Clos Pons, Stone Flower in D.O. Costers del Segre

341/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Costers del Segre – L’Albagés – Clos Pons – Sisquella 2012

Stone Flower……..,

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.

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The construction of the winery completes the wine project which started in 2005 by the Pons family. The design of the space is fuelled by the philosophy of tradition and respect for the land, reflecting the history of the company. Based on the concepts of order, symmetry, land and buildings of stone and wood, characteristics of the area of Les Garrigues, the project revolves around its adaptation to the environment and the project’s interaction with it.

The rectangular floor plan located on the top of a hill offers magnificent sunsets, overlooking the vastness of Les Garrigues and the Catalan Pyrenees. The Winery is perched on a hill that overlooks the entire vineyard. It is a construction that adheres to the concept of the French Château or the American Estate. This means integrated production, with the grapes being converted into wine on the same site where the vines grow.

New technology and traditional methods are combined at this facility, where everything is designed with the idea of working with respect for quality while maintaining the maximum properties of the terroir in the wines. Stone and wood feature in a new construction that aims to achieve maximum integration into the local landscape and maximum respect for the nature surrounding it.

Martí Magriñá i Poblet is the wine maker of Clos Pons and one of the first oenologists to qualify at the Rovira i Virgili University in Tarragona, he is a recognised authority in the Spanish winemaking sector. His professional career has taken him to the most acclaimed wine regions worldwide. He has worked at wineries in France, California, Chile, and Spain. This experience means that he has an open approach to the possibilities of the world of wine, where oenological techniques manage to get the best out of each terroir. Recognition of his work is shown in a series of awards, including medals and high scores in top competitions and magazines around the world.

47 to go!

Castell d’Encus, Águas de Março in D.O. Costers del Segre

289/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Costers del Segre – Talarn – Castell d’Encus – Ekam 2013

Águas de Março……..,

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.

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The origin of Castell d’Encus is really a love story – Raül Bobet became enamoured with the spot when in 2001 he was traveling in the region looking for land that would, as he believes,  not be as affected by climate change, due to its location. Given the high altitude, there are magnificent views and the protected area is heavily wooded, with a Romanic hermitage and several century-old stone ‘gravity’ fermenting vats. This, combined with a clay-loam and calcareous soil, offers the ideal conditions for producing outstanding wines. In the 11th Century, Castell d’Encus, belonged to Count Bernat I. In 1151 the Counts of Arnau Miro & Aurea donated the property to the Order of Hospitalier monks. During this period vineyards were planted and cisterns for fermentation, using the principles of gravity, were carved out of the rocks – even today these remain in very good condition. The monks remained on the property until at least 1752.

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The property is about 95 hectares * (235 acres) though a large part of it is forested. 23 hectares (57 acres) have been planted to a high density with 5,500 to 7,700 vines per hectare. In addition to the Pinot Noir and Riesling varieties, Castell d’Encus vineyards are growing Albariño, Sauvignon Blanc y Roussanne, Syrah, Carignan, Grenache noir, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot varieties. All have been planted with low yield rootstocks and clones. As part of the environmental philosophy, they do not use any herbicides, insecticides or fungicides, except those used in organic viticulture. To maximize energy efficiency, the winery will be the first to use heat exchange equipment with geothermic technology. The winery has been designed to run using gravity on all the grape movements – using the most advanced technology.

 

95 to go!

DG Viticultors, Freegull in Catalunya

258/365 – Catalonia – Without D.O. – Torelles de Foix – DG Viticultors – Cinclus 2008

Freegull……..,

Cinclus_08Cinclus 2008, 60% Chardonnay and 40% Albariño

Bright and clear, yellow gold colour with pale edges. The nose gives of fine scents of sweet fruit, grapefruit, creamy notes and pastries. Secondary follows suit with hints of tropical fruit and stone fruit, pineapple, peach. Lovely display of fruity aromas. Great, sweet entry with a good development of aromas. Balanced acidity, citrus feel throughout and a nice sweet and long after taste. The finish clings with intensity. Both varieties have been hand harvested. The fermentation of the Chardonnay takes place in new French oak barrels (400l). Albariño: fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks, under controlled temperature conditions set to 15ºC.

DG Viti

The history of DG Viticultors is intimately intertwined with the history of the land and people of Mas Fonoll and Sapera in the wine country of Alt Penedes. The story began in 1991 when Jaime Doménech Trinchant, who believed in the prospects of growing grapevines on a hard land of extreme climate, endeavoured to plant the first vinyards. His son, Santiago Domenech Garay, gave continuity to this endeavour by devoting time to transform this land into a vinyard of extraordinary appeal. Nowadays, Pedro Domènech and Antonio García, shouldered by their family and the effort of their whole team, are the ones who are further developing this beautiful landscape and producing highly appreciated wines.

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The vineyards of Mas Fonoll and Mas Sapera are located within the area of Pontons, a small village in the Alt Penedes, in the province of Barcelona. Mas Fonoll and Mas Sapera are two mountain properties at altitudes between 650 and 850 meters above sea level. The area of Sapera extends alongside a small valley at the foot of the cliff upon which Mas Fonoll lies. Together they make up some 54ha of vineyard in a total property of over 200 ha. Of the 54ha Sapera occupies 14ha, and Mas Fonoll 40ha.

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The grape varieties grown at Mas Fonoll are Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Albariño, Incroccio Manzoni and Gewürztraminer. The Sapera covers Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Albariño and Loureiro. The soils are all of loam-clay structure, each different lot with varying proportions of stone or gravel. As a whole the soil is poor and shallow and abundant in clay. The climate is cold which delays the germination of the plants and favours late maturity.

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

126 to go!

Celler Cara Nord, Lush Life in D.O. Conca de Babera

214/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Conca de Barbera – El Vilosell – Celler Cara Nord – Cara Nord 2012

Lush Life……..,

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Cara Nord 2012, 40% Macabeu, 40% Chardonnay and 20% Albariño

Lovely bright and clean as a whistle. Pale yellow colour with thin slow flowing tears. Took a while to get the nose going, as it was quite closed. Citrus and white fruit with pleasant herbal notes. Grapefruit, lemon zest, some pear, Mediterranean forest herbs. Secondary offer aniseed and mineral. Closes on a spicy note, which carries onto the palate. A nice entry, smooth creaminess and good acidity, intense citrus (grapefruit) and slightly savoury white fruit, some bitter notes and good freshness, fine structure, shows a soft minerality and medium persistence. Medium-long finish and after taste of citrus. Good focus and length. Should be enjoyed over the years to come.

The Mountains

Celler Cara Nord is located close to the Serra de Prades mountains and owes its name Cara Nord (north face in Catalan) due to its location in this part of the mountain. This is a steep and hilly landscape, surrounded by high peaks and forests of oak in the Natural Park of the Prades Mountains and Natural Park of the Poblet Forest. An area that has been nationally classified as an area of Geological Interest. Poor earth with slate, clay and limestone with rocky outcrops, cliffs and rugged mountains. The climate is Continental-Mediterranean with cool nights that allow the vines to rest. This delays the accumulation of sugars, preserves acidity and helps in the creation of aromas.

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Cara Nord was created by 3 people, joined for more than 20 years by their friendship and their passion for wine: Tomas Cusine, Xavier Cepero and Eric Solomon. They had many years of experience in the wine industry, and in March 2012 they decided to start a winemaking project together. They all had been attracted to the majesty of the North Face of the Sierra de Prades and its magnificent climate, land and history of quality wine making.

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From experience they knew the potential of the grapes that grow in the  Prades Mountains when it came to making good wines: the excellence seen in the DOQ Priorat, the reliability of D.O. Montsant, and the creativity of the D.O. Costers del Segre all originate from the same mountain range. Three Denominations of Origin located on a single mountain, all producing remarkable results. In reality, however, this interest lay particularly in the fourth D.O. of the Prades Mountains.

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This area was the Denomination of Origin Conca de Barbera, which itself has a long tradition in wine making and still has great potential in the world of small wineries and micro-elaborations. In 2012 they felt the call of “Mountain Viticulture” and threw themselves wholeheartedly into the Cara Nord project, aiming to: Vinify grapes from vines planted at altitude on the North Face of the Prades Mountains. Starting with the vineyard and with their small winery located within the historic Monastery of Poblet, in March 2012 they embarked on this great wine-making adventure.

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Viticulture up to 800m above sea level, as is the case at Cara Nord, takes place in a very particular and demanding geographical environment that poses constant challenges. But Tomas, Xavier and Eric are convinced that vineyards grown on rocky land, in unpolluted air, and surrounded by untouched biodiversity, will result in the creation of original wines with unique organolèptic qualities.

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They have opted for a mountain viticulture with vineyards at about 800 meters above sea level. And in Prades, per 100 m altitude, the temperature falls with about 0.65 º C, and the ultraviolet radiation increases 4% for every 250 meters. Moreover, this area has an average of 330 sunny days a year. Furthermore, the vines suffer water stress allowing them to concentrate flavor, aroma and color in an extraordinary way and also fungal growth is rare.

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Cara Nord is working with varieties like Grenache, Syrah, Garrut, Macabeo, Chardonnay and Albarino adapted to the landscape of the area. The Macabeo vines are very old, about 80 years. The rest were planted about 15 years ago. In addition, all the grapes that constitute Cara Nord are grown without irrigation to promote the intensity of the wine that comes from grapes harvested in its most optimal time. They  have no fixed rules in enology and each vintage should start over with new weather, new grapes and a new human factor. Exciting times ahead!

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167 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle