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, 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.

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“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