Winery De Muller, That Lucky Old Sun in D.O. Tarragona

367/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Tarragona – Reus – De Muller – Solera 1851 Pajarete Augusto De Muller

That Lucky Old Sun……..,

…never stops shining and the days here in Catalonia are in general wonderful. Sure, ups and downs, but it just seems like the ups are Himalaya and the downs are not so very down! Make sense? Pure fact of the matter is, I have found a good life here and I intend to enjoy it to the fullest. The end of this week is full of activities, wine tastings, cellar visits and wine lectures. Is it all about wine, you might ask? I’m not going to bore you with a extended answer, simple yes will have to suffice! But on occasion I do tend to eat something nice with the wine as well.

pajareteSolera 1851 Pajarete Augusto De Muller, Moscatel, Garnacha Blanca and a mix of Red Garnacha varieties!

Medium-dark brown mahogany color with very dense and endless tears. There’s a symphony of aromas going on in the glass, the nose being very fragrant and subtle, starting with balsamic and continuing with cedar tree, candy and cereals. Raisins, dried figs, dates and nuts are several of the other lovely aromas developing and offering dimension after dimension in this Jerez type wine, one of the best sweet wines that I have had the luck to try. The palate is a round, full of flavor, with exceptional acidity that make it an almost eternal wine. There is a high degree of fineness and delicacy topped with a long, silky finish. This is a wine that will allow you to die with a smile on your face!

And just to be on the safe side, a bottle is close by at all times!

Penedes is divided into three administrative parts, Alt Penedès, Baix Penedès and Garraf, and their capitals are Vilafranca del Penedès, el Vendrell and Vilanova i la Geltrú. The provincial division is between the provinces of Barcelona, which includes Alt Penedès and Garraf, and the province of Tarragona, which includes Baix Penedès.

The regions within the province of Tarragona

So, the village of choice, in which i live and work, in situated within Tarragona, not the D.O. of Tarragona but the province of Tarragona. The village falls under the D.O. of Penedes. Confusing? Well, sometimes the borders made by paper pushers are not always meant to be understood!

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Suffice to say that both D.O:s have a diversity of wines and a multitude of cellars. No need to travel long distances to enjoy a nice visit to a winery and to fill the days with lovely local activities. Spring is here and that makes it so much easier! One of the big ones, De Muller of Tarragona, is worth not only one visit but several, and their products are abundant throughout the restaurants of Catalonia.

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Presently, De Muller offers a very wide range of quality wines under the appellations of Tarragona, Priorat and Terra Alta. Amongst the traditional Mass Wine is included. It was responsible of the De Muller fame throughout the world. Nowadays exports constitutes 60% of its production to international markets, the 40% remaining, being sold nationally.

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During four generations, starting in 1851, the company belonged to the family De Muller. Initiated by Sir Auguste de Muller and Ruinart de Brimont, a member of a well-known Alsacian wine grower family.

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Having considered the potential the Tarragona area provides, they decided to settle as former Greek colonies had settled in Spain, followed by the Roman Empire in Imperial Tarraco, capital city of Citerior Hispania.

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As from June 1995, De Muller S.A. belongs to the Martorell family, Catalonian businessmen and traders eager to obtain the optimal quality in wine, while respecting the tradition that constituted the firm heritage for decades. During 1996, De Muller S.A. moved their installations in a new cellar surrounded by vineyards in the property known as “Mas de Valls” in Reus.

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In the village known as El Molar, in the south-eastern part of Priorat, one can find the property “Mas de les Pusses” with 34 hectares of vineyards and a new cellar with a capacity of 500.000 liters. It is here they elaborate their Priorat wines, which I’ll have to come back to. In 1999, De Muller assured the continuity of the former Cochs S.A. who decided to sell the company after 52 years of activity; they decided to do so because they had no continuity in the management, which had always been held by the family.

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Cochs was founded in Reus in 1946 and it began its activity on the first of January 1947. The firm was mainly enrolled in the manufacturing of the traditional vermouth aperitif from Reus, well known on the national territory; its formula has remained unchanged. To explain all wines produced would take several entries, so you’ll just have to wait and make due with a brief explanation of todays wine.

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Solera is a process for aging liquids such as wine, beer, vinegar, and brandy, by fractional blending in such a way that the finished product is a mixture of ages, with the average age gradually increasing as the process continues over many years. A solera is literally the set of barrels or other containers used in the process.

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The majority of the “hearth”, in the wine tasted, is Moscatel and Garnacha (both Negra and Blanca) varieties. Both of which are aged independently and in different types of oak barrels. These barrels are stacked in rows of up to three stories height.

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The lower row is called “Solaria”, due to its proximity to the ground and contains  a higher quantity of aged wine.  When the blend is about to be made and the wine bottled, 1/3 of this “Solera” is removed. The loss in volume is immediately replaced by wine from the second tier barrels, and the second from the third. The second and third tiers are called “Criadera”. The third tier is filled with new wine, which has been subjected to oxidative aging in wood casks.

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The output of the solera is the fraction of the last container taken off for bottling each cycle. The amount of product tied up in the solera is usually many times larger than the production. This means that a solera is a very large capital investment for a winemaker. If done with actual barrels, the producer may have several soleras running in parallel. For a small producer, a solera may be the largest capital investment, and a valuable asset to be passed down to descendants.

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Wine produced from a solera cannot formally have a vintage date because it is a blend of vintages from many years. However, some bottlings are labeled with an age for marketing reasons. It is unclear whether such age indications denotes the average age, or the age of the oldest batch.

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The wine tasted today bares the note “In honor of the son of Reus, Antonio Gaudí, genius known worldwide as the father of modernist architecture, this hearth born the end of the day this teacher was made.”

Enjoy! Another very elaborate Catalan Solera!

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De Muller Garnacha Solera 1926

Amber yellow in color. Thick and satiny with perfect slow flowing tears. Noted aromas in the nose are those of dried fruit and dates. Secondary are of toasted notes, caramel, burnt sugar, which mingle the scent of varnish and mahogany wood sail boats. The palate is thick and creamy. Very polished with nice balance. It is long in the mouth and lingers. Sweet, but not overly sweet. Fresh with wonderful acidity. I have to try the other Soleras by De Muller!

18 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

Ferré i Catasús, Granada in D.O. Penedes

128/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Penedes – La Granada – Ferré i Catasús – Somiatruites 2012

Granada….,

…, the Pomegranate can be related to Granada (the city in the south of Spain) by the Sierra Nevada, but they hardly grow any vine there, so in fact, the Granada (Granada meaning Pomegranate) in question is small village not far from Vilafranca del Penedes and Sant Sadurni d’Anoia. Quite the setting, with vineyards all around and very easy to reach from Barcelona for a day trip. Plenty of sightseeing to be done in the area and several great wineries to visit, if that’s you cup of tea. tumblr_inline_mh6j48M3Oq1qi77y6Ferré i Catasús is the materialization of a project pursued for many years. It was the hopes and wishes of a man called Josep Maria Ferré i Catasús and a woman called Sònia Serrano Quetglas, who both wanted to mark a new horizon in wine culture. It all started in the 30s, when Lluís Ferré Pascual, Josep Maria Ferré i Catasús’s father, and his mother, Maria Catasús Demenech, got married in secret. This impossible love entailed the loss of the inheritance that belonged to them by birthright. Between the 60s and 70s, Josep Maria Ferré was an important businessman devoted to the food trade in Barcelona. DSC_0449This fact was the prelude to the return to his origin in Penedès.

In the 80s, together with Sònia Serrano, Josep Maria Ferré obtained several properties in Alt and Baix Penedès and he began to produce grapes for other wineries. However, he was not satisfied because he wanted to do more by creating a brand and a line of products that represented the essence of his project and that took the wine culture to all the different aspects of everyday life. At the end of the 90s, Ferré i Catasús returned to the land of his birth and where his ancestors had already developed a winemaking task: La Granada (Alt Penedès). At that moment, he thought that his son, Lluís Ferré, could continue his dream and together they decided to launch the Ferré i Catasús’s winery. sumollJosep Maria Ferré i Catasús and Lluís Ferré built Masia Gustems, the old family house, where they installed the latest and most advanced technology and machinery for the production of wine andcava. They also reorientated the production of their lands so that Ferré i Catasús could completely self-produce their wines and cavas, from the vineyard to the final product. In 2001, the winery launched its first products: Merlot, Xarel•lo and Carbernet, among others. Ferré i Catasús’s wines were born (in honour of its founder). 1551632_633856963328887_299596038_nSince then, Ferré i Catasús entrusted the management of the project to his son. Lluís Ferré has changed Ferré i Catasús into a lively and growing company, where each and every department works in order to rediscover “good wine” and to create a new wine philosophy. Every member of the Ferré i Catasús team, starting with Lluís Ferré, is motivated by curiosity, the spirit of self-improvement and by a fierce instinct to innovate in each new product. And so, Ferré i Catasús has received the recognition of experts and has won prizes in important international wine contests due to the daily work undertaken in the cellar by the whole team. 1374998_580234398691144_125776905_nThe estate called Corral d’en Rafeques is located in Castellet i la Gornal (Baix Penedès). It is the largest piece of land, with a total of 25.66 hectares of crops: Cabernet Sauvignon (9.17 Ha), Chardonnay (4.57 Ha), Tempranillo (2.64 Ha), Xarel.lo (4.58 Ha), Syrah (1.98 Ha), Merlot (2.72 Ha). La Granada is Ferré i Catasús’s spiritual centre and this is where we find Masia Gustems. It has been equipped with facilities for the reception and vinification of the grape, with an area of 3.10 hectares. Chenin blanc (2.08 Ha), Red grenache (0.53 Ha), Facilities (1 Ha) 1374890_578901748824409_699876872_nThe estate of Cal Escudé is located in Guardiola de Font Rubí (Alt Penedès). It has 17.08 hectares and is dedicated to the following grape varieties: Macabeu (3.85 Ha), Merlot (3.36 Ha), Syrah (3.68 Ha), Sauvignon blanc (1.62 Ha), Muscat of Alexandria (1.90 Ha), Parellada (2.67 Ha). All Ferré i Catasús’s wines and cavas are born as Estate wines, a qualification which includes a set of vineyards in a specific area and a particular microclimate, providing exceptional quality of vines, which has been achieved thanks to a meticulous study of the soil of the estates owned by the winery. terraLluís Ferré has invested all his efforts in preparing this exhaustive soil map, a working tool that provides a broad knowledge of the land and that allows winemaking teams to obtain the best yield from the crops. The study of the land can be found at the vinification plant of the cellar. somiatruites-442879Somiatruites 2012, Chenin Blanc, Moscatel, Sauvignon Blanc, Xarel.lo and Chardonnay

Made using grapes from vines aged between 10 and 40 years old. Yellow in colour with greenish hues, it exudes tropical fruit aromas complemented by citric and floral notes, and shows complexity on the nose, lychee, banana, pineapple and more! The palate is broad and silky with a lingering acidity that gives freshness and length throughout and it is certainly full-bodied on the palate, it displays a tropical fruit flavor on the aftertaste. Very drinkable!

251 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle