1898 Ramón Roqueta, Cigarettes and Coffee in D.O. Catalunya

371/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Catalunya – Fonollosa – 1898 Ramón Roqueta – Los Condes Oak Aged 2012

Cigarettes and Coffee…….,

Los CondesLos Condes Oak Aged 1012, 100% Tempranillo

Dark cherry color. The nose is very characteristic of the variety, with forest fruit and liquorice notes standing out. In the mouth, those notes are blending elegantly with the notes added by the ageing process. By working with vineyards with a large difference in temperature between day and night, they have achieved a good level of ripening of polyphenols and preservation of aromas. In the winery maceration is no longer than 10 days in order not to extract the hard tannins and to keep the crisp aromas. Fermentation at 28ºC followed by ageing for 3 months in French and American oak barrels to help round off the wine, while keeping its structure and aromatic crispness. This is a decent wine, to say the least, certainly considering the price!

During the last few posts, there has been a lot from Penedes and Priorat. Was a while since we visited a Pla de Bages winery. This one is a winner, both in the sense of getting acknowledged for its products but more so for the ideas and progress they are constantly achieving. Thinking ahead in this fast paced and very competitive world of wine, is crucial, if you want to reach the top but also stay there! The wines they produce are no top of the top, at all, but quality/price ratio they are good and also consistent in what they do. Steady, steady, because, let’s face it, we have days when we want to drink a wine that’s easy and affordable! Let the train keep the steam up!

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Bodegas Ramón Roqueta is the story of a winery very much in touch with its origins and its region, the Bages. The family has been dedicated to both viticulture and viniculture for generations but it was in 1898 when Ramón Roqueta Torrentó first opened an establishment in Manresa to sell his products. This became the driving force for the family’s wine business in Manresa and, as from this date, the winery’s history and future started to be written. The wines are elaborated under the D.O. Catalunya.

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Today, Bodegas Ramón Roqueta is a great example of a company renovating and adapting to the new times while maintaining the tradition and expertise garnered over the centuries. Bodegas Ramón Roqueta has always been related to the Bages region. In 1898 it set up shop in Manresa but today the winery and its vineyards are located at Fonollosa, thereby reaffirming the family’s commitment to its origins. The estate has 54 hectares of vines and the winery strives to capture all the information accumulated in the grapes.

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Wines are made under the appellation or “Denominació d’Origen” of Catalunya and fermented, according to the different varieties, in stainless steel tanks (from 1,000 to 36,000 litres), always treating the grapes with the utmost respect. The wines are then aged in the barrel room until they are bottled, giving way to the last phase in the wine’s aging process.

RR_brusel.les_The 2013 harvest at Ramón Roqueta was initially a late harvest which ultimately turned out to be normal due to the high temperatures at the end of the season. Ripening was very well balanced, especially in the late varieties. Fresh, fruity whites harvested at their optimum point of acidity. Aromatic, well-structured reds harvested at the right degree of ripeness in their skins and seeds. Yields were reasonable considering they had been low the previous harvest due to the drought. A good harvest in general, especially for the reds.

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The range is split between whites, a rose a a few mono varietal reds as well as a couple of reds containing Cabernet/Sauvignon and Tempranillo, all of which have been aged in American and French oak from 3 – 12 months, and as such offering a nice tasting session of fresh, although young wines with personality, all worth trying out. My top choices are Ramón Roqueta Tempranillo 2012, Synera Tinto 2012, Synera Rosat 2012, Synera Blanc 2012. Two that spring to mind with a good value rating are Vinya Nostra Xarel.lo 2012 and Synera Crianza 2009.

14 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

Bodegas Puiggròs, Cissy Strut in D.O. Catalunya

351/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Catalunya – Odena – Bodegas Puiggròs – Signes 2008

Cissy Strut…….,

171210-Signes-Sumoll-Bodegas-Puiggros1Signes 2008, Red Grenache and Sumoll

Garnet red with a display of several shades of red colored layers.The wine shows a intense fresh aroma ofmenthol, spice and covered with elegant notes of underbrush with secondary notes of the barrel aging.  Cocoa, vanilla and some toast. Powerful on the palate whit marked tannins. Mediterranean aromas, sweet balsamic, ripe fruit. Good palate, balanced, with a slightly bitter, lingering finish. The Sumoll and Red Grenache are from vines older than 60 years. Manual harvest in boxes of 20 Kg. Aged for 10 months in new French oak barrels. Malolactic in barrel.

The Sumoll is a red grape variety, although there is also a white strain. It is a rustic variety, native to the Penedès region of Catalonia, drought resistant and with uniform development. The grape is round and big. It is used to produce red, white, rosé wines and Cava. Its former presence is also evident in the number of different names in Catalan dialects: sumoi, chimoi, saumoll, somoi, sumoy, ximoll, somoll, ximoy, xemoll, among others.

Sumoll Grape Variety

The name is related to the local slang term sumollar, which means maturing or withering, from the Latin verb submolliare. Young wine from the Sumoll grape has a slight roughness that disappears with aging. Its production is low and treatment for achieving quality wines requires high skills in wine production. Before and after phylloxera, the Sumoll was a variety widely grown throughout Catalonia. The entry into the European Union in 1986 accelerated discredit of local varieties, which were not considered able to make good & competitive wines. It has been replaced by other varieties and nowadays it is rare, with less than one hundred hectares planted (247 acres). This trend has changed over the last years. Wine growers are starting to recover and appreciate this variety, as they see an opportunity to create original wines that differentiate themselves by creating their own specialties, gaining a distance from the big industrial companies using only the stocks of international ubiquitous fashionable types – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Chardonnay. The Sumoll is one of the varieties used in the following DOs, Catalunya, Pla de Bages, Tarragona. In Australia four hybrid varieties have been created from Cabernet Sauvignon and Sumoll: CiennaVermillionRubienne, and Tyrian. The purpose of this crossing is to adapt Sumoll qualities to suit the Australian climate.

PG1The production of wine started in 1843 from the vineyard Cal Pau Palomas, in Òdena, comarca of the Anoia in the province of Barcelona, although in the olden days it was never commercialized. In 2008, with great effort, the vineyards were recovered and refurnished the country house to create a small winery, Bodegas Puiggròs.

PG2When drinking a wine, one should think of its aroma, its color, its density, but also about the life within; life that begins in the Earth, nurtured by the rays of the sun, educated by the hand of the cultivator, through the time devoted to its maturation, and last, but not least, the dedication, patience and the “sentits” of its creator.

pg4The vineyards of Bodegas Puiggròs are located primarily in Òdena and at an altitude between 450 and 650 meters, having a distinctive terroir, by virtue of its unique geography, orientation and surrounding climates: Mediterranean and Continental. The soil in this area is mostly clay/limestone. The growing season is long and the maturation process, although very delicate, complex and prolonged, is the key to reaching the full potential of the quality available in this area. Bodegas Puiggròs cultivates varieties of Cariñena, White Grenache, Sumoll and Red Grenache.

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pgaentitsSentits Blancs 2009, 100% Garnacha Blanca

Pale lemon yellow. Good aromatic nose, which includes white flowers (Jasmine), tropical fruits and honey combined with light hints of dried fruit (toasted almonds). The palate presents a sweet entry with a good acidity. It is balanced, full, glyceric and unctuous. It combines very well with any fish, shellfish and crustaceans. Recommended to accompany mild meat and snails.

35 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

Benjamin Romeo, Stranger in Paradise in D.O. Catalunya

345/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Catalunya – Massis de Garraf – Benjamin Romeo/Celler Massis – Massis 2012

Stranger in Paradise……,

BenjaminRomeoMassis2012smMassis 2012, 55% Xarel·lo and 45% White Grenache

Pale yellow color, very bright and clean, the tears are slow and dense. Great expression on the nose, with medium intensity, hints of ripe white fruit, banana, apple and some cured meat, crisp smoky notes, Mediterranean wild herbs and white flowers, freshly cut grass, followed throughout with mineral, chalky secondary aromas. It is a mouthful! Dense on the palate, large and very fresh, good acidity which carries the wine nicely. This is a intense wine, with a overall creamy feel. Citrus and white fruit all the way which is very intense and slightly creamy, very mild bitter notes and medium persistence. The ending is medium long and the aftertaste is that of white fruit and some citrus and soft smoky notes. The wine was fermented using French oak barrels (50% new and 50% used) after which it was aged in the same barrels during 8 months.

46473fbcc1d87fc55c66d80e12256e88Contador! Is not a wine from Catalonia but I guess that you have heard of it? Well, then you also might know that the wine maker of this very expensive wine, is Benjamin Romeo? What you might not know, is that he´s also making wine using grapes from one of my absolute favorite grape growing areas, the Garraf massif, within the Penedes region. The Massis wine is certainly more value for money (compared to the Contador), and if you have been following my postings, you know that I am looking for wines that are not going to make me eat crackers for the rest of the month!

The Penedes region is Catalonia’s largest region in terms of size and production, and covers an area of 27,000 hectares of vineyards. Varieties include Macabeo, Chardonnay, Subirat Parent, Xarel·lo and Parellada white vines, as well as the red varieties of Mazuela, Garnacha, Samsó, Ull de Llebre, Monastrell and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Mapa_Massís_del_GarrafIn the Massis de Garraf, you will come across several great wine makers and cellars, producing excellent estate Cavas and wines in an interesting microclimate, within the Penedes. The Massis de Garraf is quite close to the Mediterranean Sea, and the hills forming the Massís reach a height of 500 meters, forming a surprising craggy landscape which is made up of two very different parts: one of chalky and sedimentary rocks and the other, a reef of reddish sand on the eastern part of the plain’s nature reserve. Additionally, given the altitude of the mountains, wide diurnal temperatures and the beneficial climate with wind and humidity coming in from the ocean it is an excellent climate for different grape varieties and many have adapted perfectly.

Parc_natural_garraf_SWThe next time you come to Barcelona, you should definitely take a day trip to this beautiful area, and why not visit another great cellar if the Massis de Garraf, the Can Ràfols dels Caus! I promise you´ll have a great time!

42 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

The winery of Ca N’Estruc, My Ideal in D.O. Catalunya

316/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Catalunya – Esparreguera – Celler Ca N’Estruc – L’Equilibrista 2012

My Ideal……,

equil12_anv800L’Equilibrista 2012, Syrah, Carinena, Garnacha

This wine has the intense  and dark red color of a ripe cherry. The nose has the concentration of toasted oak that seems to cover the fruit, which is present behind the oaky notes. After a few minutes the presence and freshness of the red berries take over the show, exclaiming that this is indeed a fruit bomb! It is a complex wine, even if the fruit is present at a high degree. The secondary aromas reveal citric notes, aniseed, cedar and vanilla.  The entry is creamy and sweet. Flavors of mature black fruit and chocolate. Good structure. The mouth is filled with tannins which provide the volume and a tasty and pleasant finish reminiscent of strawberry lollipop. An interesting wine that should be taken seriously!

One dream, one soul, one prize, one goal. One golden glance of what should be. It’s a kind of magic. What Francisco Martí is creating under the appellation of Catalunya might be considered juts that! The farm Ca N’Estruc is located on the mountainside of Montserrat, in Esparreguera (Barcelona) and the wine making here is rooted in the world of wine since 1548.

Montserrat-aire

The Montserrat mountain and the national park by the same name would in a poetic world be reason for how and why the vineyards are happy here, but I don’t do poetry. So, briefly, for all of you out there, just to understand just what the Montserrat is, here goes nothing.

Agulles Montserrat

This multi-peaked mountain is located near the city of Barcelona. It is part of the Catalan Pre-Coastal Range. The main peaks are Sant Jeroni (1,236 m), Montgrós (1,120 m) and Miranda de les Agulles (903 m). The mountain is the namesake for the Caribbean island of Montserrat. Montserrat is sometimes referred to as “tall”, or “la cuchador” (the spork).

Montserrat Monistry

It is well known as the site of the Benedictine abbey, Santa Maria de Montserrat, which hosts the Virgin of Montserrat sanctuary and which is identified by some with the location of the Holy Grail in Arthurian myth. “Montserrat” literally means “saw (serrated, like the common handsaw) mountain” in Catalan. It describes its peculiar aspect with multitude of rock formations which are visible from a great distance. The mountain is composed of strikingly pink conglomerate, a form of sedimentary rock. Montserrat is Spain’s first National Park.

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The Benedictine Abbey can be reached by road, by the Aeri de Montserrat cable car, or by the Montserrat Rack Railway. The lower stations of both the rack railway and the cable car can be reached by Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya train from Barcelona’s Plaça d’Espanya station. From the abbey, the Funicular de Sant Joan funicular railway goes up to the top of the mountain, where there are various abandoned hovels in the cliff faces that were previously the abodes of reclusive monks, whilst the Funicular de la Santa Cova descends to a shrine.

Montserrat_des_de_Manresa

The highest summit of Montserrat is called Sant Jeroni (Saint Jerome) and stands at 1,236 meters (4,055 feet) above sea-level. It is accessible by hiking trails which connect from the top entrance to the Sant Joanfunicular, the monastery, or the base of the mountain. The Cavall Bernat (1 111 m) is an important rock feature popular with climbers.

dema_fic_1

Francisco Martí has dedicated his life to the cultivation of 26 ha. of vineyard. The vineyard is 165 meters above sea level, and it has a specific microclimate and is sheltered from the cold north winds by the mountain of Montserrat. Due to this protection the vineyards enjoy cool summers and warm winters with a average annual temperature of 14.1 º C.

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Plantations are perfectly designed to optimize the effect of the sun, each plot has been studied in detail so that the perfect match in terms of variety got planted. The oldest vines are redirected to trellises in globelé system (typical of the Rhône). New plantings are aligned north to south, on trellises and conducted on the first wire 80 cm of the soil to promote better ventilation and to avoid most pesticide treatments.

022

The winery is in the center of the property, which allows for very fast transportation of the grapes. Small deposits of 2,500 L stainless steel tanks and temperature controlled vinification makes it possible to separate musts of different vineyards, both classified by age and by variety and elaborated separately until the final assemblies. Aged in French oak barrels, by Dargaud & Jaegle, Boutes and Seguin Moreau. New plantings of Syrah, Petit Verdot and Tannat are being phased into production to bring greater complexity to the wines. They also buy grapes from selected growers in the area.

32143-6100

Idoia Blanc Fermentat en Bota 2012, 70% Xarel·lo, 12% Garnacha Blanca, 12% Macabeu and 6% Chardonnay

A white with an unusual blend: 70% Xarel.lo grapes, from vines between 20 and 40 years of age, perfectly assembled with Chardonnay, white Grenache and Macabeo. Fermented and aged in oak barrels. Aged for 6 months in new French oak barrels, lightly toasted Allier. Nice golden yellow color of medium intensity and with extraordinarily bright golden reflections. On the nose subtle aromas of vanilla, nutmeg and coconut, with some extra freshness provided by the lime caramel, aniseed, bay leaves and hay, and at the very end a slight sweet aroma of ripe banana. In the mouth it is intense, quite fatty and great longevity. Long and fresh with round tannins which carries to the very end. Good balance and intensity.

75 to go!

Can Grau Vell, The Lady is a Tramp in D.O Catalunya

226/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Cataluyna – Hostalets de Pierola – Can Grau Vell – Tramp 2011

The Lady is a Tramp…….,

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Tramp 2011, 55% Syrah, 25% Garnacha, 10% Monastrell, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Marcelan

Soothing purple cherry colour with a violet rim and thin tears that staines the glass quite well. The nose has a nice intensity of ripe berries and fresh forest, sweet candied berries. Mild refreshing licorice notes, toasted barrel and some balsamic notes that give a lot of freshness on the nose (menthol and hintsof red licorice). It has a growing nose and a bunch of aromas, at times making it hard to decide which way it is going. Pleasant on the palate with fine astringency, good and tasty ripe red fruit running through all the way, good acidity, hints of licorice and candied red berries. Smooth texture, quite sweet, easy to drink and pleasant persistence. Long aftertaste of forest fruits and slightly balsamic. Price vs. quality is outstanding. Is it a Super Catalan? I dare say yes! Simply delicious. This Tramp will seduce you!

 

How does the name of a wine see daylight? Do you ever reflect about that? Or, is it the design of the label that attracts more than the name? Is the story behind the name known to you? So many questions, so little time. In this case the story behind the name is simply like taken from a movie, with a happy and delicious ending.

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Tramp’s story is the story of a dog, making its escape from a family that has been treating the dog so bad, it one day becomes obsessed with running away, to save its life. An opportunity and the pooch is free, not looking back and running as fast and as far as it could. Feeling hungry it finally decides to stop for a rest and meal at a field, quite close to the town of Hostalets of Pierola. There, while filling its stomach with big and ripe bunches of grapes, he meets a man named Jordi who instead of hitting him or yelling at him to leave, he speaks kindly and scratches his head, before inviting him to his home.

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“I could not believe it! I’m inside a real house, with sofas and a bed to climb into, with the warmth of a fireplace, a kitchen that smells amazing, free to run up and down stairs, rooms, nooks and cronies. Company, both human and that of two new friends, who’s stories were not that different to mine.”

tramp3

“They looked at me a little askance, as if to say: Watch out boy! We have been here for quite some time, so don’t you come and try to take over! I did not care, I just noticed the chicken leg that was on the plate! I ate and five minutes later I fell asleep” How long did I sleep? “Don’t know, but I woke up recognizing the sweetest of voices, my saviour saying; Tramp, time to get up! I looked around, but I was the only one there, I must have been dreaming as I know my name has always been Dog! He called again, Tramp, come on, out to the vineyards! This time, waving his hand to me! Tramp? Me?”

tramp5_0

Jordí, explained it to me. Tramp is English and means bum. “And that’s what I had become, without knowing it. I liked it and waged my tail in thanks. I did not hesitate for a second to accept the position I was given in exchange for staying there at the Can Grau Vell, my new home. From that moment I had to watch the vineyards, defending from intruders” Oh, and did I tell you, I got my own wine!

Tramp2

Jordi Castellví i Agut, the founder and owner of Can Grau Vell, explains. “I have always dreamt of making wine for our restaurants in symmetry with what we understand to be gastronomy. In 2000 I bought Can Grau Vell, in Hostalets de Pierola, at the foot of the Montserrat mountain, and started making my dream come true. Of the 49 hectares, we selected 3 hectares and planted 5 different grape varieties. This small vineyard not only allows us to work traditionally but also with a touch of loving care.”

155 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

Bohigas, Shake Your Tail Feather in D.O Catalunya

210/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Catalunya – Odena – Bohigas – Bohigas Xarel.lo Blanc de Blanc 2009

Shake Your Tail Feather…….,

blancdeblancs

Bohigas Xarel.lo Blanc de Blanc 2009

Pale yellow colour with green hues. Fresh aroma and powerful at the beginning: fresh and ripe fruit, citrus and acid pineapple. Its evolution in the glass emphasizes the complexity with notes of flavoursome white fruits, apricot on a background of aromatic herbs and sweet species. Fleshly and mineral. In the mouth a perception of softness prevails, brought by a good acidity surrounded by the great structure of the Xarel.lo from the Òdena area in Catalonia. A lovely display of what Xarel.lo is all about!

Bohigas-3

Fermí Bohigas is a family-owned winery that has roots dating back to the 13th century. The estate is located in the town of Òdena in the River Anoia valley, about 45 minutes west of Barcelona. The current family and their ancestors have been growing grapes and making wines at this location consecutively since 1290. Their first bottling took place in 1870. They first used the name “Bohigas” on a wine label in 1978. Today, the family’s estate encompasses 300 hectares of which 110 are split between two separate vineyard properties, named “Can Maciá” and “Can Batllevell”, both of which have their own cellars.

cava

From grape-growing to bottling, all Bohigas wines come from their estates. The vineyards are farmed organically, and the estate is now in official organic conversion. For the cava wines, Bohigas focuses on the historical and indigenous varieties of Xarel-lo, Macabeo and Parellada for whites and Trepat for red. The estate is very famous for its Xarel-lo vines which allow for extended lees aging of the cavas in the bottle during the second fermentation. Given the meticulous care and attention to the Cavas – from vineyard to cellar to bottle, the wines are finished with low dosage levels (8g on the Reserva and 6g on the Rosat).

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Today’s current owner is Jordi Casanovas Bohigas, who carries on the family tradition of producing high-quality wines from 100% estate-grown grapes. His daughter Maria Casanovas is the winemaker.  In 2000, they invested heavily in the modernization of their cellar at Can Maciá (the site of their original winery), where they traditionally produce and bottle their cava, as well as a number of still wines.

bohigas-brut-reserva

171 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

Bodegas Puiggros, Sabroso in D.O. Catalunya

151/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Catalunya – Odena – Bodegas Puiggros – Sentits Blancs 2008

Sabroso…..

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Sentits Blancs 2009, 100% Garnacha Blanca

Pale lemon yellow. Good aromatic nose, which includes white flowers (Jasmine), tropical fruits and honey combined with light hints of dried fruit (toasted almonds). The palate presents a sweet entry with a good acidity. It is balanced, full, glyceric and unctuous. It combines very well with any fish, shellfish and crustaceans. Recommended to accompany mild meat and snails.

228 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

Ca N’Estruc, A kind of Magic in D.O. Catalunya

111/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Catalunya – Esparreguera – Ca N’Estruc – Idoia Blanc Fermentat en Bota 2012

A kind of Magic……,

One dream, one soul, one prize, one goal. One golden glance of what should be. It’s a kind of magic. What Francisco Martí is creating under the appellation of Catalunya might be considered juts that! The farm Ca N’Estruc is located on the mountainside of Montserrat, in Esparreguera (Barcelona) and the wine making here is rooted in the world of wine since 1548.

Montserrat-aire

The Montserrat mountain and the national park by the same name would in a poetic world be reason for how and why the vineyards are happy here, but I don’t do poetry. So, briefly, for all of you out there, just to understand just what the Montserrat is, here goes nothing.

Agulles Montserrat

This multi-peaked mountain is located near the city of Barcelona. It is part of the Catalan Pre-Coastal Range. The main peaks are Sant Jeroni (1,236 m), Montgrós (1,120 m) and Miranda de les Agulles (903 m). The mountain is the namesake for the Caribbean island of Montserrat. Montserrat is sometimes referred to as “tall”, or “la cuchador” (the spork).

Montserrat Monistry

It is well known as the site of the Benedictine abbey, Santa Maria de Montserrat, which hosts the Virgin of Montserrat sanctuary and which is identified by some with the location of the Holy Grail in Arthurian myth. “Montserrat” literally means “saw (serrated, like the common handsaw) mountain” in Catalan. It describes its peculiar aspect with multitude of rock formations which are visible from a great distance. The mountain is composed of strikingly pink conglomerate, a form of sedimentary rock. Montserrat is Spain’s first National Park.

3

The Benedictine Abbey can be reached by road, by the Aeri de Montserrat cable car, or by the Montserrat Rack Railway. The lower stations of both the rack railway and the cable car can be reached by Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya train from Barcelona’s Plaça d’Espanya station. From the abbey, the Funicular de Sant Joan funicular railway goes up to the top of the mountain, where there are various abandoned hovels in the cliff faces that were previously the abodes of reclusive monks, whilst the Funicular de la Santa Cova descends to a shrine.

Montserrat_des_de_Manresa

The highest summit of Montserrat is called Sant Jeroni (Saint Jerome) and stands at 1,236 meters (4,055 feet) above sea-level. It is accessible by hiking trails which connect from the top entrance to the Sant Joanfunicular, the monastery, or the base of the mountain. The Cavall Bernat (1 111 m) is an important rock feature popular with climbers.

dema_fic_1

Francisco Martí has dedicated his life to the cultivation of 26 ha. of vineyard. The vineyard is 165 meters above sea level, and it has a specific microclimate and is sheltered from the cold north winds by the mountain of Montserrat. Due to this protection the vineyards enjoy cool summers and warm winters with a average annual temperature of 14.1 º C.

002

Plantations are perfectly designed to optimize the effect of the sun, each plot has been studied in detail so that the perfect match in terms of variety got planted. The oldest vines are redirected to trellises in globelé system (typical of the Rhône). New plantings are aligned north to south, on trellises and conducted on the first wire 80 cm of the soil to promote better ventilation and to avoid most pesticide treatments.

022

The winery is in the center of the property, which allows for very fast transportation of the grapes. Small deposits of 2,500 L stainless steel tanks and temperature controlled vinification makes it possible to separate musts of different vineyards, both classified by age and by variety and elaborated separately until the final assemblies. Aged in French oak barrels, by Dargaud & Jaegle, Boutes and Seguin Moreau. New plantings of Syrah, Petit Verdot and Tannat are being phased into production to bring greater complexity to the wines. They also buy grapes from selected growers in the area.

32143-6100

Idoia Blanc Fermentat en Bota 2012, 70% Xarel·lo, 12% Garnacha Blanca, 12% Macabeu and 6% Chardonnay

A white with an unusual blend: 70% Xarel.lo grapes, from vines between 20 and 40 years of age, perfectly assembled with Chardonnay, white Grenache and Macabeo. Fermented and aged in oak barrels. Aged for 6 months in new French oak barrels, lightly toasted Allier. Nice golden yellow color of medium intensity and with extraordinarily bright golden reflections. On the nose subtle aromas of vanilla, nutmeg and coconut, with some extra freshness provided by the lime caramel, aniseed, bay leaves and hay, and at the very end a slight sweet aroma of ripe banana. In the mouth it is intense, quite fatty and great longevity. Long and fresh with round tannins which carries to the very end. Good balance and intensity.

270 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

 

 

Roura, What’s going on in D.O. Alella

107/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Alella – Alella – Bodegas Roura – Roura Sauvignon Blanc 2009

What’s going on……

…. we’ve got to find a way to bring some loving to Alella! This is a region which used to be renowned around the world for high quality wines and I for one know that to be the case nowadays as well. I am discovering new wine cellars in this urban region, where some wineries have their vineyards amongst houses of the  small towns in the area. Certainly a very exciting place to visit and the closeness to Barcelona makes it ideal for half a day trip. Welcome to Alella, with a view to a kill.

Alella in the lower left corner

Alella in the lower left corner

The Roura winery, founded in the early 80 in the hamlet of Vall de Rials, is a small, modern winery with quite a good reputation for their wines. They are not big or great wines but descent wines for a price/quality comparison that works well for the daily wine consumption. The produce their wines using grapes from the 32 ha. of vineyards the own and by purchasing grapes from another 22 ha. They produce a rose wine and a Merlot-based red, two white, a Xarel.lo and one Sauvignon Blanc. Additionally they make a aged red and a young red, with 4 months of American oak. Two barrel-fermented white wines complement the current range of wines from the cellar and the sparkling range consists of 4 Cava wines. This winery is working under the appellations D.O. Alella, D.O. Cava and D.O. Catalonia.

Alta Alella Vineyards

During the early 1980s, in the beautiful valley “Vall de Rials”, Roura conceived a project to continue a task that was begun more than 3000 years ago by Phoenicians and that reached its peak with the Roman Empire. There is historical evidence that Alella wine was exported to Rome from year 140 B.C. until year 250 A.D. It was highly appreciated by Roman nobility. Roura, convinced about the possibilities of the area, with its traditional vines and some new ones that had been recently introduced, embarked on the project of making high quality wines.

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The winery started its commercial career in 1990, by providing the market white a white wine from 1989, a red Crianza wine from 1987 and a Cava Brut Nature. New references were gradually added and the present complete range of wines was reached through a gradual growth. During the continuous expansion phase in 2004, a new winery of 1,600m2 was opened and was attached to the D.O. Catalonia, in order to produce and bottle quality wines, mainly for the Latin American and Asian markets.

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The initial winery, with a total surface of 4,000 m, has the capacity to produce 500,000 litres and its current average production is 300,000 bottles, half of them being still wine, while the other half is Cava. Two cold stores are used for the fermentation and stabilization of wines. The first one includes a controlled fermentation system with a cold water circuit (11 tanks of 15,000 litres and 1 tank of 8,000 litres); the second one uses cold air for stabilization (8 tanks of 22,000 litres and 2 tanks of 12,000 litres).

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The subsequent winery expansion, divided into two half-underground floors of 1,600 sqare meters each, has been equipped with the new oenology technologies. It only holds the brands VALL DE RIALS and NORD-EST, with an average production of 500,000 bottles. With such expansion, the production capacity increases and the quality of the new products can be improved due to its high technification.

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The granitic soil in a decaying state (granitic sand) allows a very fast drainage when rainfall is excessive and, at the same time, it facilitates deep root growth. This allows the existence of humidity deep in the ground in drought periods, which allows a better relationship of the plant with the environment. The micro-climate shows short mild winters and moderately hot summers, whit a fresh and pleasant sea breeze and the night’s dew. Varieties grown are: Merlot, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay, Xarel·lo and Sauvignon Blanc. Vines are planted in spacings of 2,500 per Ha; an espalier arrangement and double Royat pruning are used.

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For the Xarel.lo variety, the goblet pruning system is used for old vineyards, while the espalier pruning system is used for the newly planted vines. Regarding the D.O. Catalunya, Roura provides a wine sampling with samples from different Catalan areas. Afterwards the wine samples are selected and assembled in order to offer good quality at competitive prices. For wine ageing they use 270 barrels of 220 litres each. 210 of these are made out of French oak, and the other 60 are made out of American oak.

roura sauvignon blanc 2009

Roura Sauvignon Blanc 2009

A fresh white wine produced by Roura under the appellation of D.O. Alella. Works well with cold fish starters and mushrooms dishes but also with a mild goat cheese. This is a pale, bright yellow coloured wine with greenish reflections. First nose has a touch of tropical fruit (pineapple?) and more and more grassy herbs as it opens up. And a bit of asparagus. The wine has a great mouthfeel, very smooth, with lots of lemon and grapefruit, and more herbs. There is a lot of acid that carries well into the finish but it is in check and pleasant.

274 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

Bodegas 1898 Ramón Roqueta, Sway in D.O. Catalunya

102/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Catalunya – Fonollosa – Bodegas 1898 Ramón Roqueta – Bacasis Blanco Macabeo Chardonnay 2008

Sway……

….. with me…., dance with me! Once you have, danced with me, it’s time to share a glass of wine. During the last few posts, there has been a lot from Penedes and Priorat. Was a while since we visited a Pla de Bages winery. This one is a winner, both in the sense of getting acknowledged for its products but more so for the ideas and progress they are constantly achieving. Thinking ahead in this fast paced and very competitive world of wine, is crucial, if you want to reach the top but also stay there! The wines they produce are no top of the top, at all, but quality/price ratio they are good and also consistent in what they do. Steady, steady, because, let’s face it, we have days when we want to drink a wine that’s easy and affordable! Let the train keep the steam up!

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Bodegas Ramón Roqueta is the story of a winery very much in touch with its origins and its region, the Bages. The family has been dedicated to both viticulture and viniculture for generations but it was in 1898 when Ramón Roqueta Torrentó first opened an establishment in Manresa to sell his products. This became the driving force for the family’s wine business in Manresa and, as from this date, the winery’s history and future started to be written. The wines are elaborated under the D.O. Catalunya.

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Today, Bodegas Ramón Roqueta is a great example of a company renovating and adapting to the new times while maintaining the tradition and expertise garnered over the centuries. Bodegas Ramón Roqueta has always been related to the Bages region. In 1898 it set up shop in Manresa but today the winery and its vineyards are located at Fonollosa, thereby reaffirming the family’s commitment to its origins. The estate has 54 hectares of vines and the winery strives to capture all the information accumulated in the grapes.

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Wines are made under the appellation or “Denominació d’Origen” of Catalunya and fermented, according to the different varieties, in stainless steel tanks (from 1,000 to 36,000 litres), always treating the grapes with the utmost respect. The wines are then aged in the barrel room until they are bottled, giving way to the last phase in the wine’s aging process.

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The 2013 harvest at Ramón Roqueta was initially a late harvest which ultimately turned out to be normal due to the high temperatures at the end of the season. Ripening was very well balanced, especially in the late varieties. Fresh, fruity whites harvested at their optimum point of acidity. Aromatic, well-structured reds harvested at the right degree of ripeness in their skins and seeds. Yields were reasonable considering they had been low the previous harvest due to the drought. A good harvest in general, especially for the reds.

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The range is split between whites, a rose a a few mono varietal reds as well as a couple of reds containing Cabernet/Sauvignon and Tempranillo, all of which have been aged in American and French oak from 3 – 12 months, and as such offering a nice tasting session of fresh, although young wines with personality, all worth trying out. My top chihces are Ramón Roqueta Tempranillo 2012, Synera Tinto 2012, Synera Rosat 2012, Synera Blanc 2012. Two that spring to mind with a good value rating are Vinya Nostra Xarel.lo 2012 and Synera Crianza 2009.

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Bacasis Blanco, Macabeo Chardonnay 2008 

A white containing 80% Macabeo and 20% Chardonnay, aged on lees, floral, fresh and full of body. Pale yellow straw color. Bright and clear. Floral aromas floral (jasmine) and fresh fruit on a background of fine lees. Tasty, balanced and fresh.

280 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle