Pascona Pirate Party, Drink Up Me Hearties in Falset

136/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Costers del Segre – Battliu de Sort – Borda de Cebria – Biu Blanc 2012

Drink Up Me Hearties…..,

….., Drink up me hearties, yo ho! Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me! A toast to piracy and its many shiny rewards. As a career, what could be more rewarding?”  Are YOU in your happy place? Your office? My happy place is  my office! Yesterday, this was the best party to be at, only wish that all of you scallawag goat-herders were here!

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This is my office, or one of many office spaces I occupy. Welcome to my life! Where is the best place to be on a Thursday afternoon? Right here in my office! This time in Falset, Pascona Montsant Estate, where Toni hosted a Pirate party, with a twist?

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Well yes, since the rum wasn’t flowing bit the wine sure was! A couple of hundred friends got together and had a ball, Jack Sparrow was there as well, where else would he be, as the wine was free!?! Visca Pascona Montsant!

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A bunch of wine cellars where present, as the party was also a mini fair for local, Catalan, wineries! From D.O. Montsant, Celler Comunica, D.O. Priorat showed up with L’Infernal, D.O. Costers del Segre with Celler Batlliu de Sort. Cellers Som i Serem came, saw and conquered, from D.O. Tarragona. Mes Que Paraules from D.O. Pla de Bages and Finca Parera from D.O. Penedes. D.O. Emporda was represented by Terrer d’en Tassis, Celler Mas Foraster from D.O. Conca de Barbera and finally Cellers Frisach from D.O Terra Alta! Not a bad bunch, considering they are all Pirates!

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The brewery of Moritz might have felt out of place but let me tell you, a beer after all that wine was just what I needed! I am very please that nine of the Catalan appellations were represented. The only ones missing were D.O. Cava, D.O. Catalonia and D.O. Alella. Would have been nice with someone from Alella, but as Cava and Catalonia as D.O:s are more generic, they can be excused!

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This is exactly what an office party in my neighborhood looks like. A nice theme, some great wines and excellent finger food! The DJ played all the right tunes, the atmosphere was just the right kind and many, many friends were around! It almost got to be crowded at the office, which is very rare since the office, most of the time, is outdoors!

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Next year I’m dressing up as Hector Barbossa, just gonna let the beard grow and get a sword! Let the good times roll.

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Biu Blanc 2012, Riesling and Viognier

Bright yellow with thin greenish, thick and slow tears. Aromas of citrus, notably lemons and some grapefruit, white fruits, pears and green apples and soft touches of mountain herbs, anise and something reminiscing of dry flowers. The palate has good and fresh entry, remarkable structure with very distinct sour notes, good acidity, lime and lemon peel, hints of white fruit, hint of alcohol and some bitter notes. Long aftertaste.

243 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

Pascona Montsant, He’s a pirate in D.O. Montsant

81/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Montsant – Falset – Pascona Montsant – Lo Pare Evolucio 2012

He’s a Pirate…….

The story of Pascona is evolving and shaping the future of Montsant as a wine region, and I for one, will return and visit the place over and over again. Read about  the history and the vineyards of Pascona here! Today, Sunday, the sun was shinning and as it is the day of rest, what better than to visit a wine cellar? The initial reference, suggesting that Toni is a pirate, well that’s a separate story and maybe best discovered as and when you decide to come and visit this magical place!

Selfie by Toni "The Pirate" in the vineyards!

Selfie by Toni “The Pirate” in the vineyards!

Had a pre arranged meeting with Toni Ripoll, owner and wine maker of Pascona, at the petrol station/coffee shop in Falset, where we started the day with a Catalan entrepan  (baguette with your choice of filling) and a tallat (coffee with a dash of milk). Got to talking about life in general, wine making (off course) and decided to hit the vineyards to see what was going on there.

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After a walk with the dogs in tow, having caught some rays of the morning sun and admiring the “crying” vines, they are to bud within a month or so, some barrels were waiting to be sampled. And, as you very well know, you don’t want to disappoint the barrels! During the following hours we tried the 2013 wines soon to be bottled, and I can’t say that I was worried about what it would taste! 2013 is looking very promising, life is good!

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Started off with the 991′ Macabeu, which was covered in a previous posting, well that was the 2012. Now, the 2013 still un-bottled was tasted and wow…., what a difference a year makes! Comparing the two, the 2013 is fruitier, does not have the same floral notes but certainly carries a great balance and the aftertaste is longer. A fresh, tasty and handsome wine for a Sunday afternoon barbeque of white fish. But then again, to drink it as is, is not a crime. The 2012 has been sold out, so now all we can do is wait for the 2013 to hit the shelves!

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Blanc de noir production, is not something done normally in D.O. Monsant, but then again, there’s nothing normal with Toni, he thrives in being different and going against the stream, up the creek with no paddle! Blanc de noir made from 100% Syrah, is certainly not done in Montsant! As far as I know this guy is the only one crazy enough to do it, and with a fantastic result!

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The name of the wine is Trenca Closques, meaning Puzzle, how very becoming! Puzzling it is and in more ways than one. The wine is dark salmon with hints of orange. The Sira (Syrah) is pressed, gently, so it is onoy during the pressing that it has contact with the peel for about 20 minutes, that’s all it takes to get the color. Some describe it as a rose wine, but Toni is adamant about it being a white! A cool, soft and elegant “white” with the nose of fruits, herbs and mixed candy. Very good entry into the mouth with good balance and roundness, slightly bitter at the very end, very fresh!

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Experimental natural wine was the next to be tasted, which is the same as the Lo Petito, made from the same grapes and blend. Syrah 50% and Merlot 50%, which are fermented and vinified together. The natural one, has no additives and is not filtrated, so it shows other characteristics than the filtered brother. You couldn’t imagine that it is the same wine! Pure muscles in the natural one, rawness and edges but still refined, lovely blend. Lo Petito is much clearer and softer in color, ruby red throughout and tons of raspberries and red fruits, complex.

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Barrel and bottle, 2013 and 2012 respectively, of the La Mare. 100% Garnatxa. The 2013 demonstrating great potential for some additional aging, very good acidity and I for one am going to keep some bottles for at least 5-6 years to see what happens. Red cherry color with purple tones, brilliant with a robe. Huge intensity with aromas of mature black forrest fruit. Then it slowly develops to violet, figs, tobacco and a hint of menthol. Velvety in the mouth, blueberries and black fruit, raisins and figs. As it enters the taste is very nice, great freshness. Complex and not at all aggressive in any way.

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Toni! I’ll be back and hopefully soon. Thank you for a lovely day in the vineyards and the cellar of your Chateau Pascona!

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It has been a wonderful week, that is unfortunately coming to its end. Sunday only offering a few more hours, but I for one am looking forward to Monday and the week to come. New challenges in life and more winery visits to conduct and hopefully some new friends to be made! Stay tuned!

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Lo Pare, Evolucio, 2012, 80% Garnatxa and 20% Cabernet-Sauvignon

Spent 13 months in a one year old, french oak barrel. Opaque, deep violet to medium purple with colored tears. Jammy fruits but not overly ripe, peppery and some exotic fruits. Leather comes as secondary and clear balsamic. Mature taste, great body, satiny feel in the mouth, integrated and nutty oak. Well balanced and elaborate. A wine made with good skills and finesse.

300 to go!

Pascona, 24000 Baci, D.O. Monsant

Catalonia – D.O. Montsant – Falset – Pascona – 991’N Macabevs Les Deveses 2012

24000 Baci…….

Is wine worth 24000 kisses? I don’t know, what I do know is that wine is fascinating, my opinion! Why write about it, isn’t it enough just to enjoy it? NO! Not for me. If I like something, I’d like to share it with, hopefully, like minded!

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The writing is relaxing and brings another dimension to the wine. Exploring the histories, visiting the wineries, vineyards and talking to the characters that have more or less devoted their lives in making great wine. The least I can do is drink their wine and write about the experiences gained.

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The major challenge I have with the vintners is that they all, more or less, transmit the same basic story. “For the love of the land”……, “the wines are the expression of the union of an exceptional land”……., “our hands in the soil” and so on…..

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The visits are always a joy to conduct, as the reception without exception, is welcoming! I would, how ever, just once like to hear one winemaker say, “I make wine, because I like to drink! Am I ever going to hear those words?

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My visits to cellars are not easily en-counted for, as I have had the privilege to visit many, just around the corner from where I live. Todays chosen cellar gives me the chills, just thinking about it, as I wonder what lies ahead! So far, they have managed to churn out a variety of exceptional wines and I for one hope that they continue in the same fashion.

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It is hidden away not far from Falset, which is the main town in Montsant and Priorat. They love wine and not just one, but all the ones they make and all the wines others make! Each and every wine being different due to the labor-some philosophy of having several types of soil to work with. Unique grapes (due to the soils) and every wine with its own body and soul.

"Els Fontanals”

“Els Fontanals”

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Toni, proprietor of Pascona, is a hard working guy and he know his wines in and out. He is the current generation of a family tradition which started in 1827. After the devastating vine blight of the 1920′s, his great, great-grandmother Maria Pau and her two daughters re-started growing vines. The wine produced then was mainly red and of one blend, however, the products of today are much different.

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Over time, as the whole region suffered a downturn, farmers and wine makers decided there was not enough money to be made in producing wine. Therefore nature reclaimed the vineyards and they were in most cases overgrown, one could hardly tell there had been vineyards there. A lot of hard work has been put into reclaiming more of the fields from the mountain, clearing and in some cases, replanting the terraces.

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It is easy to establish, during a visit, that the terrains are quite different. Fields with clay, fields with sandy topsoil, fields leaded with minerals. Looks like all kinds of soils are represented within a small area. There are various mineral mines around the area which give vines grown in this type of soil a slightly peppery aftertaste but they also lean towards a more full bodied red wine.

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You can walk comfortably along the terraces, in between the vine rows, but try driving up in a combine harvester, fat chance! There is pride in each vine and the wine reflects this fact. Harvest is done by hand because there is no other choice. The cellar is small with only two stainless steel vats the others in true tradition are concrete. Once the wine is made it is matured in French Oak barrels.

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Each wine to its own taste, the ground the grapes grow in tell the story, and the selection is, although well put together, very diverse. There are 6 different reds, one white and one rose. The reds have gotten quite a lot of press so I decided to go for the white, it does deserve to see some fame too!

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991’N Macabevs Les Deveses 2012, 100% Macabeu, aged on the lees in French oak barrels.

During 2010 the winery started with a new range of wines called the 900 line. Toni Ripoll explained that 991 is the number of Macabeu vines planted. So the 991’N was born made from the Macabeu and the 992 from Monastrell, two Catalan varieties.

The color is clear, yellow straw with slight lemon colored reflections. There are fruity aromas, although the primary was floral. White and tropical fruits follow through on at the end. On the palate it is a fresh, pleasant and wide wine that lingers for a while. A good persistency. This is a young Macabeu which pairs well with white fish.

343 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle