Clos i Terrasses, I’ll Be Home For Christmas in DOQ Priorat

380/365 – Catalonia – DOQ Priorat – Gratallops – Clos i Terrasses – Laurel 2012

I’ll Be Home For Christmas……….,

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Laurel 2012, Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha and Syrah

Dark cherry color with cardinal red reflections. Clean and bright, abundant tears. High intensity nose, expressive, full, concentrated and enjoyable. Ripe black fruit dominates and gives way to floral notes, spicy, toasted (which after a while become roasted) and deep minerals. The palate has a powerful entrance with a lot of volume. It is a fleshy red wine, with great weight deriving from the fruit, tasty, unctuous step, with excellent acidity and ripe tannic sensation. Balanced, long finish and very persistent. Laurel 2012 comes from the small winery Clos i Terrasses, led by Daphne Glorian, creator of the legendary and excellent Clos Erasmus. Laurel 2010 is a blend of Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, aged for 15 months in second year barrels, in which the Clos Erasmus was aged. Recommend decanting about two hours. Another true Super Catalan!

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This fantastic creation by Daphne Glorian takes its name from the Laurel tree, the Bau Laurel, which is present all over the Catalan countryside and certainly one of the major Mediterranean herbs. Laurus Nobilis is an aromatic evergreen tree or large shrub with green, glossy leaves, native to the Mediterranean region. It is one of the plants used for bay leaf seasoning in cooking. It is known as bay laurel, sweet bay, bay tree (esp. United Kingdom), true laurel, Grecian laurel, laurel tree or simply laurel. Laurus Nobilis figures prominently in classical Greek, Roman, and Biblical culture.

laurus_nobilis*Worldwide, many other kinds of plants in diverse families are also called “bay” or “laurel”, generally due to similarity of foliage or aroma to Laurus nobilis, and the full name is used for the California bay laurel (Umbellularia), also in the family Lauraceae. Laurus nobilis is a widespread relic of the laurel forests that originally covered much of the Mediterranean Basin when the climate of the region was more humid. With the drying of the Mediterranean during the Pliocene era, the laurel forests gradually retreated, and were replaced by the more drought-tolerant sclerophyll plant communities familiar today. Most of the last remaining laurel forests around the Mediterranean are believed to have disappeared approximately ten thousand years ago, although some remnants still persist in the mountains of southern Turkey, northern Syria, southern Spain, north-central Portugal, northern Morocco, Canary Islands and in Madeira.

* Source – Wikipedia

5 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

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Maius Viticultors, What’s New in DOQ Priorat

378/365 – Catalonia – DOQ Priorat – La Morera de Montsant – Maius Viticultors – Maius Assemblage 2011

What’s New………,

maius11_174x241Maius Assemblage 2011, 65% Garnacha, 20% Cariñena and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon

Brilliant surface, a cherry red color with violet tones. Clean, bright, intense with high layer. The smell of ripe red fruit stands out together with the subtlety of wood, spices and toast. Aromas of high intensity. Stresses intense red and black fruit juice, light floral notes, spicy aromas, subtle and refreshing balsamic feel. The wine provides an elegant entry, following a challenge with volume, it presents a journey marked by spectacular soft and fleshy taste. It is a concentrated red wine, fleshy, subtle and elegant. Long, fruity and persistent finish. A must buy wine, especially when it comes to price, quality and pleasure!

The grapes were harvested by hand and brought into the winery in small cases of 15 kilograms. The Garnacha grapes were harvested during the first week of October, the Cariñena and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes were harvested during the second week of October. After crushing and destemming, the grapes were placed in stainless steel deposits for pre-fermentation at 14 degrees Celsius for 3 days to accentuate the aromatic expression before proceeding to the fermentation. The alcoholic fermentation took place at a temperature of maximum 26 degrees Celsius. The bleeding of the partially fermented must took place after aproximately 10 days. A good maceration permitted to extract a good dosis of tannin structure as well as anthocyanins. The wine received daily pigeage plus two remountings using a pump. About 20% of the wine was aged for 8 months in wooden barrels and then mixed with the other 80% of the wine. Subsequent aging in stainless steel deposits before bottling.

Maius ViticultorsThe winery of Maius Viticultors is located at the site called “Barranc de la Bruixa” which means Cliff of the Witch, in the municipality of La Morera de Montsant in the DOQ Priorat. The property is south oriented, the soil is a mixture of calcareous stone, gravel, rocks and of course licorella. The vineyard is composed by low yielding old vines, narrow trunks and elevated circus which need less irrigation and gives a very special character to the wine. In the very middle of the location lays the cellar, integrated in the environment, working with solar energy and rainwater. 85% of the property is underground so this helps to stabilize the interior temperature, keeping it at 15º. The wooden doors, concrete walls and flat cover made of stone, are all materials that will age nicely and they are fully integrated in the landscape.

7 to go!

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Mas Doix, This Is The Life in DOQ Priorat

377/365 – Catalonia – DOQ Priorat – Poboleda – Celler Mas Doix – Salanques 2006

This Is The Life……..,

md_331706_535aaa5d7a8112b2394740a4b0d16210Salanques 2006, 65% Garnacha, 20% Cariñena, remaining 15% is a mix of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot

Cherry red color with garnet rim and dense tears that stains the glass. Medium-high layers. Delicate aromas of red fruit, cherries, spices, licorella and pepper. As secondary there was toast, dairy notes, some licorice and balsamic. Marked minerality and hints of herbs with a background of black fruit. The palate has a fresh entry with good body, silky tannins, good acidity and a fairly persistent aftertaste with hints of fruit jam and minerality. WOW, what a delicious wine!

Heaven, I’m in heaven……, how can I not be, true enough that wine is not always wine but sometimes, like today, it is so much more. When it chooses to transmit a feeling that elevates you to heaven, you know it’s something above a red colored beverage, made from grapes!

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But the again, who brings pizza to a wine tasting? I’ll tell you who and let me rewrite that, not pizza, Catalan coca! Something different, offering delicious produces on a owen baked dough. Pizza? Call it what you wish, I want more! Valenti Llagostera, wine maker and owner of Mas Doix starts us of with the wine tasting of the younger wines together with coca. He is slightly late as he had to stop at the local coca-place to pick up the two versions of coca, available this day.

Valenti and two friends in the vineyards, the Montsant mountain in the background!

After a well needed breakfast intake of, wine and coca we continue to the vineyards, which are amongst the oldest in the Priorat. When in Rome….

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Later, we would continue to try the aged reds at a local restaurant, Porta del Priorat, just outside the village of Poboleda, to enjoy hearty stews as that is what’s considered to accompany the wines best. And the Coca (pizza), yes I will have that again and yes it works well with the wine!

The barrel room at Mas Doix!

Five generations of the owners’ family have had ties with viticulture and wine making, Mas Doix is not the new kid on the block! But it was only in 1998 that Josep María Doix and his cousins, Ramón and Valentí Llagostera, decided to create the bodega while harvesting grapes in centuries-old vineyards.

The wine graveyard at Mas Doix, all the vintages produced. Have to come back one dark night.....

With this effort, the new era of the family tradition was reborn, taking up the hard to follow accomplishments from the 19th century when the wines made by Jaume Extrems Doix won Gold and Silver medals in Barcelona and in Paris during the World Fairs in the 1870s.

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The Phylloxera plague dealt a severe blow to the business, but staring the evil bug in the eye, the family was able to quickly replant the vineyards with native rootstock of Garnacha and Carinena.

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The grapes were taken to the Poboleda co-operative and made into wine up until 1999 when the new bodega’s first vintage was released. Currently, the family members, who are all very aware as well as extremely proud of their inheritance, divide their time between vineyard husbandry, winemaking and marketing.

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Mas Doix is still a small and modest bodega, whose philosophy is based on the utmost respect for the region’s winemaking tradition, and whose aim is to transmit the true essence of Priorat via its wines.

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The vineyards are located at 350 to 600 metres above sea-level, unfold at the foot of the sierra del Montsant on steep slopes with poor slate soils (called locally ‘llicorella’) in a region dominated by dry, rigorous microclimates.

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However, their location also benefits from the fresh north-westerly breeze, which lowers temperatures and gives rise to a slower ripening process and, in turn, to a late harvest. Low-yield vines lead to limited production, yet the wines made at the bodega are fresh, balanced and elegant, with the subtle mineral charge typical of DOQ Priorat.

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Valentí Llagostera explains that: “They are distinguished wines, made to be enjoyed, to share with friends and serve as a starting point for good conversation – wines which are an essential part of a certain way of life”.

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The lunch was memorable but the wines were heavenly and never to be forgotten. Got to try the Les Crestes 2009, the Salanques 2006 and the Mas Doix 2008. Each with its own personality, and if they were to be tried separately, without comparing them to each other, all would have superlatives written all over them.

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8 to go!

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Celler Jaumandreu, Take A Chance On Me in D.O. Pla de Bages

374/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Pla de Bages – Fonollosa – Celler Jaumandreu – Més Que Paraules Negre 2012

Take A Chance On Me……..,

Mes Que ParaulesMés Que Paraules Negre 2012, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Sumoll

Intense dark cherry color with a bright garnet rim and violet reflections. High layers. Very bright and abundant tears. Good intensity with a wide range of aromas: lots of red fruit, somewhat jammy, ripe wild berries and floral fragrances, especially violet stands out. When opened, sweet spices appear together with balsamic and dairy. A touch of resin and thee secondaries reveal cinnamon, bitter cocoa and fresh scent of tobacco. It goes on and on. Elegant mineral background. Good entry, powerful and warm. Tasty, full of fruit, creamy toast and spices. Balanced acidity providing a good freshness. Sweetish and integrated tannins. Long and persistent presence balanced with fruit and toast. This is a killer wine!

More than words…..,

…., ¨mes que paraules¨ in Catalan, is a wine by Jaumandreu. And indeed no words are needed, not only for this wine in particular, but in many instances, for many wines out there. Sometimes it’s just enough to sit there, with a nice glass of wine in hand, listen to a good song and enjoy. More than words!. You don’t have to say you love me, cause I already know. Hold me close, don’t ever let me go!

Jaumandreu is a surname with great tradition within wine making of this region. From the twelfth century, the finca (estate) of Jaumandreu, in the D.O. Pla de Bages, has created history and bottled it with excellent results, even though the history in this case is a brief one. Several different generations of professionals working together in magnificent conditions offered by this land for cultivation of vineyards.

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The estate includes a traditional Catalan farmhouse set in a unique environment, among gentle hills, where silence reigns and you can get lost in knowing that this is, in more ways than one, an unique experience. Sometimes, this is all it takes to fall in love with a region, a winery or a wine.

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The winery was founded in 2004 by a multidisciplinary team of professionals in food, marketing, communication and food production, carrying out a project that has already give its first offshoots, wines being accomplished, reflecting their personality but also aesthetics with a sleek and attractive image that refers to the elements of nature that surrounds the property.

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The Jaumandreu project has, within the Pla de Bages, recovered 60 hectares of vineyards with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and local Picapoll. The philosophy is forward thinking, trying to incorporate the best of what the wine world as a whole has to offer. Authenticity, creativity, passion and working together with a modern mindset in this project, that is Jaumandreu!

S6300227-111 to go!

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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!

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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!

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Celler Sao del Coster, O Morro Nao Tem Vez in DOQ Priorat

363/365 – Catalonia – DOQ Priorat – Gratallops – Sao del Costers – ¨S¨ 2013

O Morro Nao Tem Vez………,

vino-s-sao-del-coster¨S¨ 2013, Garnacha, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah

Cherry red color with garnet rim. The nose is equilibrated, has loads of fruit, ripe red fruit, light floral and herbaceous notes. Balsamic and some licorice, light spice with medium mineral character. The palate is powerful, but very cool, is not a typical Priorat, has some warmth, the fruit in the nose has a strong presence, pronounced tannins but well polished, just hit the market but it will be even more enjoyable in a few years. Few wines from Priorat provide so much pleasure for such small buck.

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The past weekend has been full, over the brim, with wine tastings and visits to cellars which I have intended to visit for some time now. Finally the time was ripe and what’s better than visiting a winery? Visiting a winery together with family! Over the days to come you’ll get to know where I have been the past few days. Sao del Coster was visited on Saturday morning. We met with Michi Negron from the winery and she took us around the vineyards, the cellar with a tasting of the ¨S¨, Terram, 04 and the ¨Carignena¨. Got to taste some of the new brews, still in the barrels and the new Pim Pam Poom. The last edition Pim Pam Poom was tasted earlier this year and you can read about it here. After tha tasting we continued to the Quinoa restaurant in Falset, for a much needed lunch! A great day with great people and the perfect host in Michi! Check out the photos here!

22 to go!

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