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

Almond blossom, Spring Fever in DOQ Priorat

69/365 – Catalonia – DOQ Priorat – Priorat – Clos Figueras – Clos Figueres 2004

Spring fever….,

…., spring is everywhere, love is in the air! Short one today. Have a wine tasting to get ready for tonight and kind of in a hurry! Won’t be any Catalan wines, as it is a tasting of 4 wines from other amazing wine making areas of the world. Tuscany, Douro, Central Coast and Mendoza will be represented!

The beautiful village of Porrera!

The beautiful village of Porrera!

Sorry, but you’ll have to be there to know which wines they are, and what they taste. Only Catalonia is covered on this blog. But, anyhow, I hope you enjoy the pictures of Priorat in bloom and my tasting notes of one of my absolute favorites from the area!

Almonds blossoming straight out of the Licorella!

Almonds blossoming straight out of the Licorella!

Does it get more beautiful? Only thing missing is a bottle of wine!

Does it get more beautiful? Only thing missing is a bottle of wine!

Not much longer now..., as these too are going to show their buds!

Not much longer now…, as these too are going to show their buds!

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Always make time for a coffee or two!

Always make time for a coffee or two!

The wine tasted is produced by Clos Figueras from Gratallops. The winery has been covered previously, so you can read more about them by following the Clos Figueras link!

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Clos Figueres 2004, (Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cariñena, Garnacha, Mourvedre and Monastrell)

Decanted this wine for 1.5 hours. Another hour or two would have been better. Very promising!

Cherry red, purple edges, thin tears. Intense nose of ripe black fruit, fine tannins and marked by spice (black pepper), and light balsamic sensations. Rubbers tires,cocoa, floral notes of vanilla and dense mineral finish. The mouth has a strong entry, quite expressive, pleasant acidity but tannins are too marked. Toffee and licorice, mineral aftertaste. Persistent. A wine that will develop well in the bottle, it has yet to be integrated in the bottle. Could easily have waited another 3-5 years!

311 to go!

Clos Figueras, La vie en rose in DOQ Priorat

47/365 – Catalonia – DOQ Priorat – Gratallops – Clos Figueras – Clos Figueres 2004

La vie en rose……

Somehow, La vie en rose felt right for this piece. Over the weekend I have been in my Rat Pack mood and by chance I came across a really soft version of the song by L. Armstrong. I guess the subconscious is saying it’s right. For several reasons?

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But most of all, when I think about it, it is for the style of the wines at Clos Figueras. Distinctly French in style but yet very Priorat. If there’s such a thing. Kind of makes me laugh out loud as I reread that sentence. “French in style but yet very Priorat”.

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The Barcelona chapter of the Swedish wine club, Munskankarna, had lasts years season finale in Gratallops. I put together a full day of wine tasting, visits to cellars and lunch in Gratallops. It was really appreciated so I had to redo it a couple of times more for some of the members, their friends and family. That’s how it goes, if you once get to experience Priorat, Gratallops and the wineries there, you are bound to come back!

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Clos Figueras is the brain child of Christopher Cannan, a wine merchant, originally from the U.K, but running his company Europvin from Bordeaux. With the help of a friend, that was already active in Gratallops, he to realized the potential of the land and vines of this region and decided to acquire vineyards here.

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The investment resulting in the bottling of his first vintage in 2000, increasing the production to 25,000 bottles by 2009. In 1999, Cannan was nominated as a Chevalier de l’Ordre du Mérite Agricole by the French government.

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It was one day July 1997 that a world-renowned winemaker showed Christopher Cannan and his wife Charlotte an abandoned vineyard just north of Gratallops called “Figueres”. The same day the entire Cannan family jumped into their car and followed this winemaker to Barcelona. It was on a pavement café beneath Gaudi’s “La Pedrera” building on the Paseo de Gracia,where they met the owner of the vineyard, a charming widow and school teacher.

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At that time, prices were reasonable and the negotiations went well, the deal was done! By October 1997 the purchase was completed and the hard work commenced. The estate is called Clos Figueras. “Clos”  because it consisted of 10 hectares all in one piece and the prefix to most of the new wines on the Priorat scene and “Figueras” in honor of the two magnificent fig trees on the property.

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Initially the terrain had to be prepared for planting. Having been abandoned for 8 years there was much work to do on the terraces. A grove of centuries old olive trees and a few rows of mostly 20 years old Carignan vines were recuperated but most of the remaining hectares had to be replanted.

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Christopher travelled to the Southern Rhône valley to visit a specialized nursery and select the vines to be planted after grafting onto American root stock. He privileged the local  Grenache Noir, also the Syrah, Mourvedre, a few Cabernet Sauvignon vines and a little Viognier to complement the Syrah as in Côte Rôtie.

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Arriving to Clos Figueras today, you’ll be well received by Anne Cannan, wine maker, business developer and Priorat Ambassador. Regular events are taking place at the winery and there is a feel of familiarity and genuine pride in showing the very best of what Priorat can offer.

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Adjoining the winery there is now a restaurant, in which hearty lunches are served. Specializing in Catalan tapas and ecologically local farmed products. Local bread with their own olive oil, charcuterie, Catalan sausages and lamb, all paired with their beautiful wines is something not to be missed. If you feel like staying the night, there are now a couple or three rooms that can be rented, just in case you don’t want to drive!

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The garden is another excellent place to relax after a full day of Priorat experiences. Grab a bottle of the Serras del Priorat, pour a glass, lean back, look out over the landscape and the scenery that the valley and mountains in the distance offer, and fantasize about how it could have been in the days of the Priorat pioneers.

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Many of my Priorat trips have both started and ended at this winery, truly because it is so very welcoming!

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Clos Figueres 2004, Garnacha, Cariñena, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Mourvedre

Nose is very subtle at the beginning. Had to decant for 2 hours. Primary of menthol (eucalyptus), mint and sotobosque (underbrush). Secondary nose is fruitier with floral notes as well, violets, raspberry, roses, black fruit. This is a wine I can sit and enjoy without drinking it, but what would be the point in that, it was made to enjoy with all the senses! In the mouth it is filling, it’s a mouthful. Silky, soft with nicely integrated tannins. Very elegant, good structured, it is not a heavy Priorat, but quite light and easy to drink. Balanced and long finish. Back to the nose……, it reveals more and more fruit, black fruit but not overly ripe. Very enjoyable wine!

326 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle