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

Celler Masia Can Tutusaus, Fun Out of Life in D.O. Penedés

112/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Penedes – Olesa de Bonesvalls – Can Tutusaus – Cava Tutusaus 1729 Gran Reserva Eco

….., when we want to sing, we sing, when we want to dance we dance, when we want to drink bubbly…, well, yes, then we drink bubbly! We could do all, and even better, at the same time. Sing, dance and have a glass or two of my favorite bubbly in the whole wide world, Cava! Don’t for a moment think that Cava is a inferior product to Champagne, it is not! There are Cavas I wouldn’t drink and there are Champagnes I wouldn’t look at twice, but there are great Cavas out there, if you just take the time and explore, you will find them.

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In 1987, seduced by this familiar, yet fascinating and mysterious piece of land, Joan Badell Badell decided to bottle his first wines and to plant his first trained vines. In 1999 his son, Raimon Badell Rosés, who was then studying oenology and was a close collaborator in the winemaking process, decided to turn to ecological and biodynamical agriculture.

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Since 2006, the oenologist Ferran Gil García has also been taking part in the VallDolina Viticulturists and Winemakers of Can Tutusaus project. Apart from looking after the vineyards most carefully and in a way that is ecologically sustainable, their joint efforts have made possible the production of a white wine, a rosé one, three red ones and three different types of Cava.

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They only work with grapes picked from their own estate, situated between 240m and 360m above sea level, bordering the Natural Park of the Massif of Garraf. The vineyards grow on hills with calcareous-clay soil and produce, on average, some 3500l/h. The climate is Mediterranean, strongly influenced by the vicinity of the sea.

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In addition to the grapes, soil and estate itself, the two man team behind the Tutusaus are Raimon and Ferran. Raimon Badell i Roses is one of those viticulturists who live on the estate, in close relationship with his vineyards and is fully aware that grapes are the main characters in the process of winemaking. When he became involved in it, he decided to do so taking into account the characteristics of the estate so that the wine produced would be enhanced not only by the unique features of the estate, but also by the utmost care with which he treats it.

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His passion comes from his father, enamoured with his land. He has also inherited his father’s dedication to winemaking. As for the rest, it’s all hard work and a wish to excel. Once he finished his studies, he worked in several wine regions all over the world. These were mere steps towards making his dreams come true. Demanding and sensitive, we shall now see where his dreams take him.

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The other partner, Ferran Gill i Garcia was born in the neighborhood of Sants in Barcelona, his ancestors handed him the passion and respect for the land. Through his mother’s family of the olive trees of Jaen, and father’s family side of the Terra Alta vineyards and olives of Arbeca. He finished his higher studies of Horticulture and Food industry, began his professional projection in various companies in the Penedès. After having gained experience, and finished his master’s degree in enology, he simply decided to enjoy his profession, believing at all times in what he does. At this point, the two fellow students, decided to join forces to create something together, a project where the personality, honesty, and knowledge, is found in every bottle.

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Cava Tutusaus 1729 Gran Reserva Eco

Aged in contact with the lees for a period of 36 months. Dark straw yellow to light golden, fine and steady bubbles. Intense first nose, expressing the the aging, some dried fruits appear alongside with ripe fruit and notes of spices. Subtle fragrances of nuts and pastry. Crispy and creamy in the mouth, not aggressive in any way. Spacious and creamy, coupled with a long fruitiness. Retronasal notes confirming long aging. This one I prefer with food and it goes well with cold cuts, duck and white meat.

269 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

Can Ràfols dels Caus, We Have All The Time In The World, D.O. Penedes

35/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Penedes – Avinyonet del Penedes – Can Ràfols dels Caus – El Rocallis 2007

We have all the time in the world…….

About three years ago! Right place right time! Meet with Xavi Nolla as he was introducing me to a winery in Montsant, which I have already covered. At the time Xavi was doing wine tastings every Tuesday at Lola Tapes in Tarragona. We went a couple of Tuesdays to taste some excellent wines and great tapas.

Lola Tapes in Tarragona, wine tasting with Xavi Nolla

Lola Tapes in Tarragona, wine tasting with Xavi Nolla

At the time, the knowledge of Catalan wineries was quite limited so this excellent sommelier was a good source, recommending several cellars! One of them being Can Ràfols dels Caus! Thank you my friend for the tip!

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Only a few days after getting the insight, a phone call was placed and we were off to the massif of Garraf, a national park and protected area, southwest of Sitges, towards Vilafranca and within the D.O. of Penedes.

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Upon arrival we were well received, greeted and shown the sites by Marc Rusca Baena, the in-house sommelier. After this, the first visit, there has been additional ones! And if I decide there will be many more. Will YOU join me next time? Well, that’s all up to you, I’m always available for a visit and tasting at Can Ràfols!

Marc Ruscas Baena and a friend,having a glass or two!

Marc Ruscas Baena and a friend,having a glass or two!

The Garraf wine-growing region is a protected area within the traditional boundaries of the Garraf National Park. The Can Ràfols dels Caus estate is situated at an altitude of 300 m, and stands on a rise between the ravines of two watercourses surrounded by vineyards growing on the terraced slopes. From some of the highest vineyards, such as “la Calma” or “el Rocallís” the sea can be seen, some 15km away.

Don't be surprised if you find fossils while waking around, there are plenty of them!

Don’t be surprised if you find fossils while waking around, there are plenty of them!

This situation is paramount for obtaining healthy grapes, as they are sheltered from the damp air coming in from the coastline, but are equally protected from the sporadic hailstorms in the Sierra of Ordal or the Pre-Coastal mountain range.

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The Garraf Massif has an unusual mesoclimate. The daytime is sun-drenched and hot despite the tempering effect of the sea, which sends in a cooling breeze towards the afternoon. This allows the vines to complete their growth cycle and reach full ripeness.

Automated granite "doors" leading into the winery!

Automated granite “doors” leading into the winery!

Only 50 hectares of this 455-hectare estate are vineyards, 2 hectares being used for olive groves, 1 hectare for almond orchards and the rest for woodland, scrubland and rocky terrain. The size of the single vineyards ranges from 0.15 hectares (the smallest) to 2 hectares (the largest).

Part of the winery exterior

Part of the winery exterior

Can Ràfols dels Caus has always been a forerunner and trend-setter, and some twenty-five years after Carlos Esteva started his wine venture, he decided to take a giant step forward by building a new cellar. The aim was not to squeeze in more vats, barrels and bottles, but to work better.

Carlos and friends welcomed at the winery!

Carlos and friends welcomed at the winery!

With this project, the winery’s potential for producing quality wines has multiplied, as the cellar is now geared to promoting micro-vinifications, separating batches even more and research. The cellar has been designed so that it is completely carved out of the Dolomitic limestone of the Garraf, invisible from above ground and totally integrated into the landscape.

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This would probably be the perfect location for the next James Bond movie. The scoundrel being a crazy wine maker, wanting to take over the world by making his wine so addictive he would have the whole human race in chains! Carlos is slightly crazy, like all artists, but in a good way! To see what he saw, being a visionary, in 1979, is simply “have to see to believe, based”!

Part of the winery interior

Part of the winery interior

This place is simply amazing! The location, the grounds, the mansion, the winery, the whole concept and the wines, oh the wines! Just writing about it………., I might stop writing and set of for a quick visit! Sure, I can write about it, but the only truth is, you have to sample it yourself.

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All I can say is, it will be worth your while! If we were talking Guide Michelin, this would be a 3 star, worth a trip of its own! Enough with the superlatives!

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Can Ràfols dels Caus winery produces a range of wines, most of them are great! Five whites and five reds, 3 Cavas and 2 rose.

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In time, I will cover most of them but for now the chosen wine is El Rocallis. Enjoy!

El Rocallis, 100% Incrrocio Manzione

El Rocallis, 100% Incroccio Manzoni

El Rocallis, Can Ràfols dels Caus, 2007, 100% Incroccio Manzoni

Bright and clear, clear yellow to slight pale gold. Wide watery rims and legs. Clean nose of medium  intensity. Primary aromas of butter, toast and pear. Followed up by ripe apple, cream and honey at the very end. The palate is dry with medium well balanced acidity. Nice texture, medium intensity flavors of apple, butter, tropical fruit (orange peel) and slight yeast/toast. Balanced wine with good complexity, large and long aftertaste, very fresh. Easy to drink and best enjoyed if not served to cold!

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339 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle