Winery Herencia Altes, Children Of The Revolution in D.O. Terra Alta

346/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Terra Alta – Batea – Herencia Altes Winery – Herencia Altes Garnatxa Blanca 2011

Children Of The Revolution………,

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!

On rare occasions do I write about the labels...., you'll have to agree that this one is a masterpiece! Interpret as you wish.

Herencia Altes Garnatxa Negra 2012

Deep ruby to purple colour. Primary nose very closed, not displaying much at first. After a while, the first impression is that of artificial aromas, perfume and strawberry caramels, pure candy. Aromas of under-brush, black cherries and raspberries. In the mouth, however, it gets going from entry. Very lively fruit, but without exaggeration, yielding a wine of medium body, creamy, silky and fills the mouth and fascinates. Beautiful fresh plums, ripe strawberries, tobacco, licorice, vanilla pod, bitter chocolate. One more of my Super Catalans. At this price and with this quality, you should buy boxes!

Nuria

The second wine of the day is a custom cuvee made for wine importer Eric Solomon by proprietor Nuria Altes. It is 100% garnaxta negra (grenache) raised on its lees in concrete vats.  The fruit is mix of very old garnaxta bush vines, which is balanced by the youthful intensity of younger vine fruit.

Herencia-Altes-Barrels

If Herencia Altès is one thing only, it is quality throughout! But it is not only one thing, it has so much more to offer, and I for one am going to keep my eyes open for the coming wines from this fine tuned cellar in Terra Alta. This is a well thought through project long time in the making. For generations Nuria Altes and her family have been grape growers, with vineyards dispersed around the village of Batea. Nuria has decided to give these grapes their own personality making limited numbers of the seven wines they produce.

HERENCIA_ALTES.LEstel.labelWhile Terra Alta is not yet a well-known region (but it is getting there) – tucked away in the south-eastern corner of Catalonia it borders Aragón and Valencia – it is one of the largest areas in Catalonia under vine. Built upon Roman and Moorish foundations it preserves a beautiful historical center and its grand church is testament to its past glories. In terms of viticulture, it is the most important village in Terra Alta accounting for over 50% of its entire grape production. Most of the grapes are sold to cooperatives or large companies outside the region. Herencia Altes is Nuria Altes’ dream to put Terra Alta on the map and show the true quality of these wonderful old vines.

The artwork on each of the labels reminds Nuria of her childhood days, playing amongst the vines.

41 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

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Piñol Winery, This Is Halloween in D.O. Terra Alta

326/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Terra Alta – Batea – Piñol Winery of Terra Alta – Raig Raïm Red 2011

 

This Is Halloween……..,

….., or is it? Halloween is celebrated in Catalonia, and even though the children go trick or treating and make Jack O’Lanterns etc. the Catalans have their own tradition as well, eating Chestnuts in amazing quantities. It is known as The Castanyada, celebrated in Catalonia and Galicia respectively, mainly on All Saints’ Day. Like Halloween or the Celtic Samhain, its origins are in an ancient ritual festival of the dead. 

castanyada218381From Wikipedia

“In Catalonia consists of a meal of chestnuts, panellets, sweet potato and preserved fruits, typically with moscatell to drink. Around the time of this celebration, it is common for street vendors to sell hot toasted chestnuts wrapped in newspaper. In many places, confectioners often organise raffles of chestnuts and preserved fruit.

It seems that the tradition of eating these foods comes from the fact that during All Saints’ night, the night before All Souls’ Day in the Christian tradition, bell ringers would ring bells in commemoration of the dead into the early morning. Friends and relatives would help with this task, and everyone would eat these foods for sustenance.

CastanyeraAntigaOther versions of the story state that the Castanyada originates at the end of the 18th century and comes from the old funeral meals, where other foods, such as vegetables and dried fruit were not served. The meal had the symbolic significance of a communion with the souls of the departed: while the chestnuts were roasting, prayers would be said for the person who had just died. The festival is usually depicted with the figure of a castanyera: an old lady, dressed in peasant’s clothing and wearing a headscarf, sat behind a table, roasting chestnuts for street sale. In recent years, the Castanyada has become a revetlla of All Saints and is celebrated in the home and community. It is the first of the four main school festivals, alongside Christmas, Carnestoltes and St George’s Day, without reference to ritual or commemoration of the dead.

Raig Raïm Red 2008Raig Raïm Red 2008, 55% Garnatxa, 20% Syrah, 15% Cariñena and 10% Merlot

Cherry red color, bluish hues. Clean and bright. Medium-high layer. Lovely blend from Terra Alta. Primary nose of mature red berries, Mediterranean herbs and some underbrush. It is a well defined wine with notes of light toast, smoky aromas and some floral elements, keeping it simple and really pleasant. Soft entry, with a silky and fresh feel, adding nice depth to the whole experience. Good balance, good acidity and a medium to long finish, a bit too sweet for my taste but certainly well made. Price/quality is excellent!

Street view in Batea

When visiting the different D.Os of catalonia it is hugely important to be organized. As they are quite spread out, I always try to book at least two or more wineries during the same trip. When I visited Terra Alta the last time I managed to visit Altavins winery in Batea and at the same time todays entry. The article about Altavins got a bit specific and I got into the details of Terra Alta, so if you want to know more about Terra Alta, you should read the “body and soul” article.

mapa_Terra_alta

The Terra Alta is more know for the wonderful whites they produce and this too has been covered, when I wrote about the Terra Alta D.O. tasting in Falset at Hotel-Hostal Sport. This time I decided to go for two reds, reason being……, they also, in some cases, manage to create amazing reds!

Vineyards of Celler Pinol

Now don’t just continue reading….., it is after all Friday evening and Halloween, so you should open a nice bottle of wine, to get into the sentiment of the story. By the time you have finished your bottle, my article will be so well written, you will be thinking Hemingway is alive. Me? I’m enjoying a red, with rhythm, from Priorat! Very red and very tasty! Cheers!

celler-pinol-vinos-terra-alta-catalunya_11

Terra Alta is quite unknown, but certainly know for wines of great value! Keep this in mind, Terra Alta is going to be discovered as Columbus discovered India! The Celler Piñol exports 85% of its production to 25 countries! Someone beat Columbus, and found the holy grail but it is not to late. Once here, staying at the B&B of the winery, is the right way to enjoy the hospitality of the family.

celler-pinol-vinos-terra-alta-catalunya_2

Being that this was the first winery in Terra Alta to offer wine tourism it can’t go wrong. Celler Piñol operates four fully-equipped apartments, one that includes a large Jacuzzi in which you can enjoy vinotherapy, all of them perfect for soaking up the wine culture and an unforgettable experience.

terraalta-1
The most southern region of Catalonia is characterised by a sprinkling of small towns and pockets of great beauty, retaining a charmingly medieval appearance. The countryside also has a timeless constancy, with dramatic mountains providing a sharp contrast to the plains, where crops of ancient Mediterranean stock (vines, almonds, olives) dot the landscape, as they have done throughout generations.

images-11

Piñol L’Avi Arrufi 2007, Garnacha (30%), Cariñena (60%) and Syrah (10%)

This is a well made wine and i love the blend, where the Cariñena gets to carry the wine! The color is dark cherry to ruby, almost opaque. The nose contains black fruit with high complexity and toasty notes. Secondary gives off currant, plums and some spicy, peppery indications. On the palate I got a hint of cacao and slight leather. It is full bodied with good acidity and some balsamic notes. Powerful, well structured and medium ling aftertaste.

62 to go!

 

 

The Winery of Altavins, Body and Soul in D.O. Terra Alta

304/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Terra Alta – Batea – Altavins Viticultors – ILERCAVÒNIA 2013

Body and Soul………,

ilercavoniaILERCAVÒNIA 2013, 100% Garnacha Blanca/White Grenache

White wine with a golden yellow hue and greenish tones. Complex aromas reminiscent of pineapple and mango, with certain notes of apple and apricotUnctuous, long and persistent on the palate. The finish culminates in floral and fresh mint aromas. The land we now inhabit has known other names and other cultures. The “Ilercavones” (the Iberians who lived in the Terra Alta and the surrounding areas from the 6th to the 1st century BC, and who named them), had a culture which left its unmistakable mark on the land – and can still be seen today, a testament to a productive and prosperous past.

Garnacha Blanca

Garnacha Blanca

D.O. = Designation of Origin/Denomination of Origin.

The quality and characteristics are essentially or exclusively due to its geographical origin, with the inherent human and cultural factors. It possesses a certain quality, reputation or other specific characteristics attributable to its geographical origin. In addition to the above, the following must also apply. 100% of the grapes come exclusively from the geographical production area. The production takes place within the same area and distillation is obtained from grape varieties belonging to Vitis Vinifiera.

Wines bearing the DO distinction are prestigious Spanish wines produced in a demarcated production area and are made according to parameters governing quality and type. Each DO must be regulated by a Governing Body (Consejo Regulador) that is responsible for ensuring the use of grapes of the authorized varieties, and compliance with parameters governing production per hectare, approved methods of wine making and ageing times.

In order for wines to be given Denomination of Origin status, the production area is required to have been recognized over at least the previous five years as a region producing quality wines with a geographical indication. Catalonia has 12 DO:s! That is more than any other wine making area of Spain. And now you know why I live and work in Catalonia! With time, all of them are going to be covered in more detail. For now I am just going to focus on the chosen one, the D.O. Terra Alta.

 D.O. Terra Alta is located in the very southwest of Catalonia, as far away from Barcelona as one can travel without exiting the region.
Terra Alta
Being one of the most picturesque and beautiful nature areas of Catalonia, the great Picasso had his field days here and many of his paintings feature scenes from these lands. Historically, because of being very isolated, this area traditionally only made wine for local consumption and has only recently started to produce modern Mediterranean style wines. During the Roman times, the road going from Zaragoza to Tortosa passed through the area. This is probably when grape growing was first introduced. In the Middle Ages, the Knights Templar planted vines, but the geographical distance to markets and to ports meant that a lot of vineyards were converted to olive groves instead.

Terra Alta vineyards

During the 19th century the vinos rancios (rancid wines) from Terra Alta, such as “Amber Blanc” attained great fame. However, the area was devastated by the outbreak of the phylloxera. The current vineyards were replanted between 1920 and 1950, the cooperatives played a pivotal role.

The varietals authorized in Terral Alta, both traditional and of foreign origin are the following.

White grapes: Garnacha blanca, Parellada, Macabeo, Moscatel and Chardonnay (experimentally, Chenin blanc, Sauvignon blanc and Marselan).

Red grapes: Carignan, Grenache, Garnacha Peluda, Morenillo, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Tempranillo.

Body and Soul. D.O. Terra Alta

D.O. Terra Alta acquired official status in 1982 and there are currently 8,200 ha covered, with 1,800 grape growers and 42 wineries registered.

One of the wineries is Altavins in Batea. The winery is a project set up in 2001 by Jordi Casado and Joan Bautista Arrufi i Pieg. With 120.000 bottles produced each year it is to be considered small but then again I have visited wineries that only make 5.000 a year. I guess it is highly relative. The vineyards are located at 350 and 550 m above sea level, characterized by plains, high plateaus and valleys.

Joan Bautista Arrufi and Jordi Casado

It enjoys a dry Mediterranean climate with little rain of up to 450 ml per year. The sunlight is plentiful, and is influenced by two prevailing winds – the Cierzo, which arrives from the Ebro Valley, and the “Garbi” or sea wind. Due to the very small amounts of rain, there is hardly any fungal disease, allowing for more sustainable practices, and the Cierzo (which is blowing throughout September) allows the grapes to ripen naturally on the vine.

The nature of the soil provides the grapes with an exceptionally high concentration of minerals, and the considerable temperature changes between night and day while the grapes are ripening maximises the aromas and flavours of the varietals. The wines produced include whites made from White Garnacha grapes, which are typical of the Terra Alta and grown in vineyards which are at least 45 years old. Red wines are made from Cariñena and Black Garnacha grapes, from vineyards established at least 60 years ago. The wines are fruity, with finesse and elegance in-bodied in them by the wooden casks in which they are stored.

Traditional, yes! But even though the Cariñena and Garnacha are the primary grapes planted by Joan, he still sees the importance of working with international varietals, such as Chardonnay and Syrah, leading him to create great wines with exceptional results. If the wineries in Priorat are small, this one is petite. A garage, no bigger than our first flat in Barcelona. And to be able to churn out 120.ooo and some bottles, takes both passion and craftsmanship. A true wine lover should peel his or hers ears to the future tunes of this young, new generation Spanish, wine maker. “Alta Vins” meaning “Top Wines,” refers to both the exceptional quality of his wines, as well as the altitude. With hills well over 400 meters, his vines have a long ripening cycle, and therefore, take on significant complexity.

Vineyard in Tera Alta

Almodi Negre is another cool wine made by Altavins, 100% Garnacha Borruda (Yes, Garnacha Peluda/Garnatxa Pilosa is the same varietal, Hairy Grenache). Garnacha Peluda is a varietal that grows in the regions of Aragon and Catalonia in Spain. It produces clusters of medium sized grapes which are rather compact. The grapes are oval with medium thick skin and covered with a villus from which it takes its name. The Garnacha Peluda produces wines of both high quality but also of high alcohol level. As the fruit notes are extensive in this grape, it has been used for blends traditionally. Not many producers use it for monovarietals, although this is changing in Catalonia.

Garnacha Peluda

Altavins produce a range of wines, both red and white out of which it is difficult to find a favorite, I can drink them all and as I love wine, I’ll refrain from labeling any of them being better than the other!

The vineyards of Altavins in the Terra Alta

 

80 to go!

 

Softly, As In A Mornings Sunrise in Catalonia!

248/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Terra Alta – Batea – Celler Piñol –Mather Teresina 2008

Softly, As In A Mornings Sunrise…………..,

Mather 2008

Mather Terasina 2008Mather Teresina 2008, 40% Garnacha Negra, 30% Cariñena and 30% Morenillo

Celler Piñol produces wine in the wonderful D.O. of Terra Alta in your favourite new wine destination, Catalonia! Amongst others they make the Mather Terasina, one more Catalan Wine to add to my list of Super Catalans! Enjoy! This is Celler Piñols premiere wine with a limited production of 7,750 bottles. Created from the best of the 2008 vintage, it has a dark, intense red colour that looks stunning in the glass. A complex, aromatic, spicy and fleshy wine, with well rounded tannins, a hint of blackberry and a subtle smoky finish. This is a silky, stylish, full bodied wine; elegant and powerful and with a lingering aftertaste. The perfect balance of ripe fruit and French oak. Now, let’s have another glass!

As you might have well noticed, this blog is all about and only covering wine from Catalonia. Wine, in all forms and shapes, is a considerable part of my life. However, I like to cover the regions in which I work and live. Back to the basics!

Catalan Wine 365 New1

Wine in Catalonia is ancient! The Ancient Greeks, Romans and the Carthusian monks, they have all been here, must be for a reason! It is a leading wine producing land, with exquisite reds, scrumptious rosés and whites which you can drink forever, as well as a multitude of sweet wines. Not to forget, this is where Cava was born!

San_Hugo_en_el_refectorio_de_los_cartujos

Huge and well know cellars like Freixenet, Codorniu, Raimat and Torres are at the forefront when it comes to Catalan wine, which are covered by 11 appellations (D.O:s) for wine and one exclusively for Cava. The vineyards have always been an irreplaceable part of the Catalan landscape, as well as its culture. Let’s keep it this way!

bg-historia05

The tradition of wine in Catalonia is deeply rooted, in some cases as deep as the vines. Nowadays representing a rising sector, gaining international prestige on a yearly basis. In Priorat, Penedès and Empordà, as well as the other D.O:s, you can find wine that can compete with any wine in the world.

sitges-and-freixenet

Cava is no longer the poor man’s and woman’s Champaign, but a quality product in its own right available all over the world. More than 200 million bottles of Cava attest to this fact, joined by 180 million for wine.

dos_pesetas_mnac310126-000_057152_c.jpg_1306973099

The D.O:s of Catalonia

In number, there are 11 Denominations of Origin, regulating the winemaking for red, white and rosé wines and then the one, exclusively for the production of Cava.

imatge-do-alellaDO Alella: Though the smallest, it is one of the oldest and most unique. It covers a small piece of land between the Mediterranean shore and the coastal mountains, north of Barcelona. It produces quality wines and is famous for its white wines, in which some are considered the best in the world.

catalunya-mapaDO Catalunya: It is a DO that fosters experimentation, as wines can be produced with a great variety of grapes in a wide range of soils. This DO has been growing significantly in the last few years, exporting more than 40 million bottles to more than 100 countries.

concadebarbera

DO Conca de Barberà: It corresponds to a Catalan county with a very old wine tradition, coming from Medieval monasteries in the zone. Since the creation of this DO in 1989, there has been a continuous effort to modernise the cellars and the vineyards. The speciality of this DO is top-quality red wine, which is produced together with white and rosé. Most of these wines use a grape type that is autochthonous from the county, namely Trepat.

costersegre-mapa

DO Costers del Segre: The DO of Lleida and split into the following sub zones: Artesa, Vall del Riu Corb, les Garrigues, Pallars Jussà, Raimat, and Segrià. It employs advanced technology and is famous for its innovation, changing grape varieties and fostering “Ull de Llebre”, Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha, Syrah and Merlot.

do_emporda_1_es

DO Empordà: New and old cellars are easily adapting themselves to new technology trends, changing harvest patterns and restructuring vineyards. This DO is seeing new cellars booming in the Northern coast of Catalonia.

do-montsantDO Montsant: It is the youngest Catalan DO, located in the southern part of Catalonia. Despite this fact, it has achieved a good market positioning. This DO includes the sub zones of South Priorat and some zones in Ribera d’Ebre. The soil has a high percentage of mineral salts, which is one of the main characteristics of this region. The cellars are young and modern, producing a small quantity of wine but of a great quality.

logo_do_penedesDO Penedès: This is probably the most famous wine region within Catalonia. It has powerful cellars, always improving their technology and innovating. It has traditionally been associated with white wines, but in the last years it has also started to produce top quality red wines, which have been internationally recognised.

DOPladeBages_ColorDO Pla de Bages: It is a small DO but that produces quality wines. In the last years, wine producers from this DO have put effort recuperating an autochthonous type of grape: the “picapoll”, which is very small and can be either red or white.

DOQ-Priorat-viticultors-del-priorat-1DO Priorat: In the last 15 years, this DO has lived through a revolution, being recognised worldwide and seeing some of its red wines reaching the highest prices in specialised shops all over the world. The DO has new cellars, young entrepreneurs and experts who all work to maintain this DO among the best of the world. Their wines have a unique strong taste, full of peculiarities.

myegoo_dotarragona_oDO Tarragona: It is the oldest Catalan DO, producing liquor wines of great quality, such as Tarragona Clàssic. In the last years, red-wines have joined their traditional white and rosé wines.

terraaltaDO Terra Alta: Many of the cellars from this DO work as a cooperative. Their wines have a singular taste and are reaching great levels of quality in the last years. Their rosé varieties are very fruity, the white have a low acidity and the red have a round body and a dark colour. Finally, there is one DO that needs to be explained aside, the DO Cava.

D.O.CAVA_DO Cava: This DO is shared with 6 other Autonomous Communities within Spain apart from Catalonia. However, 95% of DO Cava’s production come from Catalonia. More than 200 million bottles are sold each year, a number that grows year by year. Cava is famous all over the world. In the past it was sold as a cheap replacement for Champaign, but in the last years top-quality cava has started to be exported and has become famous for its great quality which is at a much more affordable price than the French Champaign.

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

135 to go!

Casa Mariol, I’ve Heard That Song Before in D.O. Terra Alta

234/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Terra Alta – Batea – Celler Casa Mariol – Vintage Merlot Reserva 24 Mesos

I’ve Heard That Song Before……..,

Casa Mariol_Merlot_24

Vintage Merlot Reserva 24 Mesos

Deep bigarreau cherry red colour with red hues. The nose consist widely of wild forest fruits, bigarreau cherry, ripe fruits and soft notes of vanilla and cacao. It is a well structured wine with a great body and soul. The taste is dry and velvety, medium bodied with a lingering aftertaste. It has been aged for 24 months in American and French oak casks after which it has been allowed to take a well deserved rest in the bottle.

Batea Terra Alta

When you’re born in a beautiful mediaeval village of two thousand inhabitants surrounded by vineyards, in the heart of a family that makes wine, you one day wonder (or reaffirm): I was born to do this. That is surely what various generations that have been living and working in Casa Mariol for over a century must have thought.

Casa Mariol

In Batea, the village in question, vineyards and wine are religion, and Casa Mariol is a home to the pious parishioners. The village’s inhabitants live in houses that were built centuries ago to store wine. They take care of the fields as if these were their gardens, and the celebrations of their patron saint, San Miguel, are postponed so as not to coincide with the grape harvest If we were to compare it with a contemporary example, we might say that Batea is a village where the trending topic is the grapevine, and tweets are taken literally.

opel-blitz-8

When speaking of a company called Casa, terms can be confused. The organisation chart is pure genealogy. As a company, it was born in 1945, founded by José María Vaquer Bes. In his home, they had always made wine, so José María began to sell it using his brand new Opel Blitz car. The Mariol wines from Batea began to reach important markets such as those of Reus and Barcelona, and on the barrels from the city wine merchants it was common to find “Batea” written in chalk, together with the number of José María’s second truck, a Chevrolet with a 77777 number plate which they said was famous in Catalonia.

Casa_Mariol_

In the 60s, the production of wine ceased to be made in Casa, and a modern winery was built. By then, José María’s sons were already grown up and he could count on their help. Josep Vaquer Aguiló, the middle child, not only inherited the name, but also his dedication to the company. In 1971, José María died in a work accident in the middle of the grape harvest. Four months later, Josep married Emilia Llop, from Casa Rams, another family of peasants and winemakers from Batea. With them, a new era would begin at the winery, with Josep taking care of management, and Emilia in charge of production.

Falcon Crest

In the 80s, the Mariols used to watch Falcon Crest on TV, which was a fiction like any other. Their great challenge was to install the first bottling plant of the region in Batea and to begin to make wines for new channels such as the catering trade. With the bottling plant, the first foreign varieties were made, such as Cabernet, Merlot, or Chardonnay. But it wasn’t until the mid 80s that Casa Mariol decided to launch the first varietal Syrah wine aged in Spain.

Casa Mariol moving

In the 90s, the winery expanded and began to commercialise the new bottled wines in their local market -the Costa Dorada and Barcelona-, where Casa Mariol would open their first two shops in 1997. During these years, their facilities expanded, but it wasn’t until the year 2,000 that Casa Mariol opened a new winery exclusively for the reception of grapes and the production of wine.

Bottles CasaMariol

 

The decade starting in the year 2,000 also brought about a new generation to the winery. Josep María and Maria Vaquer Llop, grandchildren of the founder, had just finished their studies in oenology. Josep María would later be in charge of viticulture and oenology, whilst his sister Marta would take care of production. With their children’s help, the Mariol family, almost in its entirety, opened a new bottling plant in Móra la Nova -a pioneer in bottling plants of the region-, which would be key for them to offer quality wine at more competitive prices and therefore begin to export all over Europe.

Yes We Wine Casa-MariolIn 2,007, Marta and Josep María, together with Miguel Angel -the youngest brother and latest addition to the company-, launched JO! Catalonia’s first Verdejo wine, and Casa Mariol’s first experimental product. With this curious product, the Mariols caught the attention of the whole Spanish wine industry, clearly illustrating their company philosophy and pointing to a new wine culture.

Wine bar

For the new millennium, the Mariols have great challenges to meet. Among others, to continue to be a family dedicated to their vineyards and their wine. They have inherited the knowledge for making quality wine at a good price, and have the desire to spread their new wine culture everywhere; theirs is a religious love of wine, of what they do, and of who they are.

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

147 to go!

7 Magnifics, You Go To My Head in D.O Terra Alta

231/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Terra Alta – Batea – 7 Magnifics – Rebels de Batea Blanco 2013

You Go To My Head…….,

Rebels Blanmco

Rebels de Batea Blanco 2013, 100% Garnacha Blanca

A delightful example of Terra Alta Garnacha at its best! White fruit, a fine and perfumed note which highlights the white flowers and lavender, also finding a slight smoky note. It is a wine with creaminess, structure and nerve, citrus and fruit are present and apricot and white peach predominates. Rebels de Batea Blanco is balanced, pleasant and seductive, with fragrant aromas of peach, pear, apple and notes of white flowers and nutmeg that give finesse and elegance. For more than 50 years, generations of winemakers in Terra Alta have struggled against the harsh conditions of climate and soil. Today, when Terra Alta is mentioned, one thing comes to mind, the Garnacha Blanca!

Rebels dos

The winery of 7 Magnifics has yet to be visited but I couldn’t stop myself from posting my tasting notes as I believe that this is a cellar to keep ones eyes on! Many good things are to come from this enthusiastic project in the near future, and I for one, am going to follow its progress closely. At presnet they have launched two wines, of 2013 harvest but the plan is to add five more to the total tally! Exiting times ahead for the 7 Magnifics and for the wineries of Terra Alta!

TerraAlta_21

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

150 to go!

Herencia Altes. Gone to D.O. Terra Alta

207/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Terra Alta – Batea – Herencia Altes – Herencia Altes Garnatxa Negra 2012

Gone…….,

On rare occasions do I write about the labels...., you'll have to agree that this one is a masterpiece! Interpret as you wish.

On rare occasions do I write about the labels…., you’ll have to agree that this one is a masterpiece! Interpret as you wish.

Herencia Altes Garnatxa Negra 2012

Deep ruby to purple colour. Primary nose very closed, not displaying much at first. After a while, the first impression is that of artificial aromas, perfume and strawberry caramels, pure candy. Aromas of under-brush, black cherries and raspberries. In the mouth, however, it gets going from entry. Very lively fruit, but without exaggeration, yielding a wine of medium body, creamy, silky and fills the mouth and fascinates. Beautiful fresh plums, ripe strawberries, tobacco, licorice, vanilla pod, bitter chocolate. One more of my Super Catalans. At this price and with this quality, you should buy boxes!

Nuria

The wine of the day is a custom cuvee made for wine importer Eric Solomon by proprietor Nuria Altes. It is 100% garnaxta negra (grenache) raised on its lees in concrete vats.  The fruit is mix of very old garnaxta bush vines, which is balanced by the youthful intensity of younger vine fruit.

Herencia-Altes-Barrels

If Herencia Altès is one thing only, it is quality throughout! But it is not only one thing, it has so much more to offer, and I for one am going to keep my eyes open for the coming wines from this fine tuned cellar in Terra Alta. This is a well thought through project long time in the making. For generations Nuria Altes and her family have been grape growers, with vineyards dispersed around the village of Batea. Nuria has decided to give these grapes their own personality making limited numbers of the seven wines they produce.

HERENCIA_ALTES.LEstel.labelWhile Terra Alta is not yet a well-known region (but it is getting there) – tucked away in the south-eastern corner of Catalonia it borders Aragón and Valencia – it is one of the largest areas in Catalonia under vine. Built upon Roman and Moorish foundations it preserves a beautiful historical center and its grand church is testament to its past glories. In terms of viticulture, it is the most important village in Terra Alta accounting for over 50% of its entire grape production. Most of the grapes are sold to cooperatives or large companies outside the region. Herencia Altes is Nuria Altes’ dream to put Terra Alta on the map and show the true quality of these wonderful old vines.

The artwork on each of the labels reminds Nuria of her childhood days, playing amongst the vines.

The artwork on each of the labels reminds Nuria of her childhood days, playing amongst the vines.

174 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle