Mas Doix, This Is The Life in DOQ Priorat

377/365 – Catalonia – DOQ Priorat – Poboleda – Celler Mas Doix – Salanques 2006

This Is The Life……..,

md_331706_535aaa5d7a8112b2394740a4b0d16210Salanques 2006, 65% Garnacha, 20% Cariñena, remaining 15% is a mix of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot

Cherry red color with garnet rim and dense tears that stains the glass. Medium-high layers. Delicate aromas of red fruit, cherries, spices, licorella and pepper. As secondary there was toast, dairy notes, some licorice and balsamic. Marked minerality and hints of herbs with a background of black fruit. The palate has a fresh entry with good body, silky tannins, good acidity and a fairly persistent aftertaste with hints of fruit jam and minerality. WOW, what a delicious wine!

Heaven, I’m in heaven……, how can I not be, true enough that wine is not always wine but sometimes, like today, it is so much more. When it chooses to transmit a feeling that elevates you to heaven, you know it’s something above a red colored beverage, made from grapes!

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But the again, who brings pizza to a wine tasting? I’ll tell you who and let me rewrite that, not pizza, Catalan coca! Something different, offering delicious produces on a owen baked dough. Pizza? Call it what you wish, I want more! Valenti Llagostera, wine maker and owner of Mas Doix starts us of with the wine tasting of the younger wines together with coca. He is slightly late as he had to stop at the local coca-place to pick up the two versions of coca, available this day.

Valenti and two friends in the vineyards, the Montsant mountain in the background!

After a well needed breakfast intake of, wine and coca we continue to the vineyards, which are amongst the oldest in the Priorat. When in Rome….

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Later, we would continue to try the aged reds at a local restaurant, Porta del Priorat, just outside the village of Poboleda, to enjoy hearty stews as that is what’s considered to accompany the wines best. And the Coca (pizza), yes I will have that again and yes it works well with the wine!

The barrel room at Mas Doix!

Five generations of the owners’ family have had ties with viticulture and wine making, Mas Doix is not the new kid on the block! But it was only in 1998 that Josep María Doix and his cousins, Ramón and Valentí Llagostera, decided to create the bodega while harvesting grapes in centuries-old vineyards.

The wine graveyard at Mas Doix, all the vintages produced. Have to come back one dark night.....

With this effort, the new era of the family tradition was reborn, taking up the hard to follow accomplishments from the 19th century when the wines made by Jaume Extrems Doix won Gold and Silver medals in Barcelona and in Paris during the World Fairs in the 1870s.

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The Phylloxera plague dealt a severe blow to the business, but staring the evil bug in the eye, the family was able to quickly replant the vineyards with native rootstock of Garnacha and Carinena.

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The grapes were taken to the Poboleda co-operative and made into wine up until 1999 when the new bodega’s first vintage was released. Currently, the family members, who are all very aware as well as extremely proud of their inheritance, divide their time between vineyard husbandry, winemaking and marketing.

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Mas Doix is still a small and modest bodega, whose philosophy is based on the utmost respect for the region’s winemaking tradition, and whose aim is to transmit the true essence of Priorat via its wines.

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The vineyards are located at 350 to 600 metres above sea-level, unfold at the foot of the sierra del Montsant on steep slopes with poor slate soils (called locally ‘llicorella’) in a region dominated by dry, rigorous microclimates.

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However, their location also benefits from the fresh north-westerly breeze, which lowers temperatures and gives rise to a slower ripening process and, in turn, to a late harvest. Low-yield vines lead to limited production, yet the wines made at the bodega are fresh, balanced and elegant, with the subtle mineral charge typical of DOQ Priorat.

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Valentí Llagostera explains that: “They are distinguished wines, made to be enjoyed, to share with friends and serve as a starting point for good conversation – wines which are an essential part of a certain way of life”.

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The lunch was memorable but the wines were heavenly and never to be forgotten. Got to try the Les Crestes 2009, the Salanques 2006 and the Mas Doix 2008. Each with its own personality, and if they were to be tried separately, without comparing them to each other, all would have superlatives written all over them.

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8 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

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Celler Jaumandreu, Take A Chance On Me in D.O. Pla de Bages

374/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Pla de Bages – Fonollosa – Celler Jaumandreu – Més Que Paraules Negre 2012

Take A Chance On Me……..,

Mes Que ParaulesMés Que Paraules Negre 2012, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Sumoll

Intense dark cherry color with a bright garnet rim and violet reflections. High layers. Very bright and abundant tears. Good intensity with a wide range of aromas: lots of red fruit, somewhat jammy, ripe wild berries and floral fragrances, especially violet stands out. When opened, sweet spices appear together with balsamic and dairy. A touch of resin and thee secondaries reveal cinnamon, bitter cocoa and fresh scent of tobacco. It goes on and on. Elegant mineral background. Good entry, powerful and warm. Tasty, full of fruit, creamy toast and spices. Balanced acidity providing a good freshness. Sweetish and integrated tannins. Long and persistent presence balanced with fruit and toast. This is a killer wine!

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!

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 mindset in this project, that is Jaumandreu!

S6300227-111 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

Celler Sao del Coster, O Morro Nao Tem Vez in DOQ Priorat

363/365 – Catalonia – DOQ Priorat – Gratallops – Sao del Costers – ¨S¨ 2013

O Morro Nao Tem Vez………,

vino-s-sao-del-coster¨S¨ 2013, Garnacha, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah

Cherry red color with garnet rim. The nose is equilibrated, has loads of fruit, ripe red fruit, light floral and herbaceous notes. Balsamic and some licorice, light spice with medium mineral character. The palate is powerful, but very cool, is not a typical Priorat, has some warmth, the fruit in the nose has a strong presence, pronounced tannins but well polished, just hit the market but it will be even more enjoyable in a few years. Few wines from Priorat provide so much pleasure for such small buck.

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The past weekend has been full, over the brim, with wine tastings and visits to cellars which I have intended to visit for some time now. Finally the time was ripe and what’s better than visiting a winery? Visiting a winery together with family! Over the days to come you’ll get to know where I have been the past few days. Sao del Coster was visited on Saturday morning. We met with Michi Negron from the winery and she took us around the vineyards, the cellar with a tasting of the ¨S¨, Terram, 04 and the ¨Carignena¨. Got to taste some of the new brews, still in the barrels and the new Pim Pam Poom. The last edition Pim Pam Poom was tasted earlier this year and you can read about it here. After tha tasting we continued to the Quinoa restaurant in Falset, for a much needed lunch! A great day with great people and the perfect host in Michi! Check out the photos here!

22 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

Vermunver, Hot Damn! in D.O. Montsant

357/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Montsant – Marçà – Celler Vermunver – Vinum Domi 2012

Hot Damn!…….,

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Vinum Domi 2012, 50 % Garnacha 40 % Cariñena and 10 % Merlot

This young wine from the Genesis cellar, or more commonly know as Vermunver, is probably one of the ten best buys this year, quality/price comparison, and having in mind that this is a ¨drink it now wine¨and from the Montsant region. Clear and bright, cherry red color. It displays raw freshness but without sacrificing the typical body of the wines of the region. The nose offers an attractive combination of red fruits, raspberries and cranberries. An honest wine with some licorice notes that follows the fruit. The entry is fresh and I find it to be a wine that shows some minerality while still being easy to drink.

botella_varietal_2011Genesis Varietal 2011, 100% Carignena

Cherry colour with a garnet rim, very intense, Gènesi Varietal is a high complexity wine. On the nose there are loads of black mature fruits, toffee, spices and forest with a balsamic touch. On the palate it is a wine with great terroir expression, wide, fleshy and a touch odd acidity that fills it with freshness. It has also an elegant tannic structure that indicates a good evolution in the bottle. The Genesis Varietal consists of Old Carignena (also known as Cariñena or Samsó) from Vernet-Muntané family’s vineyards in Marçà. Vines are between 60 and 80 years old, soils are mainly clayey and calcareous, that gives complexity to the wines. Alcoholic fermentation is made in stainless steel wine tanks during 28 days under controlled temperatures between 25-27 degrees; malolactic fermentation is also done in stainless steel, once it has finished, the aging takes part in French and Hungarian oak barrels, over a period of 12 months.

VermunverCeller Vermunver is a small, family-run company situated in the village of Marçà. It is part of the D.O. Montsant, one of the two ‘Denominations of Origin’ (wine appellations) in the administrative (but also wine appellation) region known as the Priorat. Some members of the Vernet-Muntané family make up the company. Roger Vernet Muntané deserves a special mention because he is the oenologist (winemaker).

Vermunver 2In 2004 they began working on the idea of launching the company of Celler Vermunver – a long-cherished ambition, which would mean they would finally make their own wine. This task, although daring, was well justified given that they could count on the excellent primary product, readily available to them, and the shared vision for the project. The starting point for this shared vision was to complete Nature’s circle: from the vineyard to the wine glass. The company’s environmental policy is based on recycling and making use of the waste materials generated in the production of wine. In this way, residual water which is not contaminated is used on an area of the vineyards destined exclusively for this use and all organic waste is used as an environmentally friendly fertilizer on the land. The cellar is located beneath an historic building in the village, Cal Nolla, a construction that dates from the end of the 19th C. The plan is to marry tradition and quality, creating a hand-crafted product without leaving aside new technologies and the advances that these have brought.

Vernmunver11Because we are speaking of a small quantity of wine, they are able to maintain personal control of all the elements within the production process; closely following the progress of the vine during its entire growth cycle, during the harvest when the grapes are brought to the cellar, until the final process of bottling the wine. All their vineyards are to be found within the municipal boundaries of Marçà, in the south of the Priorat region. They are divided between various locations within this area, all with different orientations. In total, there are 23 hectares of vines, some grown on land owned by the company, others on rented plots.

vermunver12The vines are mainly of the grape varieties known as ‘Garnatxa’ (Grenache) and ‘Carinyena’ (Carignan), local to the region. The majority, around 75%, are vines of between 70-80 years old, with a ‘Lot’ root stock, and grafted with the best shoots of the local vines of the area. They also have a small quantity of Merlot and Syrah varieties about 20 years old. The soil is slightly calcareous and the placing of the vines, planted by the grandfathers in the twenties and thirties, was magnificently done.  The total production of Celler Vermunver is around 70,000 kg from which small amounts are carefully selected from the different sites.

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An anecdote relating to the selection of these plots is that on the municipal map of Marçà they form a figure that resembles the constellation of Orion, and for this reason they are called the ‘Vineyards of Orion’. With an annual production of around 5,500-6,500 kg, the cellar has created as the first product of the winery, Génesi Selecció.

28 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

The winery Vinicola del Nordest, Get Ready for D.O. Emporda

350/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Emporda – Mollet de Peralada – Vinicola del Nordest – Garrigal 1999

Get Ready…….,

exactGarrigal 1999, 35% Garnatxa 35% Samsó 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot

Ruby red color, terra-cotta colored rim and a  middle layer. Powerful aromas of red and black fruits with a background of spices and toast, from the aging. The palate is round, fleshy and structured. The acidity is very fresh and the tannins are very round, giving the impression of creaminess. It has an excellent balance with a good palate and long finish. It is a wine with a strong personality. It is a wine that has a pleasant mouthfeel and a long aftertaste. It got to spend a year on American (70%) and French (30%) oak.

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Vinicola del Nordest Is a winery which ages and bottles wines under the D.O. Empordà. It is located in the village of Mollet de Peralada, located in the foothills of the Les Alberes, where there are around 300 hectares of vineyard.

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The wines are made in the cooperative just across the road under proper analytical and temperature control. From there, the best wines are selected to produce a range which goes from the “nouveau” style of a Vi Novell through a ranges of whites, rosés and varietals wines to the reds.

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One of the winery’s specialities is the production of naturally sweet wines, the Moscatel, Mistela Negra and Garnatxa typical of the region.

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The village of Mollet de Peralada is also registered in the D.O. Cava and the sparkling wines have been made here since the winery’s inception. There is also a small shop at the winery where other natural produce of the region may be purchased, as well as having the opportunity to taste the wines.

covest-cabernet-sauvignon-378745Covest, 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Garnacha Negra, 2009

Clear and bright, deep ruby ​​color with violet notes on the rim. Intense aromas of black berries, slight cedar, green peppers, fruity. Palate is well structured with soft, round tannins. Black-currant, licorice, blueberries. Round and long to medium long finish. An easy going red from Emporda, well made and considering the price a really good buy!

36 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

Sota Els Àngels, Angels in D.O. Emporda

342/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Emporda – La Bisbal d’Emporda – Sota Els Àngels – Desea 2009

Angels…….,

botella-vino-desea-tinto-2009Desea 2009, 40% Carmenère, 32% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Carignan and 6% Syrah

Cherry red color with a garnet rim, medium layer. Overwhelming aromatic intensity but still kept together and I wouldn’t call it complex, balanced noted of sweet spices, a mix of mature black fruit and herbs. It need quite some time to wake up properly, seems to be a slow riser that likes to sleep in. Tones of toffee, sweet cocoa and licorice comes along as secondary notes.  The mouth is silky with a easy entry, quite spicy, structured and elegant. It is followed by a great tanic structure combined with a light fleshy feel and good acidity. Balanced and long! I tried the Flow 2013 from Sota Els Àngels at a wine fair and had to get the Desea as well, and I have to say it was what I hoped for!

principal-portada-1A Mediterranean cork forest surrounds the magical setting of Sota Els Àngels. The organic control and the biodynamic care given to the vineyards allows for the extraction of the soul of each grape variety and at the same time it improves the balance and harmony of the environment. Here, Under The Angels they live and work searching tirelessly for a fluid and familiar relationship with the natural environment. From terroir to heaven, The Angels came down!

noticia01The winery and vineyards of Sota Els Àngels are located in the centre of the north face of The Gavarres mountain range, in the municipality of Cruïlles-Monells-Sant Sadurní de l’Heura. This is a very special place, an ancient massif of rounded forms in which Josep Pla saw “elephants”, populated by oak trees (exploited in traditional and artisan cork industry), which shine between a pure sky and a floor with bushes of heather and arbutus. At the foot of the mountain, Sota Els Àngels, secluded, quiet soto, rests peacefully, caring for the grapes they have chosen to take care of. The property comprises of eight acres of a lush green, beautiful vines. It is densely planted with the red varieties; Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cariñena and Carmenère,  and the whites; Picapoll and Viognier. It is a soulful place where they grow excellent quality grapes and make wines infused with the nuances of their terroir.

46 to go!

 

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!