International Garnacha Day! The Drunkard Song in D.O. Montsant

277/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Montsant – Marçà – Acustic Celler – Auditori 2010

The Drunkard Song………,

auditori-2010-etAuditori 2010, 100% Garnacha

Pure pleasure, and as the top wine of Acustic Celler it displays and conveys the elaboration and terrior to perfection. Grapes from three old Garnacha vineyards, all 70 years and older. A full-bodied sensual sensation, with well ripened red fruits, cherry is clear. I distinguished some licorice  and a little spiciness  with clear oak as it progressed. Medium long finish. Nicely integrated tannins. Could easily stay in my cellar for another 5 – 10 years. The downside…….., not enough bottles on the market!

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The third Friday of September is celebrated as the International Day of Grenache. Coinciding with this important day for all wine lovers, events are organized today and during the weekend to come. This is the fourth year of this initiative, a series of activities for everyone that enjoy a glass or two of Garnacha, Grenache or Garnatxa, as it is referred to in Catalonia. I’ve chosen to open a bottle of Auditori from Acustic Celler! What could possibly go wrong with that choice?

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Grenache is a variety of Mediterranean origin and one of the most cultivated worldwide. In Catalonia, it is estimated that there are about 5,000 hectares planted. Many wines are made with the help of this great grape variety, either as a mono-varietal or blend. It transmits the identity of a region and the expression of a landscape in a perfect way, picking up the different soils and microclimates of the regions in which we can find it: Montsant , Priorat Emporda, Terra Alta Alella, etc. Over centuries, the Grenache vine has produced colour mutation vines with berries of all range of colors, and also the hairy Grenache, in Catalonia called Garnacha Peluda The latter is a clone, originating from the Tarragona region. Grenache can be made with a variety of fruity wines and good acidity from youth to sparkling whites, and also sweets. Grenache Noir is generally spicy, berry-flavored and soft on the palate with a relatively high alcohol content, but it needs careful control of yields for best results. Characteristic flavor profiles on Grenache include red fruit flavors (raspberry and strawberry) with a subtle, white pepper spice note. Grenache wines are highly prone to oxidation with even young examples having the potential to show browning (or “bricking”) coloration that can be noticed around the rim when evaluating the wine at an angle in the glass. As Grenache ages the wines tend to take on more leather and tar flavors.

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As for sharing favourites……, well I guess that’s what I do all days! But just for the heck of it, some of the Garnacha wines I wouldn’t mind having on a a more regular basis could, but not be limited to, be the following; Espectacle 2010,Teixar 2010, Trossos 2011, Cerverola 2011, LLuna Vella 2010, Cims de Porrera GX 2006, Raret 2011 and Mas Plantadeta 2008.

There’s a lot going on in Catalonia to celebrate the Grenache, as well as the Mostra de Vins i Caves de Catalunya, which starts tomorrow in Barcelona, a fair covering Catalan wines and Cava, and does so during four days, 20th to 24th of September. A few players that have dedicated activities to the International Grenache Day are;

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Vineyes Domenech, one of the wineries in Catalonia that promote Grenache. They organizes collaborations with chefs and sommeliers in different restaurants and speciality shops during the Day. Among them, the restaurant Dos Cielos, la Cuina del Guinardó, el Hoffman, Divi i el Colmado Quilez de Barcelona, the restaurant at the Club del Cep d’Arenys de Mar, the Cellar Montserrat de Mataró and the Cellar Florida de Barcelona, Cal Feru de Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, Bodega Jordà de Tarragona, Can Bosch de Cambrils, etc. If you feel for a drive through the countryside, you are certainly welcome to visit Vineyes Domenech, to see for yourself how the Grenache is treated in situ.

Vila Viniteca
Vila Viniteca, a well renowned wine shop in Barcelona, celebrate Friday evening with a tasting of 25 wines made from the variety, including the Tros Negre 2011 (Montsant), Cabrida 2010 (Montsant), Brunus Rosat 2013 (Monsant), L’Equilibrista Garnatxa 2012 (Catalunya), Quike Rosado 2013 (Catalunya), Gamberro Garnatxa Blanca 2011 (Terra Alta), Gotes Blanques 2013 (Montsant), Masia Serra Ino (Empordà), Pansal del Calàs 2010 (Montsant), etc. This tasting is free of charge. Living and working here has its perks, as I have pointed out many times before.

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In addition to the above activities, The Celler Edetària, has posted a contest on their official Facebook page, called the “Grenache Challenge 2014“, where you have a chance to win one of their wines. Enjoy Wine Barcelona are tasting Grenache wines from DO Empordà at The Santa Caterina Market in the Born area of Barcelona, and this is where they normally have their wine tasting activities, Grenache day or not. Now all that remains is to enjoy the day and appreciate the Grenache variety to its fullest! Enjoy!

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107 to go!

Edetària, On The Road Again in D.O Terra Alta

126/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Terra Alta – Gandesa – Edetària – Edetària Seleccio 2012

On the road again…….

……, no better way to spend a Tuesday morning, just after the long Easter break, than with a visit to one of my (many) favorite wine cellars in D.O. Terra Alta. As I have, quite extensively, covered both Edetària and the D.O. of Terra Alta in a previous blog post, here comes some pictures from todays visit and a tasting note of todays preferred breakfast wine.

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My parents in law had the opportunity to meet Joan Lliberia of Edetaria during a promotional (sales) trip to Stockholm, as they were invited by the Swedish Edetaria importer for a tasting. As soon as they landed here in Catalonia they had to visit the place first hand, so we took a road trip, had as splendid time and enjoyed some great wines! Sometimes (most of the time) my line of work is quite nice.

Wine lovers and parents in law, yes...., in that order! Enjoying the Catalan countryside!

Wine lovers and parents in law, yes…., in that order! Enjoying the Catalan countryside!

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During the visit I was also very happy to meet a U.S importer of Catalan wines, trumpetwine.com. Not really blowing his own horn, but certainly trying to make Catalan wines known in the San Francisco area and I wish him great success as he is to receive his first shipment by the end of this summer! You all know by now, that my wish is that you all come over here and drink the wines in situ, but if you can’t make the journey, make sure you try the Catalan wines in one or more, of the outlets in the San Francisco area. Catalonia in California, I quite like that thought!

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Edetària Seleccio 2012, 85% Garnacha Blanca and 15% Macabeo

Edetària is made with a selection of Macabeo and Garnacha from old vines. The wine spends 8 months on new French oak barrels of 300 liters, thus giving it a complexity and unmatched elegance. It is bright straw to light golden in color. The primary nose show some white fruit but also buttery oak, rounded and nice. Floral notes and fine spices. The palate is powerful and smooth, with a long, lingering finish and a salty aftertaste. This a complex and powerful white, perfect for a special occasion, like a breakfast on a Tuesday morning in D.O. Terra Alta!

253 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

 

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

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

Gimme That Wine……..

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

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

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

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

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

– 5.895 hectares planted.

– 1469 vine growers registered, 45 active cellars.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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341 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

Edetaria, Time is on my side, D.O. Terra Alta

Catalonia – D.O. Terra Alta – Gandesa – Edetaria – Edetaria Red Selection 2010

Time is on my side…….

Wonderful day ahead! During 2014 there are many more wines to be tasted. Tonight I’ll be joining 40 wine lovers in Falset at the Hotel-Hostal Sport. Initiated by the owner, Marta Domenech Tomas, we are going to do one tasting per month, each covering one D.O of Catalonia. 12 D.O:s in total, this is my home game!

Preparation for tonight's tasting. Terra Alta here we come!

Preparation for tonight’s tasting. Terra Alta here we come!

Tonight’s tasting is all about D.O. Terra Alta. Staying true to todays theme I am covering one winery, one wine, from Terra Alta as well. So far my plan is working. One wine per day for 365 days, how hard can it be?

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Awarded D.O. status in 1985, Terra Alta is the one wine region located to the very south of Catalonia, within the province of Tarragona. The region has over the years gained reputation for producing some the most interesting wines in Spain, elaborated from the native Garnacha Negra, Garnacha Blanca and Carignena. Todays wine is a red but there will be a write up on the whites from Terra Alta. Why? 80% of Garnacha Blanca produced wines in Spain, come from Terra Alta! If you do something good…….

Garnacha Blanca

Garnacha Blanca

The altitudes here are the highest in the area, with the mountain peaks reaching heights of up to 950 meters. The climate is Mediterranean/Continental, hot long summers and very cold winters. A local dry wind, El Cierzo, originating from the west (The Ebro River), is hugely important  as it moderates the temperatures, providing breezes which prevents fungicides, during the growing season.

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Edetaria is a modern style cellar, purpose build in 2003, with a mind blowing setting in the midst of the vineyards, olive groves and with the backdrop of mountains. Located in the valley of Gandesa to the sounth-west of Priorat.

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The projects is that of Joan Angel Lliberia, one of Terra Altas foremost personalities, prmoting Terra Alta on every possible occassion. His gradfather used to work the vinyerads, producing bulk wine, like most vintners did in the region in those days. The father, Angel, took over and started selling the harvest to the cooperative, during which time Angel studied in France for ten years to become a winemaker.

Father and son!

Father and son!

Terra Alta is the next big thing! A region with a long winemaking tradition, which is now trying to copy the quality and commercial success of Priorat and Montsant, and doing it quite well. Edetaria and Joan Angel, being a top producer in Terra Alta, is leading the way. Varietal expression, low yields, creativity and improvisation are some of the tools used.

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Looking at their logo, you’ll see the letter “t”, laid out horizontally. The “t” stands for terra, which in Catalan means land. Quite nifty I think!

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Being a Single Estate winery, means that they produce wine from their own vineyards. It is a matter of quality control, from grape to bottle, as the philosophy here is that the most important factor in the process is the vineyard.

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Out of the 30 hectares planted, the majority contains Macabeu, Garnacha Blanca, Garnacha Negra, Peluda and Carignena, being native varietals. There is some international varietals as well. Garnacha is the main player, with the Edetaria Edetana being in the forefront, trying to show of the best the Garnacha can offer.

Garnacha Peluda

A small part of the Garnacha Negra has mutated into Garnacha Peluda, which means “hairy”. The back of the leaf has transformed and developed hairs on the back of the leaf, thus retaining the moisture better and enhancing the acidity in the grapes.

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“In the cellar we only work with big barrels to retain the aromas of the terroir. We use only natural yeasts to show the maximum authenticity”, says Joan Angel. The grapes are collected into small crates to cover the short distance to the cellar, trying to keep the as fresh and as cold as possible.

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Fermentation tanks are small (1000 – 9000 litres), designed to keep the different terroirs and grape varieties separate during the winemaking process and fully express the qualities of all the individual plots. Ageing is carried out in 300 litre oak barrels.

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Edetaria Red Selection 2010

The wine is made from 60% “Garnacha Peluda” from a “còdols” soil, 30% Syrah from “vall”soils and 10% Carinena from “tapas” soils. Skin contact takes place for between 20 and 30 days, using both the pump over and push down methods to extract the maximum amount of character from the floating skins.  Each individual variety is then aged in 300 liters French oak barrels for 12 months before being blended and bottled to give a fully rounded and well-balanced whole.

Intense red color, slightly opaque. The primary nose is that of menthol and quite soothing. Red fruits appear, mostly cherries and raspberries there are also notes of spices, and cocoa. Very fresh and lingering nose. On the palate the attack is powerful but silky, round and well integrated tannins. Elegant and well-integrated acidity. Woks well with game and can work with cheeses.

342 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle