Temps de Vi, Shining Star in D.O. Penedes

337/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Penedes – Avinyonet del Penedès – Mas Comtal – Lyric 1993

Shining Star……..,

Time for wine, isn’t it always? Another day, another wine tasting. And why not share the Shining Star of Penedes with you……. This time with sommelier Oscar Villagarcia, one of the organizers of one of the top wine fairs in Catalonia. Temps de Vi. With regards to his wine tasting, all I can say is that it was done in a very professional manner. Six lovely wines were tasted and five of them are in time getting a posting each, except the Bru de Verdu 2012, which has already been covered.

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I’m starting of in the wrong end, with the last wine, a dessert wine but this was the winner for me and even though the tasting took place on Sunday evening, I still have the taste of the wine on my tongue. The setting was also spectacular, in an old city palace/town house with a grand entrance and a wonderful staircase leading up to the tasting room. Outside, on the village square, the November fair was going on, with local produce and music. If you would like to know more about todays winery, just follow the link!

mas-comtal-lyric-9471Lyric 1993, 100% Merlot

The color is dark amber, has a red streak to it and could be described as Tawny colored. The nose is a A – Z library of aromatic experiences. What stands out especially are the roasted notes from the barrel aging, mature forest fruit, berries and dried figs, apricot, peach and toasted hazelnuts. The palate is moderately dense and not too sweet, in any case, not sticky. The 19º alcohol is perceived, without being overwhelming or disturbing the overall experience in any way. It is comparable to……., well nothing really, but if I’d have to venture a description, it would have to be; Tokay meets Port meets Jerez. But this is really very unique beverage with refreshing acidity, carrying the aromas from the nose to the palate. What really stands out, is the length, which is almost eternal and where the multiple nuances, roasting, fruit and balanced sweetness come together in perfect harmony. This wine was the last of the evening and had us talking, inspiring us to word we hardly use, as only the best of wines can do!

It is a unique fortified wine which has been produced using the Merlot variety, following fortified liqueur wine methodology that partially ferments the must and then, tops it off with a grape alcohol from the same harvest. In this way, an excellently stable wine is achieved that is rich in sugars and with a high alcohol percentage. Over a 15-year period, small quantities in 225 litre casks have been made each year, following the aging process which characterizes the great fortified wines of Jerez. Hence, the wine has an age of 15 years. Recommended for marrying with foie gras appetizers. A good companion for strong blue cheeses. Ideal for pouring over a selection of fresh fruits and also a perfect combination with almond catanies, truffles and nuts.

Joan Milà, also known as “the Merlot Magician”, surprises us once again. This is the first FORTIFIED WINE elaborated by Joan and Albert, the result of a winemaking project of more than 15 years’ standing; a project that started with the harvest of ’93, coinciding with the beginning of a new era for the family estate. On this occasion, they have named it LYRIC, in reference to the poetry in which elemental and affective, sentimental and emotional tones predominate. A genre without its own metre and rhyme schemes. Utterly appropriate for this new project, which instead of following the rules results from a dream. Sweet wine with an extremely limited production. Spring 2008 saw the bottling of two hundred 50cl bottles, using a glass top to ensure its preservation and to prevent any unpleasant taste from corking. This is a true Signature Organic Wine and another Super Catalan!

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DSC_096151 to go!

 

Mas Comtal, L’italiano in D.O. Penedes

192/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Penedes – Avinyonet del Penedès – Mas Comtal – Antistiana Incrocio Manzoni 2012

L’italiano………,

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….., let me sing, with the guitar in hand, let me sing, I’m an Italian, a true Italian….., no, not me but the grape variety we are about to cover. Incrocio Manzoni, not Catalan but happy in Catalonia, so this time we’ll be exploring this little hybrid, which I now have had the fortune to try twice, from two different wineries in the Penedes region. To put an additional twist to the story, the tasting was conducted in Stockholm only yesterday. As usual, the wine comes first, the circumstances to follow.

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Antistiana 2012, 100% Incrocio Manzoni

Bright straw yellow colour. The nose transmits fresh aromas of citrus, herbs like rosemary and a likeable saltiness. This is a very Mediterranean style wine but with something that doesn’t really “fit the bill” to be fully considered a typical middle sea wine. It carries saltiness that reminds me of one wine and then some minerals and floral notes which awakens other memories, of other wines. It is strange in a way, very magical, how it changes throughout the tasting. Some expressive mature white fruit, pear and peach. It is full-bodied, flavoursome and very well balanced, elegant on the palate. Splendid and unique, nothing like it really. Well made and high accolades for price/quality.

Yesterdays tasting room at Grappe in Stockholm!

Yesterdays tasting room at Grappe in Stockholm!

Checking e-mail, realizing that there is a invitation to partake in a tasting of Catalan wines in Stockholm, who am I to say no? Three lovely ladies following their passion for wine, deciding to share “their” Catalonia with Swedish wine lovers, bringing new experiences and their own discoveries, how can that go wrong? From the outset, they are right on the money. Go to Catalonia, visit wine cellars, taste, taste and then taste some more wines. Bring the ones most likeable to Sweden and then conduct several more tastings with sommeliers and wine lovers. Hopefully they will listen to my humble opinion and share this amazing Incrocio Manzoni with the  rest of Sweden. I wish them all the best  and thank them for a lovely evening! What is Incrocio Manzoni? A grape I say, but there is a little bit more to the story!

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Incrocio Manzoni or Manzoni grapes is a family of grape varieties named after Professor Luigi Manzoni (1888-1968) of Italy’s oldest school of oenology located in Conegliano, in the Veneto region. Manzoni created the new grape varieties by selecting, crossing and grafting vines from various vineyards during the 1920s and 1930s. The family includes both white and red grape varieties. Although most Manzonis are grown in northeastern Italy, they are mainly grown in the Piave area of Provincia di Treviso and are only now starting to be sold commercially in Europe and the United States.

Luigi Manzoni

Luigi Manzoni

The name Incrocio is Italian for crossing with the second part of the name usually being the last name of the grape breeder. This means that not every Incrocio grape variety are Manzoni grapes with varieties such as Incrocio bianco Fedit 51 (a Garganega and Malvasia bianca Lunga crossing), Incrocio Bruni 54 (a Sauvignon blanc and Verdicchio crossing) and Incrocio Terzi 1 (a Barbera and Cabernet Franc crossing) being mostly unrelated to Professor Manzoni or his crossings. The numbers after grape type refer to location of the vineyards for the original grafts; for example, 6.0.13 refers to the row, vine and vineyard.

Mas Comtal vineyards during winter!

Mas Comtal vineyards during winter!

Manzoni bianco or Incrocio Manzoni 6.0.13, is a white variety which is a crossing between Riesling and Pinot blanc that was created through a series of trials between 1930 and 1935. In 2005, it was speculated that Chardonnay, instead of Pinot blanc, was the second parent of Manzoni bianco but DNA analysis has shown that Professor Manzoni’s original crossing is, indeed, Manzoni bianco’s parentage.The grape is also known under the further synonyms I.M. 6.0.13, Incrocio Manzoni 6.0.13, Manzoni 6.0.13 and Manzoni Bijeli in Croatia.

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The wine above is the fourth vintage of Incrocio Manzoni, a little known variety in Spain, which Joan Mila “discovered” and fell in love with on one of his trips to Italy. It has been implemented t the local vineyards and is now giving of descent yield at the property of Mas Comtal, providing wines with complexity, coming from the Pinot Blanc, and aromatic strength of the Riesling. In addition to which it is abundantly clear that these wines has great ageing potential. Simply, a wine that has to be tried. Only but huge downside……., only 1.995 bottle produced of the 2012 vintage!

189 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle