Satisfy My Soul and 15 Delicious Reds from Catalonia!

412 – 426/365 – Catalonia – 15 Delicious Reds

Satisfy My Soul……….,

I haven’t quite decided what to write about tomorrow and I can’t really say what I am going to do with the blog in 2015. That it will continue, in one way or the other, is clear and I am thinking that I might post once a week and then only do videos, as to change the theme somewhat. As for New Years Eve…., there will be wine, that’s for sure and there will be Cava, no Champagne! So, I’ll either do a piece on a good red or a Cava, or why not both? Catch me tomorrow and you’ll see, but whatever it is, it will Satisfy My Soul and hopefully yours as well! Thank you Bob! And now for some of the great reds from Catalonia! Enjoy!

a_7_177La Llopetera, 100% Pinot Noir

Just the fact that Sanahuja makes this wine using Pinto Noir gives me chills! And how they have managed to give it utmost care is to be admired. I really, really, want you to try this wine! I’m sure you’ll be intrigued and positively surprised whit regards to what can be produced here in the Conca de Barbera, if the wine maker is skilled. This wine has been made without any filtration or clarification, fermented with natural yeasts from the vineyard. As a result, the wine has virtually no sulfur. The aging is 6 months in French oak barrels. The Escoda-Sanahuja winery practice ecologic viticulture and to some extent biodynamic as well. This wine has been made using biodynamic principles.

Light ruby color. The nose shows a lot, a virtual dance (samba?) takes place. Berries in masses, Mediterranean forest, fresh cut fennel, underbrush, chalk……. The palate is delicate, easy, wide and quite fleshy. The wine has clear varietal and mineral character, which include fine notes of red fruits on light backgrounds of wood. Super fresh and elegant. It will get even better with time, my guess is that should have been drunk now, as it is still unruly and young. Will age slowly improving in character and elegance, give it another few years and I’m sure this will be a great one!

DSC_1083L’Antana 2009, 100% Merlot

This wine displays the benefits of slow, even ripening during a mild growing season. Though there is fullness and a lush character to this Merlot, there is also restraint and elegance. Promising aromas of cherry, red plum, raspberry, and dried herbs lead to a clean fresh entry with impeccably balanced acidity suporting intense red fruit flavors of cranberry, plum and raspberry. Round, supple tannins provide an enticing framework for the flavors and contribute to a lingering finish. Age a few more years and you won’t be disappointed!

1980213_1473071126244012_988613148_oTerra Remota Usted 2009, Garnacha and Syrah

Splendid garnet red colour with light reflections of tile. A wine with finesse that I dare call opulent and big. Smoked bacon, cherry and truffles are the aromas that are primary and easily detected. Caramel, liquorice and tobacco are present but all intertwined in the most stylish way. A silky and smooth entry, classy and elegant with silky tannins. Toasted almonds, mineral notes and lingering soft spices. The after-taste is long almost chewy but the tannins are soft.

DSC_0802Sons 2012, 100% Monastrell – Fermented in clay amphoras in the vineyards of Sicus.

The Sons is a wine that I intend to keep one bottle of and open it in 12 – 14 years as I am sure it can stand at-least that amount of time.  The color is dark cherry, slightly bluish, pink rim with heavy and fatty tears, receding slowly. The first nose says a lot, leave me alone for a while and you shall be rewarded. A multitude of aromas evolve during the 2 hour tasting and there is a lot of fruit but also herbs and underbrush. Elegant floral aromas with intense aromas of red fruits such as mature strawberries, raspberries and currants. It is a mouthful, almost to be cut with a knife. The strain of Monastrell holds everything and concentration of the vintage gives very deep rustic shades, with cherries, raspberry, carob and chocolate.  No food is needed and one glass of this bundle of joy can last forever!

93-ceps93 Ceps, 100% Sumoll (one of my favorite, Catalan, red grape varieties)

As the name indicates, 93 Ceps, (93 vines), the Sumoll grapes come from only 93 vines! The vineyard is 60 years old and located in Santa Maria de Martorelles. The harvest was carried out during the first two weeks of October, collected in boxes of 15 kg. The harvest is de-stemmed and tread lightly and led throughout by gravity, without the use of pumps. The wine is fermented and macerated in stainless steel tanks of 1000 liter. 21 day resting period with 3 pigeages daily. Malolactic fermentation is done in barrels of 225 liters of various backgrounds and different levels of toast. Aged for 14 months in new French Allier oak barrels. Production below 1,000 bottles.

Medium cherry red color, shiny and bright, clean. The nose has good intensity, expressive and crisp varietal definition. Fresh red fruit (cherries, strawberries, plums) are dominating. Menthol, with notes of Mediterranean forest (thyme syrup , rosemary) are nicely laid out and carries the wine further to a second dimension. There are marked aging notes (aromatic cacao, lactic, smoked and curious notes of oriental spices (turmeric, curry leaves, cardamom) and a hint of graphite pencil lead. Intense spicy finish. A wine with a great personality.

brao-vinyes-velles-2011_g_577Braó 2011, selection of vines, 60 years of age to almost centenarian plants of Garnacha, Garnacha Peluda and Samsó (Carignan)

Braó was widely used as a word for strength and courage. These are the words that best define these very old and wonderful vineyards, which against all possible odds have offered rare and unique grapes. Bright cherry colour, intense, clean and bright with violet hues. Abundant slow-falling, dark tears staining the glass. Nose of ripe fruit, sweet spices, expressive, complex, elegant. Tasty, fruity, ripe tannins. Powerful, bulky attack. Slow, concentrated, silky and tasty in the mouth. Some intense tannins, a little bit rough but compensated with a very refreshing and defined acidity. Long and persistent finish with fruity notes. A serious wine full of life and joy!  12-13 months French oak. Powerful wine, structured, deep but with great elegance and finesse to drink now or store for many years.

DSC_0054Cal 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!

destrankis-2012Destrankis 2012, 80% Garnacha and 20% Cariñena

Bright red cherry color with violet tones, middle layer. The nose is full of fruit, light touches of menthol, green leaves and pine. Good combination of fresh red fruit, herbs, thyme, rosemary and mineral notes. The palate shows some minerality. This is a fresh and balanced wine. Licorice, balsamic and butter, with a slight touch of camphor. The palate is light but persistent, with a subtle mineral background showing where it comes from. If you like Grenache, this is a wine for you!

Sot Lefriec 2004Sot Lefriec, 50% Merlot, 30% Carignan and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon (D.O. Penedes)

The fermentation of this particular wine takes place in small tanks on wild yeasts. There are no pumps in the winery as the wines are moved using inert gas to avoid any uncontrolled oxidation. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carignan were harvested approximately 10 days later than usual or what would be considered normal for the varieties and region. Prefermentation maceration and alc. fermentation around 30-35 days for Merlot and Cab. Sauv. and around 25 days for Carignan , which is also longer than usual. During these periods, there are daily remontages and pigeages. Sot Lefriec 2004 has spent 23 months ageing in French oak barrels, 70% new oak. This is a super small garage producer, that works out of Vilafranca del Penedes, so if you see a bottle of Sot Lefriec on a shelve be sure to grab it fast!

DSC_0036Negre de Negres 2012, Garnacha Tinta, Carignena, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah

Down and down I go, round and round I go, like a leaf that’s caught in a tide….., Black Magic is found in abundance in this Super Catalan that Alfredo Arribas had created by most probably using magic? This is a wine that shouldn’t exist, at least not in this region, because it defies all sensory logics when it comes to what the Priorat region equals and what wines from here in general are all about. Even the price is magical, an absolute value for money! And that, my friends, is why it is a Super Catalan.

Bugader-400x400Bugader 2006, Syrah 85%, Garnacha 15%

Cherry color with violet borders, high layers. Fine and elegant nose, floral notes, red and black fruits and a hint of wood. Its evolution is insatiable, pastries, balsamic, elegant wood, herbs, butterscotch, chocolate, cocoa, coffee….. What I have in the glass, is a great wine, very well put together (produced) and well balanced, harmonious and amazing nose. It is one of those wines that puts everything in perspective, primary, secondary and tertiary aromas dancing together as one at the end! Once in the mouth it is elegant and polished. Large and round, not tired or exhausted, very long and sweet. Very elegant balance. Make sure to decant at least half an hour and make sure to get two bottles when you buy this one, you’re gonna need them both!

escur10_174x241Els Escurçons 2010, Garnacha and Syrah

How much soul can a wine have? After trying Els Escurçons I´d say, unquantifiable! This is a wine with a beautiful dark cherry color, garnet rim and medium high layers. Bright and clean. The nose, after a while of areation, is spicy with creamy aromas, slightly oaky, ripe and complex. It is very expressive showing varietal fruit notes, like mature black berries. Mediterranean herbs, like thyme, fennel, rosemary and even a slight scent of lavender. Complex, in terms of the roasted notes found, chocolate and balsamic.It is powerful and elegant on the palate with a broad and intense entry, good acidity and polished tannins. It has a long finish with aromatic retronasal memories of spice, red fruit, herbs, wildflowers and light toast. Soul in a bottle! Love this Super Catalan!

DSC_0461Sileo 2013, 80% Garnacha and 20% Samsó

This IS the color of dark cherry! Some purple hues, clean and clear. Thick and abundant tears. The nose is clean and honest aromas of red and black fruit appear, strawberries and blackberries on a slightly spicy background which highlights the vanilla and coconut and light smoky notes. The palate is fresh, satiny, with sweet tannins and well integrated with the alcohol. It is a powerful, elegant and expressive wine, which blends red fruit with notes of pastry and fine woods. Long aftertaste where the fruit blends with notes of wood. Got to love this one!

0001692_HLaurel 2012, Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha and Syrah

Dark cherry color with cardinal red reflections. Clean and bright, abundant tears. High intensity nose, expressive, full, concentrated and enjoyable. Ripe black fruit dominates and gives way to floral notes, spicy, toasted (which after a while become roasted) and deep minerals. The palate has a powerful entrance with a lot of volume. It is a fleshy red wine, with great weight deriving from the fruit, tasty, unctuous step, with excellent acidity and ripe tannic sensation. Balanced, long finish and very persistent. Laurel 2012 comes from the small winery Clos i Terrasses, led by Daphne Glorian, creator of the legendary and excellent Clos Erasmus. Laurel 2010 is a blend of Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, aged for 15 months in second year barrels, in which the Clos Erasmus was aged. Recommend decanting about two hours. Another true Super Catalan!

Ay de mi 2010,Vins del tros,Terra Alta,Spain,vino-vi.com,-400x400Ay De Mi 2010, Garnacha Negra and Syrah

Oye Como Va, means “Hey how’s it going”….., Ay De Mi translates to “Oh My!”. And f I was a lazy bugger, which I admit to being at times, I would simply conclude the tasting with just that….., Oh My!!! Aromatic, well made and tasty are words that immediately come to mind! But let me be a bit more specific. The color is cherry red with purple edges. Tears that stain the glass. Primaries of black fruit with hits of spices, cinnamon and vanilla. Delicate notes of aromatic herbs and licorice at the background. Ample and rich on the palate with high presence of very ripe fruit, red sauce, ground pepper, cinnamon and caramel latte. Polished tannins and earthy feeling to end. The Garnatcha Negra and Syrah for this cool wine comes from the D.O. of Terra Alta. From vines growing at 400 meters in elevation with significant temperature fluctuations from day to night, this is a cool and balanced wine. It has aged for 12 months in barrels 50% newer and 50% older. Try with savory roasts, braises, and rich, meaty fare.

And then there was only 1 to go, tomorrow is the last day of 365 in a row!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

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Cava Hotel Mas Tinell, Bottle of Wine in D.O. Penedes

376/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Penedes – Vilafranca del Penedes – Cava & Hotel Mas Tinell – Gisele 2011

Bottle of Wine……..,

Gisele-webGisele 2011, Xarel.lo and Muscat

Very brilliant, golden yellow with light gold reflections, a really nice color. Medium intensity nose with clean and fresh citrus accents, floral notes, white stone fruit, slightly smoky, nutty and well integrated wood. Very pleasant nose that continues with some tropical fruit such as lychee, banana and pineapple. On the palate, it is unctuous and complex with balanced acidity. Slightly greasy texture that provides good body to the wine. It has a very expressive retronasal finish ennobled by the slight wooden undertones from the barrel aging from one of the varieties, Some of the Xarel.lo wine was fermented in French oak barrels with subsequent battonage. It is complex and evolves by releasing different aromatic tones once opened. It lingers in the mouth, very unctuous, with toasty and spicy hints.

The Bottle…..,

…… people in the bottle, there’s people livin’ in the bottle. Well, maybe not living there but at least visiting for a while and enjoying five star service. Hotels can have many shapes and forms, I know, it used to be my line of work. Many years with boutique hotels in both Europe and Africa, and I still haven’t seen what I saw in Vilafranca del Penedes, people living in a bottle. Marketing ploy or just another expression of Spanish design?

Techo-Hotel-Mas-TinellMany wineries all over Spain have been designed by famous architects but not just for the sake of creating a beautiful building, but also something that works, both environmentally and when it comes to the workability as a winery. In the case of Mas Tinell, it is a two step project. The winery as such has existed for quite some time but the current owners acquired it 1989 and only recently, in 2013 they opened what must be one of the coolest looking hotels in the area!

DSC_0849Have you heard of Mas Tinell in Vilafranca del Penedes? If you have, then you know that it is a unique building. A 5 star hotel remarkable for its peculiar shape, which resembles two rows of bottles of cava put into rhyme. It is a project of the architects Josep Lluís Juanpere and Escamis (GCA Arquitectes ) who won the Gold Medal in the 2011 “Shanghai International Interior Design Festival.

cava-hotel-mastinellAmongst building materials, ceramics highlights a clear identification with the Modernism of Antonio Gaudí, which decorates the roof, achieving an impressive aerial view and in complete harmony with the carpet of vineyards stretching through the Penedes. What’s more, it is also a sustainable building. Visiting a place like this is not only about wine, but also ecotourism and spoiling oneself. The building has cross ventilation, rainwater is reused and it has a biomass boiler.

DSC_0870A good example of sustainable architecture, which in turn respects the environment and the environment in which it is located. The idea of ​​integrating the environment of a building with vines, being that the land surrounding the property is all vineyards and the way that the bottles are stacked during fermentation in rhyme (second fermentation) is what captured my attention the first time I drove past it.

cava-hotel-mastinell-1How would you like to spend a night or two in a bottle? I know I for one, wouldn’t mind that notion at all! There are a total of 11 guest rooms and 1 suit, so it is to be considered a boutique hotel. All rooms are designed in a way so that the guests feel like they are sleeping in a wine bottle.

cava_hotel_mas_tinell_habitacio_0016-1The circular shapes all over are illustrating bubbles.  It is comfortable, spacious and welcoming and the ground floor restaurant serves some amazing courses. A part from the guest rooms and restaurant, there is also a tasting room and a convention center for up to 160 people.

DSC_1002However, it is not only for its exterior shape and its relationship with the environment that makes it unique. As you well may know, it is located in the region of Penedès, an area that enjoys a typical Mediterranean climate ideal for growing grapes. This region is home to approximately 95 % of all Cava elaborated. It is for this reason that the setting of the hotel is one of the best for those who want a true wine tourism experience in situ.

All the rooms are named after grapes. Nice touch! This one is Trepat.

The Mas Tinell is a small winery with a clear Mediterranean spirit, sociable, active, very natural and current, yet respectful and identified with the tradition of the land and has been all these things during their 25 years of existence.

The bubbles are everywhere!

Mas Tinell was founded in 1989 . Its headquarters, surrounded by vineyards and built in traditional architectural style of a Catalan farmhouse, houses modern facilities featuring cutting edge technology to produce white wines, Cava and red wines of exceptional quality and limited production.

DSC_0862

During the visit I was very well received by the young but commited General Manager of the hotel and also got to meet with the wine maker and the winery workers. This is certainly a place I’m going to return to, to enjoy a nice meal with some great wines and to stay a night in the bottle!

9 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

Masia Barthomeus, The Shadow Of Your Smile in D.O. Penedes

373/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Penedes – El Vendrell – Barthomeus – Barthomeus Rosé 2013

The Shadow Of Your Smile………,

rosat (kopia)Barthomeus Rosé 2013, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon

Lovely bright red colour with violet trimmings. It has a lively red fruit aroma and forrest berries stand out. Some fresh strawberry, rose and hibiscus aromas that are mirrored on the palate. Pomegranates, red currants and a touch of lychee. A lovely display of aromas. On the palate it is massive and complete. It has a good acidity, astringency and freshness. With its dry finish and balanced acidity, this Rosé is perfectly suited for al fresco dining and lighter fare. Serve chilled, between 11 and 13°C.

1376359_674653149219006_1909150598_nThe masia Barthomeus is currently owned and operated by the family of Llasat, a constellation of three siblings. It was probably acquired by Bartomeu Minguella whose name is still preserved in the historical records of the mansion. Three generations earlier, in 1635, the forefather was Joan Castanyer. He was a farmer and lived in El Vendrell in his ancestral house in the High Street of the town, which is still kept in order and where the original wine cellar has been preserved.

DSC_0022-optim-940x450In 1911 the great grandfather, Joan Recasens Minguella, was one of the founders of the “Cooperativa del Vendrell” and he was the first president of this, in the days, high producing wine cooperative. The father of todays generation, Carles Llasat, followed in his fathers footsteps and fifty years later became the President as well. Now, the three Llasat siblings, with the support of their mother are following the ancestral path and not only are they cultivating the vineyards but also elaborating wines.

CCI14012013_00002optim-940x450Masia Barthomeus has a property of 30 Ha. and is situated between 28 and 50 m. above sea level, in close proximity to the Mediterranean coast and not far from Via Agusta, the ancient Roman trade route of Catalonia. Its surface is covered by vineyards, olive trees and carob trees, Mediterranean forest of Aleppo pines, Kermes Oak and with an important amount of palmetto and some American aloes. All together it is like an island of green in the middle of an urban zone which becomes a fauna refuge fighting the influence of humans.

1074895_1424145954469863_1212772362_oIn 2001 they decided to go against the progressive degradation of the surroundings and with the aim of preserving its biodiversity, they obtained for that an extension of 50 Ha. to be declared REFUGE OF WILD FAUNA, that is to say, a protected natural zone, by the Department of Environment of the Generalitat de Catalunya. In 2012 they slowly began to turn all viticulture into ecological growing, under CCPAE (Catalan Council of Ecological Protection).This culture excludes all sorts of chemical treatment (herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers) which damages the fauna too, in order to keep an ecological balance.

DSC_0062optim-940x450The masia Bartomeu has 15 Ha. of vineyard distributed on 18 parcels of different dimensions. They are distributed in two different zones which are almost equal: one of them looks to the sea somewhat higher than the Sant Salvador shore; the other is situated behind the little hill where the masia stands and looks at the little village of San Vicenç de Calders. The different locations have their own microclimates. The one looking at the sea receives the see-breeze and the other one doesn’t.

Marge-1-580x350There are two different varieties of red grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. This decision was taken many years ago when it was realized that this land had been ground for red grapes. In fact, some of the vineyards of Cabernet Sauvignon are among the oldest in el Baix Penedès because they were planted in 1987 and have adapted themselves extraordinarily well to this place.

Presentacio2_optim1The vineyards were born more than 2000 years ago. As the archaeological remains tell us, the “masia” (farm house) Barthomeus was built by the Iberian people and in the V century they traded with the Greek and Carthaginians and later with the Romans and all of them left their traces here, especially the last ones.

ceramica3-940x450The great quantity of Iberian, Punitian and Roman amphoras coming from these peoples clearly show that the trade of wine had been very important in that little Roman “villae” where the masia Barthomeus now stands. Imagination has no boundaries and I can easily ponder about how the Romans traveled through this landscape and during such journeys needed shelter, a hotel if you wish. They would probably be welcomed at the Barthomeus mansion to spend a night or two and enjoy some wine and dinner. Today, you are able to do the same as the family have built a separate agroturistic house on their land, which is possible to rent. Welcome to my hood!

12 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

Agust and Gaig, Jingle Bells in D.O. Penedes

368/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Penedes – Pairing at Gaig with Agust – Rocaplana 2011

Jingle Bells……..,

…….., all the bells were ringing on all cylinders yesterday as the annual Christmas wine tasting and paring took place at Restaurant Gaig in Barcelona. Arranged, for the third time, by Augustin Palome Garcia it tends to be a popular event and let me tell you that the quality of wine and food you get is amazing, especially considering what you pay! Next year I have decided to be in the kitchen as my very dear friend Augustin takes care of the wine tasting. Not that we are going to beat Señor Gaig but we’ll certainly give it a good try. Agustin is a guy who lives and breathes wine, at times it is quit difficult to conduct a normal conversation with him as anything said could end up being connoted with wine, not that I mind!

Rocaplana 2011Rocaplana 2011, 100% Syrah

Cherry color with a violet rim. The nose is powerful. Aromas of black fruit (blackberry, currant and ripe plum) on a spicy and mineral background with hints of black pepper and tobacco. Dairy notes are present, providing a sweet sensation. The palate is nice with a full bodied yet soft experience. Silky tannins and aromas of ripe fruit. The end is refreshing and sweet.

gaig-barcelona

The gastronomic tour of Carles Gaig has its ups and downs, but mostly ups. He started his kitchen days by taking over the family restaurant in Horta in the early 70s. Got his first Michelin star in 1993 at the same restaurant and then Gaig and his wife and maitre Fina Navarro moved to Hotel Cram in 2004 to open a gourmet restaurant, which they operated for nearly ten years with great success. In 2013 they finally left that location to merge into a new project with Jordi Cruz. Totally renovated and under the name of Gaig, the new restaurant combines traditional cuisine with creative dishes, making this a gourmet restaurant to visit more than once. As always, Carles Gaig personally selects the products at the Mercat de la Boqueria to be able to offer a dining experience of the highest quality. He is still working actively in the kitchen and he’s very keen on meeting the diners as often as possible.

IMG_2135Agustin and Gaig came together perfectly with regards to the pairing of wine and food. Six wonderful wines together with six excellent plates, what more can one wish for! I am already looking forward to next years pairing and I can already promise it will be something special!

IMG_2146

17 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

Clos Lentiscus, Take Me As I Am in D.O. Penedes

365/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Penedes – St. Pere de Ribes – Clos Lentiscus – Sumoll Reserva Familia Brut Nature

Take Me As I Am………,

V462_V658Sumoll Reserva Familia Brut Nature, 100% Sumoll

Amazing golden colored body with faint pinkish reflections and a delicate rosary of fine bubbles which rise slowly forming a nice crown. Delicate aromatics of red berries. Fragrant and ripe strawberry notes together with a background of harmonious fruit aromatics that are followed by subtle aging notes. This sparkling wine has divine pastry aromas, some toasted notes, and nuanced dry herbs. As the label says Brut Nature, dry sensations are to be expected and this is a dry and crisp Cava. Delicate fruit taste, raspberries, strawberries and some mature apple, leaning towards the taste of  a great cider. There is a creamy and fine effervescence that is accompanied by a perfect and well-balanced acidity. The finish is silky and persistent with subtle mineral touches. This Blanc de Noirs has an incredibly well-structured palate. You want a great Cava for Christmas? Look no further! Price is great and you can easily combine it with a number of dishes, from fish to meat or why not as a aperitif?

Click on the photo to see more pictures from Clos Lentiscus! Enjoy!

Click on the photo to see more pictures from Clos Lentiscus! Enjoy!

This Cava has been crafted from the red grape varietal Sumoll. The Sumoll grapes were harvested off of grapevines that were planted in 1939 at the La Torrentera vineyards in the mountains of the Massís del Garraf Natural Park. These grapevines are planted on soils with low fertility and high levels of minerals. All of the Sumoll grapes used to produce this Brut Nature Reserve Cava were harvested by hand. The harvest was done at dawn when the grapes were still cool. The grapes were then delicately pressed at the winery to avoid the must from receiving pigmentation, making this a Blanc de Noir. During the vinification, local yeasts were added. The very brief alcoholic fermentation took place in oak barrels. The second fermentation, (Methode Traditionnelle) lasts a minimum of 30 months.

Wine Lovers hang-out at Clos Lentiscus this Sunday, the 14th of December! I will be there, why not come and try some great wines and Cava?

Wine Lovers hang-out at Clos Lentiscus this Sunday, the 14th of December! I will be there, why not come and try some great wines and Cava?

20 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

Partida Creus, Slow in D.O. Penedes

364/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Penedes – Bonastre – Partida Creus – Partida Creus Garrut 2010

Slow……..,

partidacreus_garrut-e1372523071760Partida Creus Garrut 2010, 100% Garrut

Dark cherry color, somewhat ¨dirty, opaque. Pungent aroma of black fruits, blackberry and mature blueberry, accompanied by wet forrest aromas and mineral notes, delightful creamy sensations of toffee and some carob, balsamic and sweet herbs. The palate is medium bodied, with lively tannins and good acidity, fresh and balanced. Pleasant and persistence aftertaste. A unique wine from Partida Creus and the Italian connection! One of my newly found favorites.

IMG-20111002-00177-800x600Slow food, slow wine, slow life………, Antonella and Massimo have found the perfect life for them and the time is ripe to share the experiences with likeminded food and wine lovers. Is it the village of Bonastre that makes people that come here behave in a certain way? Is it a magical place that collects crazy wine and food artists? I don´t know the answer to those questions, but what I do know is that every single product coming from this small village in the Massis de Bonastre, is well made and, during its infancy, given great care. Ecological, organic, biodynamic and natural is what you can expect if you’re ever so lucky to experience this little piece of heaven!

DSC_0303Bonastre, a small town located in the area know as Baix Penedès but more importantly, and as people from the village make sure to point out, within the Massis de Bonastre. Here, remarkable things take place as it has become a Mecca for small artisan wineries, making amazing wines without impacting the environment. Over the past few years several small cellars have made their mark in the wine loving community of Catalonia and slowly, the world is following. I have in a couple of earlier posts made you aware of Sicus, from the same village, now it is time for Partida Creus and soon to follow, Cal Lluisot!

DSC_0304Partida Creus is a small artisanal winery touching the very border of Bonastre. Here they have a limited production of wines, made exclusively by using grapes which have been organically cultivated. This is the initiative of two Italians, Antonella Gerosa and Massimo Marchiori. Besides adhering to the philosophy and methods of preparation based on respect for the nature, the main asset of this winery is its contribution to recover a wine heritage that was practically extinct. Massimo is constantly on the lookout for vineyards that have been abandoned, in most cases consisting of traditional local varieties, locating the owner and convincing him/her to leave it in the hands of Massimo to make wine.

DSC_0313Most likely, the Garrut grape variety would be considered the most special one and if you hear Massimo talk about it, you’ll notice how his eyes smile the whole time! The Garrut is a sub-varietal of the Monastrell/Mourvedre or, depending who you ask, a direct synonym. This is a Mediterranean variety well adapted to dry and warm climates. The preparation of the grapes undergo a maceration during four days. The fermentation is done with indigenous yeasts and the resulting wine remains on its lees in stainless steel tanks for three months, to promote greater structure and creaminess, it is clarified by decantation and bottled unfiltered.

DSC_0315This wine is a very personal project of Massimo and Antonella, and weather you like it or not, you will have a opinion. It is a wine that makes people talk, to each other and about the wine. A wine that needs time to open up, being sweet and easy to drink, quite distinct, offering more than enough density and thus (with the tannic structure it has) certainly being a wine to keep for a few years. This is an alternative (if you are looking for a different wine) to many ¨conventional¨ wines, a character of its own and a story that is movie material. The Italian couple of Bonastre will in any case make you feel right at home and you will be charmed by their personalities and broad smiles. Got to love Bonastre and the Italian connection!

DSC_031721 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

Can descRegut, Bitter Sweet Symphony in D.O. Penedes

361/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Penedes – Vilobi del Penedes – Can descRegut – Vermell 2012

Bitter Sweet Symphony…….,

vermell-2012_f_10006987Vermell 2012, 100% Red Xarel.lo

Vibrant yellow-orange color. Equally vibrantly nose, where apple aromas are found comfortably nestled on a citrus background, reminiscent of lime. Some green touches, laurel and a hint of geranium. Medium-bodied, smooth and elegant flavor. Balanced acidity and a slight bitter hint which is actually quite nice. It pairs well with cheeses and with oven baked fish.

Can DEscregutCold maceration of the skins for about 48hours, to extract the aromas of the varietal and some of the color.  A static clearing of the must is then carried out at 14ºC and the alcoholic fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks. After fermentation it ages with its lees for 4 months. 100% Red Xarel.lo. The Red xarel.lo is a genetic mutation of the White Xarel.lo. It is rarely cutivated in the central Penedès region. It comes from old vines, planted 60 years ago, producing less grapes but with more taste concentration. The grape skin is red, and thicker than the White Xarel.lo, giving a different taste.

 

010c5670990903fea0d8c88858a804e9_400x400Can Descregut is an old traditional farmhouse, restored in 1990, when it became a winery to produce wine and Cava. This project works with young vineyards of traditional white varieties like Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel·lo and the Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon when it comes to red varieties. As explained above, they also have a very small plot of the Red Xarel.lo or as it is called here in Catalunya, Xarel.lo Vermell. They have 50 hectares of vineyards, all ecological. The most striking peculiarity of the visit to the facilities of Can Descregut is its zoo, where they have a lot of animals, both domestic and exotic. It is possible to take a walk to see the zoo, especially attractive for children. The visitors can see the whole process of wine and Cava making, from the vineyard to the bottle. The owners of the company are responsible for giving the didactic explanations and take you for a tour of the property. Furthermore, they offer the possibility to have a meal at the estate, a calçotada or barbecue, depending on the time of year.

24 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours