de Frontignan

Pale, straw color with green reflexes & lime hues, delicate and glyceric tears. On the it is nose bursting with intense aromas of fresh grapes combined with a pleasant fragrance of exotic fruist, white rose petals, jasmine & oriental musk and finally fusing into a citric breeze. Freshness and smoothness, balance and elegance, nice body and texture, very hip with fruit sensations, citrus and peach pit notes, creamy finish with a bitter touch. Structured & elegant with fine flavors of white flowers, peach & citric peels and very subtle notes of coriander spices. Big-boned and mouth filling with a smooth texture, balanced by a long dry finish and zesty acidity. Magnificent aperitif. Matches well with oily fish, mild or creamy style cheeses, like goat cheese with dry fruits and nuts. The handpicked grapes come from low-yielding vines & single plots reserved for the production of the Aikarai. Gentle whole bunch pressing is followed by the sequential wild yeast fermentation in small stainless steel tanks at a very low temperature between 12 -14 ºC for aprox. one month The Aikarai is a young and sexy wine and even though easy to drink, quite complex and with depth.

 

matrbMatraketa Blanc 2012, 100% Garnatxa Blanca

One of the latest wines of Ficaria Vins shows the potential of both white Grenache of the region as well as the elaboration and will to try something that in the old days was obvious. The Montsant is not only about great reds, so please, let the white Grenache shine and Roll With It! Bright yellow with green hues. The nose shows lots of fruit, white fruit, pear, apple, and floral notes, jasmine and some aniseed. Easy yet expressive on the palate, good acidity, fresh and aromatic. It is fleshy and expressive, with a long aftertaste, cool and pleasant. Super Catalan for sure, white this time! You could match this wine very well with a wide variety of dishes: pasta, rice, fatty cheeses. A good white wine to enjoy during the summer heat!

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Les Vistes 2012, 100% Xarel.lo, barrel fermented with its lees. Barrel aged.

Bright golden, clear and brilliant with slow and fat tears. The nose is floral and buttery, the oak notes are round and the vanilla is light. Notes of fudge, warm eucalyptus and some peach. There is a strong presence of mineral elements, enhanced by the permanence of wine on the lees during aging. The palate is full and complex, but maintains its freshness and balance due to its good acidity. The evolution of this wine in the glass is remarkable, slowly evolving and showing different levels of aromatic complexity.

antistiana_incrocio_manzoni_2011_low_resAntistiana 2012, 100% Incrocio Manzoni

Bright straw yellow colour. The nose transmits fresh aromas of citrus, herbs like rosemary and a likeable saltiness. This is a very Mediterranean style wine but with something that doesn’t really “fit the bill” to be fully considered a typical middle sea wine. It carries saltiness that reminds me of one wine and then some minerals and floral notes which awakens other memories, of other wines. It is strange in a way, very magical, how it changes throughout the tasting. Some expressive mature white fruit, pear and peach. It is full-bodied, flavoursome and very well balanced, elegant on the palate. Splendid and unique, nothing like it really. Well made and high accolades for price/quality.

4 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

Cava Hotel Mas Tinell, Bottle of Wine in D.O. Penedes

376/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Penedes – Vilafranca del Penedes – Cava & Hotel Mas Tinell – Gisele 2011

Bottle of Wine……..,

Gisele-webGisele 2011, Xarel.lo and Muscat

Very brilliant, golden yellow with light gold reflections, a really nice color. Medium intensity nose with clean and fresh citrus accents, floral notes, white stone fruit, slightly smoky, nutty and well integrated wood. Very pleasant nose that continues with some tropical fruit such as lychee, banana and pineapple. On the palate, it is unctuous and complex with balanced acidity. Slightly greasy texture that provides good body to the wine. It has a very expressive retronasal finish ennobled by the slight wooden undertones from the barrel aging from one of the varieties, Some of the Xarel.lo wine was fermented in French oak barrels with subsequent battonage. It is complex and evolves by releasing different aromatic tones once opened. It lingers in the mouth, very unctuous, with toasty and spicy hints.

The Bottle…..,

…… people in the bottle, there’s people livin’ in the bottle. Well, maybe not living there but at least visiting for a while and enjoying five star service. Hotels can have many shapes and forms, I know, it used to be my line of work. Many years with boutique hotels in both Europe and Africa, and I still haven’t seen what I saw in Vilafranca del Penedes, people living in a bottle. Marketing ploy or just another expression of Spanish design?

Techo-Hotel-Mas-TinellMany wineries all over Spain have been designed by famous architects but not just for the sake of creating a beautiful building, but also something that works, both environmentally and when it comes to the workability as a winery. In the case of Mas Tinell, it is a two step project. The winery as such has existed for quite some time but the current owners acquired it 1989 and only recently, in 2013 they opened what must be one of the coolest looking hotels in the area!

DSC_0849Have you heard of Mas Tinell in Vilafranca del Penedes? If you have, then you know that it is a unique building. A 5 star hotel remarkable for its peculiar shape, which resembles two rows of bottles of cava put into rhyme. It is a project of the architects Josep Lluís Juanpere and Escamis (GCA Arquitectes ) who won the Gold Medal in the 2011 “Shanghai International Interior Design Festival.

cava-hotel-mastinellAmongst building materials, ceramics highlights a clear identification with the Modernism of Antonio Gaudí, which decorates the roof, achieving an impressive aerial view and in complete harmony with the carpet of vineyards stretching through the Penedes. What’s more, it is also a sustainable building. Visiting a place like this is not only about wine, but also ecotourism and spoiling oneself. The building has cross ventilation, rainwater is reused and it has a biomass boiler.

DSC_0870A good example of sustainable architecture, which in turn respects the environment and the environment in which it is located. The idea of ​​integrating the environment of a building with vines, being that the land surrounding the property is all vineyards and the way that the bottles are stacked during fermentation in rhyme (second fermentation) is what captured my attention the first time I drove past it.

cava-hotel-mastinell-1How would you like to spend a night or two in a bottle? I know I for one, wouldn’t mind that notion at all! There are a total of 11 guest rooms and 1 suit, so it is to be considered a boutique hotel. All rooms are designed in a way so that the guests feel like they are sleeping in a wine bottle.

cava_hotel_mas_tinell_habitacio_0016-1The circular shapes all over are illustrating bubbles.  It is comfortable, spacious and welcoming and the ground floor restaurant serves some amazing courses. A part from the guest rooms and restaurant, there is also a tasting room and a convention center for up to 160 people.

DSC_1002However, it is not only for its exterior shape and its relationship with the environment that makes it unique. As you well may know, it is located in the region of Penedès, an area that enjoys a typical Mediterranean climate ideal for growing grapes. This region is home to approximately 95 % of all Cava elaborated. It is for this reason that the setting of the hotel is one of the best for those who want a true wine tourism experience in situ.

All the rooms are named after grapes. Nice touch! This one is Trepat.

The Mas Tinell is a small winery with a clear Mediterranean spirit, sociable, active, very natural and current, yet respectful and identified with the tradition of the land and has been all these things during their 25 years of existence.

The bubbles are everywhere!

Mas Tinell was founded in 1989 . Its headquarters, surrounded by vineyards and built in traditional architectural style of a Catalan farmhouse, houses modern facilities featuring cutting edge technology to produce white wines, Cava and red wines of exceptional quality and limited production.

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During the visit I was very well received by the young but commited General Manager of the hotel and also got to meet with the wine maker and the winery workers. This is certainly a place I’m going to return to, to enjoy a nice meal with some great wines and to stay a night in the bottle!

9 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

La Gravera, If You Can’t Live Without Me, Why Aren’t You Dead Yet? in D.O. Costers del Segre

375/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Costers del Segre – Alfarrás – La Gravera – Onra Moltahonra Blanc 2011

If You Can’t Live Without Me, Why Aren’t You Dead Yet?

onraOnra Moltahonra Blanc 2011, 70% Garnatxa Blanca and 30% Sauvignon Blanc

Brilliant and golden yellow color. Clean nose with heavy aromatic complexity. Some coconut, but mainly I noted white fruit meat, pear and apple. Smoky notes and cedar came along nicely in the background. Slight perfume, or aftershave, or if it was just the guy next to me? With aeration, lemon, pineapple and peach continues to add dimensions to the experience. Good entry, slightly salty. It is filling the mouth with sensations of white fruits, herbs and a buttery feel. Mature, quality, long and fresh finish.

I travel, I visit, I taste and I write for you! I’m your man, not only in Costers del Segre but all over Catalonia. So, any time you have questions, especially regarding wine and wineries in Catalonia but also other questions, you are more than welcome to ask! If you would like me to visit, and write about a particular winery in the vicinity, let me know about it! We now have only 10 days left of 2014! I have been writing consecutively for 355 days and I will finish what I set out to do on January 1st! What happened 2015? I really don’t know, I’m not Nostradamus……, but I will be tasting and drinking wine during the year to come as well. Will I continue writing? Guess we’ll all just have to wait and see!

YOURMAN_NEON-2I’m your man and this time we once more spend our time together in one of the less known wine making regions in Catalonia. Never the less, it is an area of great beauty and some high class wines. The region also hosts the second winery (my first choice is Can Rafols dels Caus) that could be considered for the next James Bond movie or for the next Alien film with Sigurney. Outstanding architecture with well thought through processes for elaboration.

503d950228ba0d7ece00002e_lagravera-sala-ferusic-architects_exterior_nit_1-528x352The project of La Gravera was conceived under low cost criteria, where optimizing energy and material means and resources became important. Economic sustainability is generally linked to environmental sustainability. And it is very evident in this case. An old warehouse from 1958, which belonged to a gravel quarry, has been recovered, revived and transformed it into a vineyard, eliminating industrial elements. SALA Architects FERUSIC was the company contracted to carry out the design and achieved something truly amazing, considering the budget.

503d952028ba0d7ece000030_lagravera-sala-ferusic-architects_moble_2-528x352The building elements are governed by economies of scale and mass production, to minimize their impact on the environment and therefore the economy and organization was done with criteria of spatial, functional and hygrothermal design, in mind. The project was structured in relation to the following points: a cabinet four feet high organizes service spaces, the center of action where human activity is assisted by machines, and Zone 900, a conference room with a carpet of welcome stripes and a bright ceiling, below which the cellar is found, and where the monitoring unit controlling the vineyard in real time is located, and where the design and pedagogy of the wine develops. In conclusion, this low cost approach states one obvious fact, Less (money) Is More!

la-gravera-copiadaThe draft was from the beginning that La Gravera should perform as a small winery where the whole process can be controlled. From the vineyard to the bottle and, all with a highly technical system. Doing small things that may surprise the wine lovers of design. Its aim also goes through a proven commitment to quality and a small production. The range of wines consist of white, pink and red and feature a broth medium-high segment, and 100 % organic wine.

lagravera-winery-by-sala-ferusic-architects-barcelona-02The differential of Celler La Gravera is the fact that this is a very small, very manageable collection, with a number of grape varieties,  a plot of 14 acres with nine different types of grapes. “It allows us to process the cupages with great success ,” says the young winemaker Jordi Viader. The winery is a totally unique personal museum, unique, unusual, no plagiarism or copies. Everything, absolutely everything, is looked at through the prism of surreal design, the encounter with the afterlife, but understandable and functional. It is a winery that deserves architectural design awards.

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We are not only talking technology, but also the passion for winemaking. “My experience in domestic and international markets, traveling the world, making our wines, with proven quality, we are presenting and selling through hotels and restaurants on several continents, with a great acceptance among them,” says Sergi Garcia , CEO of Bodegas Lagravera.

onra_graveraThis very cellar in the D.O. Costers del Segre believe that as a basic premise, it is pertinent to continuously improving the quality of its wines. The slogan that have endorsed the Lleida winery is “wine that comes from the stones .” This is because their vineyards are located on land with lots of stone, basically a gravel pit located in the comarca of Noguera. They are highly mineralized wines. “We aim to give our customers what they want, while we want to be faithful with what they want ,” says Garcia. Lagravera wines are intended for the HoReCa market segment and specialty stores. Current global production is around 50,000 bottles per harvest.

10 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

Celler Credo, Bats, Bats, Bats in D.O. Penedes

360/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Penedes – Sant Sadurní d’Anoia – Celler Credo – Ratpenat 2013

Bats, Bats, Bats………,

image0031Ratpenat, 100 % Macabeu

There are plenty of wines that are made with Xarel.lo but I have personally tried very few made only with Macabeu, this is one of them and I am very happy I did try it, especially knowing that most of the turnover goes to a great cause!  It has a lovely golden yellow color with density and volume. The nose is fruity containing loads of apple notes. In the mouth it is fresh, round, with good acidity, fruity and highly drinkable. It doesn’t have a long aftertaste but leaves a good mouthfeel. A great way to get acquainted with the Macabeu varietal.

22581-cute-bat-1920x1200-animal-wallpaperMucielago, The Bat, enigmatic and secretive, but absolutely necessary for the balance of the ecosystem. The bat is the only flying mammal that exists on Earth. Their biology, highlighted by the longevity (it can live over 40 years) and a radar system that allows them to fly at night, and of course for them it is night all the time as they are blind. The white wine Ratpenat (bat) was born out of the compromise between Celler Credo and the Natural Science Museum of Granollers to defend the environment and the creatures that inhabit it. 60% of the benefits of this wine are used for projects that aim to publicize the importance of bats in the ecosystem and conservation of this mammal in the vineyard environment and as a natural and very efficient insectivore.

Celler-Credo-Vinya-de-la-Pedra-Blanca_03Ratpenat is made exclusively from old vines planted in 1950 from the estate of Pedra Blanca, in the Alt Penedès. The vineyards are cultivated following the principles of organic and biodynamic agriculture. They work with spontaneous vegetation cover (essential to fluff the soil and regulate water retention and drainage in a rained crop, as is the practice) and apply treatments with herbal medicine (phytotherapy) to monitor the presence of fungi and thus reinforce strains in a totally natural manner. Harvesting is done by hand to ensure the excellent quality of the grapes. Both the vinification and bottling are performed at the property. During the development of Ratpenat, maceration is done with the skins and stems for a few hours. Fermentation takes place in old oak barrels and then remains in the same barrels for a period of approximately three months. This wine can contain natural sediments.

Enric Soler, Moment of Truth in D.O. Penedes

355 & 356/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Penedes – Font-Rubi – Cal Raspallet Viticultors – Improvisacio 2013 & Nun Vinya dels Taus 2013

Moment of Truth………,

….., makes me know that he (Enric Soler) had the right idea from the beginning and he just needed to maintain his focus and elevate, update the formulas, in the way he makes his wines, making sure there´s always a message involved. First of December 2014, Monday, is going to be a day to remember. Today I took the time to once again leave the office and explore another exemplary wine maker in Catalunya and this time once again in the Penedes region. A man of Xarel.lo, interpreting the terroir and variety in his own way! This was for me, the Moment Of Truth! Would it be everythingI had heard, would it be as good as I had imagined? I am pretty sure you won´t be disappointed, especially Burgundy lovers will be fond of theses wines. If I had tried them under different circumstances and maybe during a blind tasting, I would probably not have ventured to guess that these wines are from Penedes, they just don´t make any sense and they confuse me, but what is more important, they make my senses work for their money.

DSC_0042Improvisacio 2013, 100% Xarel.lo

Pretty pale straw yellow color. Bright, clean and fine glyceric tears. An array of aromas, impressive, intense and seductive. The primaries are those of white fruit, lemon zest and light spicy notes, slightly floral. In needed quite some aeration to develop into a everlasting flow of aromas which seemed as if they would go on for ever. Ripe white fruit gained in intensity, opening up tropical fruit noted intermingled with good toasted, creamy and a floral touch. Light mineral background. The entry is very nice, seductive, elegant. A mature wine with fruit and well balanced oaky notes together with a crisp acidity. Very aromatic. Creamy texture. Long finish that leaves a mouthful of smoky sensations. Certainly a gastronomic wine and one of the better whites I have tasted this year.

DSC_0053Nun Vinya dels Taus 2013, 100% Xarel.lo

One of the most elegant and impressive wines, all categories, I have and the good fortune to try this year. Attractive yellow color with delicate gold reflections. Clean and bright. Glyceric tears. My first impression was that of indecisiveness, I couldn’t get my senses to interpret what was going on in the glass, as there was too much information that came too fast. Very complex sensations, hard to put in words. After a while I got my head around it. Very elegant, very fresh and seductive aromas. Intense ripe white fruit and citrus aromas and fresh flowers. Some vegetal notes but in a good way. Herbs, sage, fennel and soft menthol. All interspersed with the creaminess given by the oak. Once in the mouth it is very present, taking over and claiming the mouth as its own. Long travel, very deep, intense and concentrated. Excellent acidity which gives loads of freshness throughout its path. Elegant, long and persistent finish. This is a Super Catalan!

DSC_0033Enric Soler, Spanish sommelier champion, inherited a small vineyard in the Penedès by his grandfather in 2003. The vineyard is called Vinya dels Taus, and it was planted in 1940 after the Spanish civil war which ended in 1939. Prior to that the location of the vineyard served as an airfield for the republican forces. Today, it is a healthy 74 year old plantation of probably some of the best Xarel.lo in the world, with the help of which Enric set out to make the best white wine of Catalonia. In achieving this, he brought in the knowledge of the extremely talented wine maker Esther Nin. She in turn saw her chance to make white wine under ideal conditions. 2004 was the first vintage. It was difficult, as the vines at the time, still didn’t produce good enough grapes. The conversion to organic farming took time, and the year 2005 was the first to completely fulfill biodynamic principles. The year of 2006 received good response throughout the wine industry when the knowledge of the terroir started to fall into place for the duo making the wine. Since 2007, the wines are more or less constantly sold out and it was not easy to acquire a case to bring home, but I guess I do have some convincing skills.

DSC_0045Cal Raspallet is the name of this typical Catalan farmhouse, of the late nineteenth century where magic happens, and it maintains more or less the same structure as it did during the days of Enrics grandfathers rein. To find it, even though I had the coordinates, was not all that easy. No signs to indicate where it was and I actually passed it twice before asking a local older gentleman for directions. Finally there, Enric emerged from the house in which he lives with his family but which also serves as  the wine making facility, to great us. We were taken to the vineyard of Vinya dels Taus, which is a piece of vineyard of 0.89 hectares situated in the Alt Penedès, at the end of Torrelavit. It is a unique and varietal vineyard with great diversity of clones. The intention and philosophy is to bring the vineyard to a logical balance for the production of small clusters. Once the grapes reach the cellar, the philosophy is non-interventionist, allowing the wine to develop as they please. The arrangement of the barrels on one level and on a gravel soil improves compensation of temperature and humidity.

DSC_0005This is not a cellar that has a visitors centre or that, under normal circumstances, receives visitors. But, off course, there are always exceptions and in my case it is only due to my close friendship with one of Enrics former sommelier students that made the visit possible. This guy is a though nut to crack, and even though I on several occasion tried to get him to accept small groups that I ‘d like to bring, it was not an idea that really appeal to him. But let’s see what happens in the future? I’m not quite ready yet to give up on sharing this gem of a cellar with other wine lovers!

DSC_006330 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

Finca Valldosera, Right On in D.O. Penedès

352/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Penedès – Can Trabal – Finca Valldosera – Subirat Parent 2013

Right On………,

576_1347266415650-valldosera-Subirat-parent-vi-2011Subirat Parent 2013, 100% Subirat Parent

Yesterday it was about the Sumoll, today I introduce Subirat Parent, in the form of Valldoseras take on this lovely and fresh variety. Shiny yellow color with green reflexions. If you have once had a Subirat Parent wine, you will be able to quite easily distinguish it just by smelling it. It has a very special and unique aromatic profile which is quite intense. The aromas are predominately those of flowers and ripe grapes. Some orange blossom and tropical fruit, apricot and pineapple. Very clean and pleasant on entry. The palate has very good acidity, giving it freshness and roundness. Medium bodied, balanced and sweet. Very clean and pleasant on entering the mouth. Medium aftertaste and a slightly bitter finish. It shouts out, DRINK ME, please!

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In the Massís del Garraf where this delicate and at the same time very appreciated variety of grape is thriving, the Subirat Parent finds the best conditions for growth, offering its delicate aromas and flavors. Subirat Parent is an indigenous variety, family of malvasías, a grape forgotten over the years. It gives unique, perfumed, floral, subtle, sensual, pleasant and round white wines. It is also grown in Rioja, where it is known as Malvasía Riojana. It is also known as Malvasía de Alicante, Malvasía Francesa and Blanquirroja. It is mostly used in D.O. Alella and D.O. Penedes, as well as being certified for Cava making. There are extensive plantings in the Canary Islands where the veriety is used for a wide range of styles. One of its attributes is longevity; the variety often plays a supporting role in Rioja’s white blends when a period on oak is needed.

malvasia34 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours