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!

Castell d’Encus, In The Stone in D.O. Costers del Segre

194/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Costers del Segre – Talarn – Castell d’Encus – Acusp 2010

In The Stone……,

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….., in the stone you’ll find the meaning. Never, never my darling, you’ll be alone, true love is written in the stone. Making wine in large stone vats out in the nature, what does that bring to the wine? If one doesn’t know about it, it might taste just like any other good red wine. However, once you have been told this is the case, off course your mind tells you there’s more to it, than simply being a wine. Let me introduce Encus, where love is written in the stone!

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Acusp 2010, 100% Pinot Noir

This wine has neither been filtered nor stabilized and I would recommend decanting for at least half an hour. Dark garnet with a medium width rim. The nose uncovers herbaceous aromas, spicy red fruits, strawberries and raspberries, with aeration some more mature and complex nuances appear. Some floral notes of jasmine. The palate is thin, sweet, somewhat sparing in fruitiness. The after taste is medium long and leaves a pleasant taste in the mouth, making me want more.

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Wine making here is all about high altitude and fermentation in stone. The origin of Castell d’Encus stems from the impact the location had on Raul Bobet in 2001 while he was looking for land that could reduce the effects of climate change on vineyards around the Catalan Pyrenees. If you think you’ve heard the name Bobet before, you’re right. Rauls Priorat project is the one of Ferrer Bobet, which is covered here.

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Back to Encus. 23 of the 95ha in the property have been planted with high density varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Petit Verdot, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Semillon and Albariño. The rest of the land remains as a forest. The intention is to produce a limited number of bottles (6000 cases or less) exclusively from the fruit of their own vineyards.

Castell d'Encus Vineyards

The elevation of the property (850-1000 meters), the excellent sun exposure and large wooded area around it, along with its long history make the place look privileged and magical. The farm has an old chapel and fermenting grapes vats carved into the rocks by the monks of the Hospitaller Order (twelfth century). The lands are generally calcareous with low organic matter content, which together with the continental climate and high thermal contrast between day and night, allows to obtain wines of high quality.

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Harvesting is done manually and in small boxes of 10kg. The wine is fermented in different materials: wooden vats and vats of stainless steel and natural stone. With these three materials wines get very different tones and shades and great aromatic complexity. Because of its medieval aspect, the farm has a large number of fermentation vats carved in stone that work by gravity. After passing a few initial tests they are being reused for fermentation and play an important part  for both the red and white wines. In the case of the Quest wine the whole fermentation process takes place in these stone vats. Believing in preserving the environment they do not use any herbicides, insecticides or fungicides, except those permitted in organic agriculture.

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The winery was the first to use cold/heat transfer processes of geothermal energy in all its processes in an effort to reduce energy consumption and environmental impact. The winery is also designed to function by gravity in all its processes and has the most advanced winemaking technology.

186 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle