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!

 

 

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!

The Piñol Cellar, Infinito in D.O. Terra Alta

185/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Terra Alta – Batea – Celler Piñol – N. Sra. Portal Red 2007

Infinito……..,

Celler-Pinol-Senora-Del-Portal-Roble-2007-Label

N. Sra. Portal Red 2007, 60% Garnatxa, 15% Carignena, 15% Syrah and 10% Merlot

Ruby going slightly to cherry, nice and dense colour. A rich, well-crafted wine with delicious ripe berry fruits and aromas of ripe peach, plum and apricot. A harmonious and exciting wine with refreshing acidity and smoky mineral and balsamic elements, creamy oak and mineral accents.  The palate is fleshy, with a presence of powerful tannins, licorice and an excellent balance between fruit and wood. Long, elegant finish. Good, long and rich with the added dimension of ripe fruit. Ideal as a partner to goat cheese, meat dishes, spicy stews.

terra-alta1

In a survey of wine tour operators located throughout the world, responses indicated they expect a 21.4% increase in customers served in 2014. 70 tour operators from 12 separate countries took part in the survey, SweetEasy wine tours took part in the survey. It is rarely that statistics make me happy, this one does and I hope more and more visitors come to Catalonia to experience, first hand, the beauty of this wine making region and all its D.Os. That’s what you need! Now, let’s get back to reality…….

Street view in Batea

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 a red, reason being……, they also, in some cases, manage to create amazing reds!

Vineyards of Celler Pinol

Vineyards of Celler Pinol

Now don’t just continue reading….., it is after all Friday and maybe 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 known for price-worthy and praiseworthy wines! 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 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. Welcome to my world and have a great weekend!

196 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

Celler Piñol, You can’t always get what you want, D.O. Terra Alta

43/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Terra Alta – Batea – Celler Piñol – Piñol L’Avi Arrufi 2007

You can’t always get want you want…..,

…. but you just might get what you need! In a survey of wine tour operators located throughout the world, responses indicated they expect a 21.4% increase in customers served in 2014. 70 tour operators from 12 separate countries took part in the survey, SweetEasy wine tours took part in the survey. It is rarely that statistics make me happy, this one does and I hope more and more visitors come to Catalonia to experience, first hand, the beauty of this wine making region and all its D.Os. That’s what you need! Now, let’s get back to reality…….

Street view in Batea

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 a red, reason being……, they also, in some cases, manage to create amazing reds!

Vineyards of Celler Pinol

Vineyards of Celler Pinol

Now don’t just continue reading….., it is after all Thursday evening and 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 cheap wines! 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 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.

330 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

7 Wines, Wine Do Yer Stuff, D.O. Terra Alta

27-33/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Terra Alta – Falset – Hotel_Hostal Sport – 7 Wines Tasted

Gimme That Wine……..

…….., cause I can’t cut loose without my juice! Ok, so kill me! The song IS cheesy but at least it has wine in the title and I for one, really like it! Good enough in my book!

DSC_0019

Well arranged tasting, yesterday evening at the Hotel-Hostal Sport, in Falset by Marta & Ruth! Thank you for the invite and for a great evening with friends.

DSC_0052

Todays entry is a covering only tasting notes for the 7 wines, no history, no winemakers and no cellars will be mentioned. Just, Gimme That Wine……. “Well those chicks look fine, but I love my wine. Now some folks like money, some like to dance and dine, But I’ll be happy If you give me that wine”.

DSC_0082

This was the first of 12 tastings over the year to come, covering the D.O;s of Catalonia, starting with D.O. Terra Alta. Briefly about Terra Alta, the numbers;

– Provisional D.O. since 1972, official 1982.

– 5.895 hectares planted.

– 1469 vine growers registered, 45 active cellars.

– Grape outtake 6.450 Kg/ha, 37,7 million Kg:s harvested.

DSC_0044

– And now some interesting stuff! Garnacha Blanca is the King of grapes in Terra Alta and 80% of all the Garnacha Blanca planted in Spain comes from this D.O. and 1/3 of the Garnacha Blanca in the whole world.

DSC_0023

Wine No. 1 – Barbara Fores Blanc, 2013, 100% Garnacha Blanca.

Delicate yellow straw color with gold rims. Clean and bright. Good tear. On the nose it has an average intensity, ripe white fruit and semi intense flavours with various floral, tropical notes. Some balsamic and roasted very harmonious and balanced. This white wine from the Terra Alta has a nice entrance which is soft, warm and creamy. Well-balanced fruit and wood. Good acidity that gives freshness necessary for contrast. Long and bitter point with hints of nuts and toast.

DSC_0022

Wine No. 2 – LaFou Celler Els Amelers, 2012, 100% Garnacha Blanca.

Pale and clean yellow straw color to slight golden. Intense nose with primary notes of citrus, grapefruit and lemon. Secondary of apricot, slight lychee and cocos. Structured, balanced and powerful with good acidity. Very dry, long lingering aftertaste with balanced acidity. Elegant and well made wine!

DSC_0062

Wine No. 3 – Edetaria Blanc, 2011, 85% Garnacha Blanca, 15% Macabeu (Old Vines)

Yellow ochre, platinum to coppery glow. Ripe fruit, marmalade, vanilla, arak, marzipan and it just keeps on coming! The mouth is intense, dried apricot, balanced acidity and a follow through of owen baked apples, slight spice. A complex wine with finesse and loads of expression. High class!

DSC_0043

Wine No. 4 – Sant Josep Wines, Llagrimes de Tardor 2010, 100% Garnacha Blanca

Bright gold/yellow glow with copper rims. The color is full. First thing that hit my nose was, Spearmint chewing-gum! Then it started talking to me. After eight chocolates, lemongrass, tropical fruits, herbs, minerals…., couldn’t get my full focus on this one, it was like it was speaking chinese and I don’t do that language. The mouth was easier to interpret, velvety with fruity notes. Fresh with a touch of bitterness and a long finish. Firm and opulent!

DSC_0085

Wine No. 5 – Celler Pinol, Portal N Sra. del Portal, 2011, 60% Garnacha, 15% Cariñena, 10% Merlot and 15% Syrah.

Deep cherry color with violet hue, opaque. Intense red and black berries (blackberries, currants, mineral aroma background, slight licorice and menthol. The palate is fleshy, fatty and powerful, very rounded tannins. Clearly balsamic notes and a perfect balance between fruit and acidity, toasted oak is apparent. Very elegant and long finish.

DSC_0084

Wine No. 6 – Alta Vins, Domus Pensi, 2008, 45% Cabernet, 30% Garnacha, 15% Syrah and 10% Merlot

Intense red color with violet hues, many layers. The nose is complex with aromas of red fruits blackberries, blueberries, prunes, raisins, hints of cocoa and roasted coffee. In the mouth it is tasty and fatty, with a smooth entry and evolution. It has a sweet tannin sensation intensified by alcohol. The aftertaste is reminiscent of cherry jam. long aftertaste. Decant before serving!

DSC_0091

Wine No. 7 – Celler Pinol, Josefina Pinol, Vi Dolc/Mistela, 2011, 

Deep deep cherry color. The nose is complex, jam berries, roasted coffee, cocoa and licorice. The palate is overly sweet, raisins, raisins and honey, round, concentrated sweet wine, with hardly any acidity. Not to my taste!

DSC_0095

And the WINNER is Wine No. 4 – Sant Josep Wines, Llagrimes de Tardor 2010, price/quality comparison is unmatched and this was a great surprise to me! Get a case or two before it’s to late! Happy wine loving days!

DSC_0100

341 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle