Celler Abadal, You Don’t Know Like I Know in D.O. Pla de Bages

138/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Pla de Bages – Avinyo – Celler Abadal – Abadal Seleccio 2006

You Don’t Know Like I Know…..

….., the dust in Falset is just about to set, as the last day of the annual wine fair is coming to it’s end. For me, the tasting and writing continues but I also have to start focusing on the fair I’m helping to organize here in the village of Llorenc del Penedes. The fair is covering the Baix Penedes region and only ten cellars are going to be here to display their wines. I am happy to be part of this event, especially since it is taking place a couple of hundreds meters from my house. All of this, and more, to come in future blog posts, in the not to distant future. For now, let’s create some awareness for D.O. Pla de Bages, a rather unknown appellation, but with some exciting wines! 10171091_679929662067879_4974058619986948118_n

1199….., The historic estate of Mas Roqueta in Santa Maria d’Horta d’Avinyó, belonging to the municipality of Avinyó in the Bages region of Central Catalonia, has been documented back to 1199. Nestled among the woods, the estate has been witness to the growing of vines as the main agricultural activity, being the traditional crop of the area.

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The Roqueta family story is the story of wine growers. Origins date back to the 12th century, although there are traces of wine-growing activity during the Roman era. It tells of generations of wine-lovers, devoted exclusively to the task of wine growing, handed down to the generations of today. Valentin Roqueta founded Abadal in 1983 at Santa María de Horta de Avinyó, in the family vineyards close to the old Mas Roqueta.

blog-abadal-banner

The winery has modern facilities, where it works to recover the winemaking tradition in enriching the D.O. of Pla de Bages, with renewed vision. The grape selection is rigorous and the harvest is done according to the variations of the vineyards and the different degrees of maturation.

ABADAL_LOGO

The winery combines modern technology with the twelfth-century farmhouse, in perfect harmony. The farm house is now a museum, open to visits. In the old cellar, Sant Ramon, tastings are conducted, barrel tastings, the wines of Abadal and especially the Picapoll, that is a variety native to Pla de Bages.

Picapoll negre

Historically, dating back to the 17th century, Picapoll is a grape varietal native to the Languedoc area of France that has currently found its way to the northeast portion of Spain in Catalonia. Found as a red, white and gray varietal, the white varietal is currently the most often planted. This time I decided to introduce a red, one of few, from the D.O. of Pla de Bages which I consider to be a keeper. Enjoy!

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Abadal Seleccio 2006, 40% Cabernet Franc, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 20% Syrah

My kind of wine! Grown up with all the right properties and with one of my (many) favorite grapes. Thank you Cabernet Franc! Lovely cherry color with garnet rim.Ripe nose of red fruit, mature with nice spice and some mineral notes. Juicy and sweet fruitiness. Very balanced and with great and nicely integrated tannins. A bottle shared with a friend, some slow talk and that’s an great evening right there. Add some food and the evening becomes excellent!

241 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

Pascona Pirate Party, Drink Up Me Hearties in Falset

136/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Costers del Segre – Battliu de Sort – Borda de Cebria – Biu Blanc 2012

Drink Up Me Hearties…..,

….., Drink up me hearties, yo ho! Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me! A toast to piracy and its many shiny rewards. As a career, what could be more rewarding?”  Are YOU in your happy place? Your office? My happy place is  my office! Yesterday, this was the best party to be at, only wish that all of you scallawag goat-herders were here!

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This is my office, or one of many office spaces I occupy. Welcome to my life! Where is the best place to be on a Thursday afternoon? Right here in my office! This time in Falset, Pascona Montsant Estate, where Toni hosted a Pirate party, with a twist?

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Well yes, since the rum wasn’t flowing bit the wine sure was! A couple of hundred friends got together and had a ball, Jack Sparrow was there as well, where else would he be, as the wine was free!?! Visca Pascona Montsant!

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A bunch of wine cellars where present, as the party was also a mini fair for local, Catalan, wineries! From D.O. Montsant, Celler Comunica, D.O. Priorat showed up with L’Infernal, D.O. Costers del Segre with Celler Batlliu de Sort. Cellers Som i Serem came, saw and conquered, from D.O. Tarragona. Mes Que Paraules from D.O. Pla de Bages and Finca Parera from D.O. Penedes. D.O. Emporda was represented by Terrer d’en Tassis, Celler Mas Foraster from D.O. Conca de Barbera and finally Cellers Frisach from D.O Terra Alta! Not a bad bunch, considering they are all Pirates!

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The brewery of Moritz might have felt out of place but let me tell you, a beer after all that wine was just what I needed! I am very please that nine of the Catalan appellations were represented. The only ones missing were D.O. Cava, D.O. Catalonia and D.O. Alella. Would have been nice with someone from Alella, but as Cava and Catalonia as D.O:s are more generic, they can be excused!

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This is exactly what an office party in my neighborhood looks like. A nice theme, some great wines and excellent finger food! The DJ played all the right tunes, the atmosphere was just the right kind and many, many friends were around! It almost got to be crowded at the office, which is very rare since the office, most of the time, is outdoors!

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Next year I’m dressing up as Hector Barbossa, just gonna let the beard grow and get a sword! Let the good times roll.

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Biu Blanc 2012, Riesling and Viognier

Bright yellow with thin greenish, thick and slow tears. Aromas of citrus, notably lemons and some grapefruit, white fruits, pears and green apples and soft touches of mountain herbs, anise and something reminiscing of dry flowers. The palate has good and fresh entry, remarkable structure with very distinct sour notes, good acidity, lime and lemon peel, hints of white fruit, hint of alcohol and some bitter notes. Long aftertaste.

243 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

Hotel Hostal-Sport, Just Becaus D.O. Pla de Bages

110/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Pla de Bages – Tasting in Falset – Hotel Hostal-Sport – Collbaix 2011 Singular

Just because…….

…. once again, Hostal-Sport hosted a tasting of wines from one of the 12 appellations in Catalonia. Yesterday it was time for D.O. Pla de Bages. Heard of it? No! Well, now you have and believe me, Pla de Bages is a appellation you are going to be very aware of in the near future. Fresh, fruity and well made wines at decent prices, that’s what we like! Enjoy!

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The Pla de Bages is a fertile plain located in an area of mythical mountainous landscapes such as Montserrat, the mountains of Castelltallat, the Nature Reserve of Sant Llorenç del Munt y l’Obac and the massif of El Montcau. The region, which has an increasingly broad range of leisure and gastronomic activities, has important tourist and cultural attractions, such as the Monastery of Sant Benet de Bages, the saltmines of Cardona, the cave of Sant Ignasi in Manresa and the route of the Acequia route, running alongside a medieval canal.

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It is common to find ancient wine tubs and vineyard huts made of stone. The huts were used by peasants, who often had to stay all day long in the country, to store agricultural tools and to protect themselves from inclement weather. Around 4.000 huts still survive in very good condition, most of which were built coinciding with the great expansion of vineyards in the region.

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With a continental Mediterranean climate, El Bages offers ideal conditions for vine cultivation: an exceptional micro-climate, scant rainfall, great variations in temperature, and a clayey and calcareous soil. The wines are pervaded by soothing touches of lavender, thyme and rosemary – aromatic plants common to the pine, oak and ibex woods surrounding the vineyards.

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Collbaix 2011 Singular, Macabeu and Picapoll

Dark yellow colour with golden reflections, clear and brilliant.  The nose is intense with fruity aromas of tropical fruit. Mango, pineapple,  mature peach and apricot. Continuing and as secondary notes it carries pastry notes, brioche, roasted notes and slight balsamic. The mouth has a good entry, large and bulky. It is long and persistent with good acidity.

271 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

Jaumandreu, More Than Words in D.O. Pla de Bages

86/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Pla de Bages – Fonollosa – Jaumandreu – Nisus 2007

More than words…..,

…., mes que paraules in Catalan, is a wine by Jaumandreu. And indeed no words are needed, not only for this wine in particular, but in many instances, for many wines out there. Sometimes it’s just enough to sit there, with a nice glass of wine in hand, listen to a good song and enjoy. More than words!. You don’t have to say you love me, cause I already know. Hold me close, don’t ever let me go!

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Jaumandreu is a surname with great tradition within wine making of this region. From the twelfth century, the finca (estate) of Jaumandreu, in the D.O. Pla de Bages, has created history and bottled it with excellent results, even though the history in this case is a brief one. Several different generations of professionals working together in magnificent conditions offered by this land for cultivation of vineyards.

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The estate includes a traditional Catalan farmhouse set in a unique environment, among gentle hills, where silence reigns and you can get lost in knowing that this is, in more ways than one, an unique experience. Sometimes, this is all it takes to fall in love with a region, a winery or a wine.

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The winery was founded in 2004 by a multidisciplinary team of professionals in food, marketing, communication and food production, carrying out a project that has already give its first offshoots, wines being accomplished, reflecting their personality but also aesthetics with a sleek and attractive image that refers to the elements of nature that surrounds the property.

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The Jaumandreu project has, within the Pla de Bages, recovered 60 hectares of vineyards with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and local Picapoll. The philosophy is forward thinking, trying to incorporate the best of what the wine world as a whole has to offer. Authenticity, creativity, passion and working together with a modern mind set in this project, that is Jaumandreu!

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In summer it is pleasant to taste the freshness of a classy white wine accompanying meals or just as it is, a nice companion on a hot summer day. The Nisus is made from selected grapes harvested during the optimum moment of ripeness. The two varieties are pressed separately, the wine is kept cold so it can then be clarified.  Nisus is obtained by the process of aging on the lees, the wine is naturally oxygenated and controlled, giving it greater voluptuousness while it maintains natural freshness. This is not a joke, this is a serious wine for the lovers of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay with an oomph!

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Nisus 2007, 60% Sauvignon Blanc and 40% Chardonnay

Light straw color, surprisingly lively and bright. The nose is a very complex mix of honey and ripe peach accompanied by floral and citrus notes associated with a fresh harvest. It has fine and lovely aromas of white fruit, honey, dried figs and hazelnuts. The palate is fresh and creamy with great flavor, intensity and volume. This wine is long and smooth with an explosion of tropical fruit flavors accompanied by wood and elegant floral notes like jasmine. Powerful but delicate. Long and subtle aftertaste. Current but a classic. A great wine to enjoy in the summer. Recommend serving at a temperature between 9 and 11 degrees. Ideal to accompany fish, foie gras, poultry and Iberian ham.

294 to go!

Masies d’Avinyó, Wine Take Me Away, D.O. Pla de Bages

39/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Pla de Bages – Avinyo – Masies d’Avinyo – Abadal Picapoll 2012

Wine Take Me Away……..,

1199….., The historic estate of Mas Roqueta in Santa Maria d’Horta d’Avinyó, belonging to the municipality of Avinyó in the Bages region of Central Catalonia, has been documented back to 1199. Nestled among the woods, the estate has been witness to the growing of vines as the main agricultural activity, being the traditional crop of the area.

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The Roqueta family story is the story of wine growers. Origins date back to the 12th century, although there are traces of wine-growing activity during the Roman era. It tells of generations of wine-lovers, devoted exclusively to the task of wine growing, handed down to the generations of today.

Valentin Roqueta together with Ferran Adria (El Bulli) during a wine pairing!

Valentin Roqueta together with Ferran Adria (El Bulli) during a wine pairing!

Valentin Roqueta founded Abadal in 1983 at Santa María de Horta de Avinyó, in the family vineyards close to the old Mas Roqueta.

blog-abadal-banner

The winery has modern facilities, where it works to recover the winemaking tradition in enriching the D.O. of Pla de Bages, with renewed vision. The grape selection is rigorous and the harvest is done according to the variations of the vineyards and the different degrees of maturation.

ABADAL_LOGO

The winery combines modern technology with the twelfth-century farmhouse, in perfect harmony. The farm house is now a museum, open to visits. In the old cellar, Sant Ramon, tastings are conducted, barrel tastings, the wines of Abadal and especially the Picapoll, that is a variety native to Pla de Bages.

Picapoll negre

Historically, dating back to the 17th century, Picapoll is a grape varietal native to the Languedoc area of France that has currently found its way to the northeast portion of Spain in Catalonia. Found as a red, white and gray varietal, the white varietal is currently the most often planted.

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Picapoll is translated as “lip-stinger’ in French as a result of the high acidity of its must and was the basis of Picardan and Clairette, popular wines that were exported from Languedoc to Northern Europe. Following the invasion of phylloxera, a fungal disease that hit the majority of Northern Europe, plantings of the Picapoll varietal dwindled until the end of the 19th century when hardier, more disease resistant varietals were planted.

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Abadal Picapoll 2012, 100% Picapoll

Pale yellow with light straw coloring and silver highlights. In the nose it is transmitting freshness, with floral notes (jasmine) and ripe fruit, with touches of citrus (grapefruit) and a background of honey and apricot. In the mouth it has a large structure, satiny feel with fresh acidity and hints of terroir. Aged in tanks on lees for 3 months.

335 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

Heretat Oller del Mas, Let’s stay together, D.O. Pla de Bages

18/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Pla de Bages – Manresa – Heretat Oller del Mas – Bernat Oller 2009

Let’s stay together……,

Better together, always, but especially when sharing a bottle of wine! With or without food or a bite to eat, depends on the wine, time of day and mood. The wanting and enjoyment of wine is constantly present. Mostly because of the taste and the combinations once the perfect match has been made. The transformation of the wine can be so very unexpected, in most cases for the better!

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Another part of wine enjoyment is the history and feeling from within, knowing what it takes to make a great wine. Next time you open a bottle of wine, try to understand where it comes from, who made it and other specifics. I bet you’ll enjoy every drop even more! Happy wine days.

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The Catalan wine tour has taken us to Pla de Bages once before, we visited Abadal. We are back but this time for something totally different, the medieval castle of Oller del Mas. In the town of Manresa, in the Montserrat mountains a farm extends over 400 hectares covered by forest and vineyards, known as Mas Oller.

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Painting of Oller del Mas by ERNEST DESCALS

Construction of the castle started during the 10th century and like many castles, expanded with new units during the centuries to come. It has over the recent years been restored entirely.

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Today, The Margenat family is the heiress and curator of the captivating story of Oller. They have with pride and enthusiasm opened the doors to the public, where the millennial history harmoniously coexist with modernity.

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Knights, aristocrats, notables, clergymen, master craftsmen. The leading role is that of Oller del Mas, but the men and women who fought in conquests and re-conquests and, true to their ideals, left their mark on the historical memory of Catalunya, are the heros.

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On the walls of the castle of Mas Oller pieces of a single story: that of Joan, Bernat, Arnau, Jeroni, Jaume, Bonifaci, which are some of the Ollers immortalized in invaluable portraits, painted during the Middle Ages and even today they are part of the family heritage.

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With all this in mind it is easy to imagine that the wines breathe history, authentic Château wines. Oller del Mas makes new colors, flavors and fragrances available to the five senses with the launch of their wine project.  Presenting wines that are a tribute and a reflection of what historical figures projected.

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All wines produced by Mas Oller are made ​​from the best grapes of the estate, with really very limited production and all of them expressing terroir, a climatology, an identity …

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Bernat Oller 2009, 90% Merlot and 10% Picapoll Negre

The wines from this winery enjoy unmatched elegance in the county and Bernat Oller is a good example of it. Bernat Oller is a traditionally made wine, pure Bordeaux style with 90% merlot, a variety well adapted and understood in the area. The Bernat Oller 2009 has been aged for 12 months in barrels (50%) New French oak. Further aging in bottle for 24 months.

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Nose is that of BBQ, caramelized onion, chocolate liqueur and chocolate whiskey, a big nose in 3D.
The feel in the mouth is delicious, clear textures and pure fruit juice effect, a relaxed mouth with sweet and well balanced tannins.
Color is Cherry red with light legs. Nose is clean, complex with red fruit, a hint of spice. Vanilla and coffee. Very fresh in the mouth with good acidity and well integrated tannins.

349 to go!