Clos 93, Cant’ Stop in DOQ Priorat

262/365 – Catalonia – DOQ Priorat – El Lloar – Celler Clos 93 – L’Interrogant 2013

Can’t Stop………,

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L’Interrogant 2013, 45% Carinyena, 43% Garnacha and 12% Cabernet Sauvignon

………..addicted to the shindig. Chop top, he says I’m gonna win big. Choose not a life of imitation, choose a bottle of the 2013 Question mark! Look at the new kid on the block, all grown up and, for good or bad, a little more Priorat-like, a little bit more mature. The third vintage is a shining star. How can I not like a wine that shows quality, potential and usefulness!

If this fine product is any kind of indication of what we can expect from Priorat 2013 vintages, I’d say we’re all in for a treat. I did hear, from both wine makers and vintners, that the 2013 harvest was looking promising at the time, but as we all know, it is one thing to predict and another story when it comes to the actual opening and tasting of the wine at hand! This is my first 2013 Priorat that I am trying and I can’t wait to try the rest!

They have used a slightly different blend, but not by much. Added 2% of the Cabernet and reduced the same of the Garnacha. I couldn’t notice, good thin I can read the back label! What I did notice was the fine ruby red colour with cherry red rims, lovely with some nice and dense tears falling trickling slowly down the side of the glass. Wonderful array of sweet red and black fruits, some green pepper and light notes of coffee. On the palate there’s some sweet dark chocolate. The wine is fresh and very tasty, with a nice entrance leading to a long silky travel. Contrast of bitter cocoa and sweet toffee interact with the fleshy and tasty fruit, good acidity gives freshness and liveliness and soft tannins. Long and intense finish that leaves many memories. I am grateful they have managed to keep up the quality but at the same time allowing it an identity of its own, also very happy they have managed to step up the production to 8.000 bottles!

When size doesn't matter, Clos 93!

L’Interrogant is Catalan, meaning question mark. ? = a highly recognizable symbol around the world. This is what they decided to put on the label of their first and, for now, only wine! So very clever! It stands out on the shelves, it is noticed at any tasting and the wine is good! I am very happy to have helped in getting this wine to Sweden!

What was the question?

The Priorat New Age Renaissance took of in 1979 by five wine making veterans! Their project started and evolved in Gratallops in Priorat. The gang of five consists of Rene Barbier, Carles Pastrana, Josep Lluís Pérez, Daphné Glorian and Alvaro Palacios–each built a winery that brought the Priorat to world prominence. Bringing a sleeping wine giant to life. That was only 35 years ago!

The best place to enjoy a glass of L'Interrogant, in the vineyards where it was first born!

Priorat was almost dead as a wine region with only 8 active cellars at the time, most of them cooperatives making bulk wine. Today we count 104 and I believe that figure is growing by the day. They founded the optimism and made it possible for cellars like Clos 93 to exists today. Priorat has a lot to thank these guys for!

Map_Priorat

Gratallops was the village around which they saw the potential of the vineyards and got the ball rolling. During these days there was basically no life in Priorat and certainly not in Gratallops. Most days they would eat, drink and sleep at the Hotel-Hostal Sport in Falset, This was also the breeding ground for their ideas and land purchases. How nice it would be if walls indeed could talk!

A great place to stay when in Priorat!

In and around Gratallops there are nowadays around 22 cellars, in the much smaller village of El Lloar there are 2! One is the smallest in Priorat, with one wine label and 8,000 bottles produced annually. The other one is slightly larger, with around 250,000 bottles annually. Which one do you think article is about? Please don’t get me wrong, the larger one does make outstanding wine!

If you get lost, there are signs! ?

Out of the 126 inhabitants living in El Lloar there are three that are my heros. Their family project works because they are passionate about their land and vines and surely because they have other day jobs! Two brothers and an uncle! That’s the team. Ruben, the younger brother, being the enologist. Josep in charge of sales and marketing and owner of the house/garage which constitutes the cellar. Pepo is the viticulturist and the one driving the four-wheel motorbike! All three together is to be experienced! After a day with them you are leaving family, not only friends. Passion!

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Once in Priorat, it is very easy to find both El Lloar and the house of Clos 93, no question mark! One thing though. Make sure you calculate additional time for the roads of Priorat. Passing Gratallops, there are signs for El Lloar and the cellar/house is quite easy to find. The reception is in their living room and then you are shown to the basement, show time! Having said that, most if not all visits start in the vineyards. With the motto “where the wine is born, is where it should be enjoyed”

Where the ? is best enjoyed!

 

The vines are between 18 and 25 years old planted on licorella (slate) and red clay and cultured without intervention, with the utmost respect for the nature. Each variety is vinified separately and not until about 5-6 weeks before bottling the final blend is made. The grapes are harvested manually and transported to the winery where they are de-stemmed during reception and allowed to stand for three days in cold small stainless steel tubs.On the third day, yeast is added to start the fermentation, with a temperature of 18-25 ° and daily pigeage. After fermentation, the wine is pressed gently and moved to 300 liter French oak barrels for a repose for about 9 months. After many tastings the blend is decided and allowed to rest in the same tank for about 5 weeks to stabilize naturally. Finally it is bottled and labeled with the simple and clear ?.

Thousand questions that arise and that are answered only by opening one of the just over 8,000 bottles of this young and tasty red wine from Priorat. A wine to share and enjoy with friends and family!

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Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

122 to go!

Clos Figueras/Cal Batllet, Come rain or come shine in DOQ Priorat

104/365 – Catalonia – DOQ Priorat – Gratallops – Cal Batllet – 5 Partides 2009, Gratallops Vi de la Vila

Come rain or come shine….

…, happy together, unhappy together, wouldn’t it be fine? Clos Figueras winery in Gratallops hosted an event today, consisting of cellars from Priorat and Monsant, as well as there being several artisanal cheese producers from all over Catalonia. Only the weather could have been better, as it rained quite heavily all day. The rest……, wine and cheese! Can’t go wrong!

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Went to a dinner with some Dutch friends yesterday, Cava, a buffet of selected foods, nice chats amongst friends and we got to talking about todays event. They were all quite certain that the rain would be coming down heavily today, and they were right. I tried to point out that it never rains in Priorat, as it has its own micro climate! Boy was I wrong, and the Dutch friends stayed at home! I did not! And now, recalling the wines and cheeses, I’m smiling from ear to ear, it has been yet another great day!

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Catalan Wine is writing daily about one wine from one of the 12 D.O:s in Catalonia, and so far it has been one article a day, which I hope will continue for 365 days! Some articles are comprehensive with loads of details, whilst others are short and almost only covers the wine.

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Today, some pictures of wine and cheese and one tasting note of a wine that I believe will be a classic! Tomorrow, Catalan Wine 365 is visiting the Alimentaria fair in Barcelona during two days, so you can expect additional photos from that wine loving event as well!

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There were 10 cellars represented and underneath you will find the list. The ones containing a link, have been covered earlier and if you wish to read the ful story, just follow the links!

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Clos Figueras, a small to medium sized winery in Gratallops, opened their new vintages, the white was a favorite. Celler Clos 93, the smallest winery in Priorat, with their question mark and olive oil. Celler Jaume Sabate from La Vilella Baixa had the only Vi Ranci (a wine similar to sherry and using the solera principles).

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Clos Dominic from Porrera was represented by the daughter of the house, Ingrid, opening bottle after bottle of their range of three reds! Joan d’Anguera, a innovative small cellar from Montsant. Ficaria Vins from La Figuera in Monsant, Jaume and his wife were pouring their beautiful Pater and Elia wines!

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Clos Batllet, Marc Ripoll Sans, owner and wine maker was happy to get a visit by Catalan Wine! Vinyes Domenech served their Furvus! Portal del Priorat is getting a visit at their winery in the days to come, they make several wines and showed up with Gotes, one from Montsant and the other from Priorat. And finally Orto Vins, with Jordi Beltran, serving their splendid white wine and sweet wine, made me smile even more!

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Cal Batllet, 5 Partides 2009, 100% Carignena, from very old vines!

Aged for 15 months in French oak. 100% new barrels. The barrels are of 225 liters and the fermentation is carried out in open barrels at a maximum temperature of 26 º C, 4 pigiage daily, gentle extraction, long gestation and high control. Respecting the grapes fully! “Gratallops Vi de la Vila” is the new appellation for the wines produced from Gratallops, inspired by the Burgundy philosophy of village wines.

The color is dark ink but not opaque, it is more of a deep purple. Red and black fruit with an overlay of jammy blackberries and red currant. This is a complex wine and the secondary notes were a bit hard to read as they were evolving minute by minute, but ground coffee and underbrush were present most of the time, blue berries and cassis showed up to join the show as well as slight hints of cedar and spices. The mouth receives a harmonious mix of savory ripe fruit, smooth and velvety with a multitude of rich flavors endorsed by time, better by the minute. Have I found new favorite from Priorat? Yes, because they are ALL my favorites!

The name 5 Partides is due to the five selected  sloping vineyard plots, with vines of up to 100 years, located in the outskirts of Gratallops. The wine transmits the personality of the terroir of Gratallops with its mineral complexity, and maturity This is a elegant, smooth wine with a long aftertaste.

The 5 vineyards are; Camp d’en Piquer (250m, slope, E), Coma (300m, slope, NW), Capella (300m, slope, S), Mas d’en Pallarès (300m, slope, SW), Vinyals (250m, slope, S). The 2009 harvest had a hot summer which provided for a great maturity and it shows!

278 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

Celler Clos 93, More, More, More in DOQ Priorat

12/365 – Catalonia – DOQ Priorat – El Lloar – Celler Clos 93 – L’Interrogant 2012

More, More, More……

Today, on the day, it was 10 years ago I set eyes on my wonderful wife. As it was our anniversary we decided not to work. So instead, we visited a winery, tried 12 wines, had a 7-course lunch and in an hour or so, once I finish this article, we’ll go for dinner. I guess we are workaholics? I write todays post with loads of love, for my wife and for wine, especially wine made by passionate, enthusiastic and friendly wine makers! I am going too tell you the story (short version) of the question mark???!!!

When size doesn't matter, Clos 93!

When size doesn’t matter, Clos 93!

L’Interrogant is Catalan, meaning question mark. ? = a highly recognizable symbol around the world. This is what they decided to put on the label of their first and, for now, only wine! So very clever! It stands out on the shelves, it is noticed at any tasting and the wine is good! I am very happy to have helped in getting this wine to Sweden!

What was the question?

What was the question?

The Priorat New Age Renaissance took of in 1979 by five wine making veterans! Their project started and evolved in Gratallops in Priorat. The gang of five consists of Rene Barbier, Carles Pastrana, Josep Lluís Pérez, Daphné Glorian and Alvaro Palacios–each built a winery that brought the Priorat to world prominence. Bringing a sleeping wine giant to life. That was only 35 years ago!

The best place to enjoy a glass of L'Interrogant, in the vineyards where it was first born!

The best place to enjoy a glass of L’Interrogant, in the vineyards where it was first born!

Priorat was almost dead as a wine region with only 8 active cellars at the time, most of them cooperatives making bulk wine. Today we count 104 and I believe that figure is growing by the day. They founded the optimism and made it possible for cellars like Clos 93 to exists today. Priorat has a lot to thank these guys for!

Map_Priorat

Gratallops was the village around which they saw the potential of the vineyards and got the ball rolling. During these days there was basically no life in Priorat and certainly not in Gratallops. Most days they would eat, drink and sleep at the Hotel-Hostal Sport in Falset, This was also the breeding ground for their ideas and land purchases. How nice it would be if walls indeed could talk!

A great place to stay when in Priorat!

A great place to stay when in Priorat!

In and around Gratallops there are nowadays around 22 cellars, in the much smaller village of El Lloar there are 2! One is the smallest in Priorat, with one wine label and 5,000 bottles produced annually. The other one is slightly larger, with around 250,000 bottles annually. Which one do you think article is about? Please don’t get me wrong, the larger one does make outstanding wine!

If you get lost, there are signs! ?

If you get lost, there are signs! ?

Out of the 126 inhabitants living in El Lloar there are three that are my heros. Their family project works because they are passionate about their land and vines and surely because they have other day jobs! Two brothers and an uncle! That’s the team. Ruben, the younger brother, being the enologist. Josep in charge of sales and marketing and owner of the house/garage which constitutes the cellar. Pepo is the viticulturist and the one driving the four-wheel motorbike! All three together is to be experienced! After a day with them you are leaving family, not only friends. Passion!

1013292_652155464802108_277252401_n

Viticulture and the sales department heads on the bike!

Once in Priorat, it is very easy to find both El Lloar and the house of Clos 93, no question mark! One thing though. Make sure you calculate additional time for the roads of Priorat. Passing Gratallops, there are signs for El Lloar and the cellar/house is quite easy to find. The reception is in their living room and then you are shown to the basement, show time! Having said that, most if not all visits start in the vineyards. With the motto “where the wine is born, is where it should be enjoyed”

Where the ? is best enjoyed!

Where the ? is best enjoyed!

L’Interrogant 2012. Grenache 45%, Carignena 45% and Cabernet Sauvignon 10%.

Second vintage of this lively and fresh wine L’Interrogant with a very unique personality. The vines are between 18 and 25 years old planted on licorella (slate) and red clay and cultured without intervention, with the utmost respect for the nature. Each variety is vinified separately and not until about 5-6 weeks before bottling the final blend is made. The grapes are harvested manually and transported to the winery where they are de-stemmed during reception and allowed to stand for three days in cold small stainless steel tubs.

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On the third day, yeast is added to start the fermentation, with a temperature of 18-25 ° and daily pigeage. After fermentation, the wine is pressed gently and moved to 300 liter French oak barrels for a repose for about 9 months. After many tastings the blend is decided and allowed to rest in the same tank for about 5 weeks to stabilize naturally. Finally it is bottled and labeled with the simple and clear ?.

Thousand questions that arise and that are answered only by opening one of the just over 5000 bottles of this young and tasty red wine from Priorat. A wine to share and enjoy with friends and family!

998768_646735398677448_1681694042_n

Clear cherry color, bright with scarlet edges and slow legs.  The nose is alluring almost seductive. The minerals from the licorella are evident with herbaceous reminiscing of the Priorat herbs and forests. In the background notes of bitter chocolate and sweet candy with hints of spice. Lots of red and black fruit that appears after quite some time.

The joy of the gang of three at Clos 93 is reflected in this Interrogant 2012. In the mouth it is a cheerful red wine, Priorat fresh and very tasty, with a nice entrance leading to a long silky travel. Contrast of bitter cocoa and sweet toffee interact with the fleshy and tasty fruit, good acidity gives freshness and liveliness and soft tannins. Long and intense finish that leaves many memories. A Priorat red seducing me from the start. Highly recommended, if you can find a bottle???

More, More, More……

354 to go!