Celler Cooperatiu d’Artés, Lullaby of Birdland in D.O. Pla de Bages

272/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Pla de Bages – Artés – Celler Cooperatiu d’Artés – Picapoll Joven Artium 2013

Lullaby of Birdland………..,


Picapoll Joven Artium 2013, 100% Picapoll

Straw yellow colour, clear and transparent with green hues, brilliant. The nose is pleasant, fruity and fresh. White notes, tropical fruit and citrus with floral notes which appear in the background. Easy entry, fruity and pleasant in the mouth. Tasty, creamy and with medium acidity that adds just the right amount of freshness. Mineral touches with a salty point. Short aftertaste. This is a single varietal of the Picapoll from the D.O. Pla de Bages. This small appellation is based in the district of Manresa and the total number of cellars is 12. Most of them are small family farms. The wine is a young white which is made with Picapoll grape variety, which is native to this area, fermented in stainless steel tanks at 18 ° C for 25 days. It is a white that is easy to drink, light and fruity. Great value for money!

Picapoll is a local grape which is to a high degree being replanted or grafted to existing rootstocks. While often confused with Picpoul, this grape has been grown in the area since Roman times, being referenced in the writings of Pliny the Elder. Picapoll berries are small, oval and thick-skinned; though there are larger berried clones used as a table grape. The grape requires a lot of attention in the vineyard as bunches tend to grow smaller, “shoulder” clusters which need to be pruned off for proper ripening. The vines are very resistant to arid conditions and almost never shows over-ripe aromas. For maximum expression of the wine, skin contact, reductive winemaking and lees aging are essential.


Celler Cooperatiu d’Artés put great care in making all their wines and Cavas, paying meticulous attention to all stages of the process from monitoring the ripening of the grapes in the vineyards to final bottling. With each stage requiring specific skills and its own time. Not all wines follow the same process: some are young and ready to drink now, while they are young and fresh; others are enriched, matured and patiently aged in oak casks selected for each wine’s style, variety and vintage. However, in all cases, the winemaking process only begins after careful selection of the grape varieties required to give the desired type of wine.

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After harvesting the grapes, Picapoll and Macabeu for white wines and Cabernet Sauvignon, Ull de Llebre, Merlot and Sumoll for red wines, the grapes are de-stemmed to obtain the must for the red wines. The grapes used for white wines are not de-stemmed. The grapes are then gently pressed, followed by debourbage at low temperatures. The juice is then fermented(the natural process by which the sugar in the must is converted into alcohol) in modern tanks equipped with cooling systems. The duration and temperature vary depending on the type of must. For white wines, fermentation lasts for 13 days at temperatures below 18ºC; for rosé wines, 2 weeks at 16-17ºC, and for red wines, 10-15 days at 26-29ºC.

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After alcoholic fermentation, the red wines that will be aged need a few more days of maceration to extract the polyphenols (anthocyanins, aromas, extracts and tannins), which will play a vital role in the aging of the wine both in the barrels and in the bottles. After a certain period of maceration, a second (malolactic) fermentation is carried out. This is the process in which lactic bacteria break down the malic acid and convert it into lactic acid. This process is very important because it softens the wine, an essential step in the process of obtaining a true quality wine. To make rosé wines, the must only stays 24 hours with the skins; white wines are fermented without the skins. Aging in oak casts and subsequent maturing in the bottle are essential for red wines to enhance their fragrance and obtain optimal quality. White and rosé wines are drunk young. Some whites such as Picapoll are also aged and are fermented in new oak casks for 3 months.

Celler Cooperatiu d'Artés

112 to go!

Mas Oller, Smile in D.O. Emporda

159/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Emporda – Torrent – Mas Oller – Mar 2011



…., always just smile! Even though it’s aching, if you smile through your fear and sorrow…….., you’ll see the sun come shining through for you! You’ll find that life is certainly worth while if you just smile! One thing I can guarantee is that this wine is going to make you smile! Happy wine loving days my friends!


Mar 2011, 80% Picapoll and 20% Malvasia

Lovely pale yellow color showing greenish reflections. Bright and clear. This wine is aromatic with average to high power, white (peach, white soft pear) and citrus (lime) fruits predominate, very honest, clean and altogether one of those wines you want too enjoy through the nose for quite some time before you imbibe it. One in the mouth it has a very nice soft attack, and a fatty touch on the palate, elegant and sweet. It has good structure and long finish, leaving a fresh and tangy feeling, which make it easy to drink. Mar = Sea = Summer wine!


Made from hand-selected grapes grown on over 10 year old vines planted 10m. (33ft) above sea level. A short skin maceration and low temperature fermentation. Aged on the lees for 4 months in order to obtain more complexity. 
Works wonders with seafood, especially oysters, fresh prawns and griddled mussels, rice dishes such as risottos and paella, pasta, cheese, and desserts featuring white-fleshed fruit and crème.


The Empordà is a legendary wine-producing region, where the Greeks first introduced grapes back in the year 600 BC. The Empordà is situated in northeast Catalonia and Mas Oller is an old estate owned by the Esteva family. It was in Torrent, in the county of the Petit Empordà with views of the city walls of Pals and the Medes Islands, where Carlos Esteva –owner of the prestigious winery Can Ràfols dels Caus– rescued the family estate from oblivion, building a cellar in what was the old cow shed and replanting vineyards in what had formerly been the best wine-producing estate in Pals.


Nowadays, nearly 300 years after it was built, Mas Oller has become a benchmark winery in the D.O. Empordà with wines which express the essence of the area and a philosophy firmly rooted in quality. In the year 2000, Carlos Esteva decided to plant vines in order to produce new, prestigious, high-quality wines. Some wine was made from the young vines in the earlier vintages and was sold locally. Now, the vines have reached the right age for achieving the desired concentration of fruit. The first wines were launched in April 2009 and the response since then has been extremely positive.

Islas Medes

Islas Medes

The Mas Oller Estate lies between the sea and the mountains, in the   path of the strong northerly wind, the Tramontana and has a diversity of different soil types: clayey, sandy and slate. Conceptually and geographically, therefore, the Mas Oller project brings together Northern Catalonia, the Empordà and Roussillon, with wines which are both expressive and fresh. At present, the Estate has 15 Ha. (37 acres) of vineyard in production and an additional 2 Ha.(4.5 acres) of newly-planted vineyard. The three red varieties are Grenache, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon and the two white varieties are Picapoll and Malvasía de Sitges.


The vineyards surround the old country house and the grapes are selected manually in the vineyard before being transported in bins to the cellar where the grapes undergo a second round of selection. All of the grape musts are macerated at cold temperatures in order to obtain themaximum expression and extraction of colour and aroma. Their philosophy is based on reviving the winemaking tradition of the Empordà with a modern interpretation. The team consistsof Carlos Esteva, owner and winemaker, Peter Schoonbrood, wine concept and project manager, Martin Cuervo, head of the vineyard and winery.


220 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle


Hotel Hostal-Sport, Just Becaus D.O. Pla de Bages

110/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Pla de Bages – Tasting in Falset – Hotel Hostal-Sport – Collbaix 2011 Singular

Just because…….

…. once again, Hostal-Sport hosted a tasting of wines from one of the 12 appellations in Catalonia. Yesterday it was time for D.O. Pla de Bages. Heard of it? No! Well, now you have and believe me, Pla de Bages is a appellation you are going to be very aware of in the near future. Fresh, fruity and well made wines at decent prices, that’s what we like! Enjoy!

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The Pla de Bages is a fertile plain located in an area of mythical mountainous landscapes such as Montserrat, the mountains of Castelltallat, the Nature Reserve of Sant Llorenç del Munt y l’Obac and the massif of El Montcau. The region, which has an increasingly broad range of leisure and gastronomic activities, has important tourist and cultural attractions, such as the Monastery of Sant Benet de Bages, the saltmines of Cardona, the cave of Sant Ignasi in Manresa and the route of the Acequia route, running alongside a medieval canal.

pladebages 2

It is common to find ancient wine tubs and vineyard huts made of stone. The huts were used by peasants, who often had to stay all day long in the country, to store agricultural tools and to protect themselves from inclement weather. Around 4.000 huts still survive in very good condition, most of which were built coinciding with the great expansion of vineyards in the region.


With a continental Mediterranean climate, El Bages offers ideal conditions for vine cultivation: an exceptional micro-climate, scant rainfall, great variations in temperature, and a clayey and calcareous soil. The wines are pervaded by soothing touches of lavender, thyme and rosemary – aromatic plants common to the pine, oak and ibex woods surrounding the vineyards.


Collbaix 2011 Singular, Macabeu and Picapoll

Dark yellow colour with golden reflections, clear and brilliant.  The nose is intense with fruity aromas of tropical fruit. Mango, pineapple,  mature peach and apricot. Continuing and as secondary notes it carries pastry notes, brioche, roasted notes and slight balsamic. The mouth has a good entry, large and bulky. It is long and persistent with good acidity.

271 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

Jaumandreu, More Than Words in D.O. Pla de Bages

86/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Pla de Bages – Fonollosa – Jaumandreu – Nisus 2007

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.


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.


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 mind set in this project, that is Jaumandreu!


In summer it is pleasant to taste the freshness of a classy white wine accompanying meals or just as it is, a nice companion on a hot summer day. The Nisus is made from selected grapes harvested during the optimum moment of ripeness. The two varieties are pressed separately, the wine is kept cold so it can then be clarified.  Nisus is obtained by the process of aging on the lees, the wine is naturally oxygenated and controlled, giving it greater voluptuousness while it maintains natural freshness. This is not a joke, this is a serious wine for the lovers of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay with an oomph!

Nisus mitja

Nisus 2007, 60% Sauvignon Blanc and 40% Chardonnay

Light straw color, surprisingly lively and bright. The nose is a very complex mix of honey and ripe peach accompanied by floral and citrus notes associated with a fresh harvest. It has fine and lovely aromas of white fruit, honey, dried figs and hazelnuts. The palate is fresh and creamy with great flavor, intensity and volume. This wine is long and smooth with an explosion of tropical fruit flavors accompanied by wood and elegant floral notes like jasmine. Powerful but delicate. Long and subtle aftertaste. Current but a classic. A great wine to enjoy in the summer. Recommend serving at a temperature between 9 and 11 degrees. Ideal to accompany fish, foie gras, poultry and Iberian ham.

294 to go!

Clos Dominic, Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car, DOQ Priorat

46/365 – Catalonia – DOQ Priorat – Porrera – Clos Dominic – Clos Dominic Blanc 2009

Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car…….

Servicing the car is something to be taken seriously! Now, I do know this should be about wine and, bare with me, it will. I have to, however, stress the importance of my car! Friday, two days ago, I managed finally to get the old Peugeot to the garage for servicing, new brakes, tires and full service. All new fluids should keep it going for a while longer. Without the car, no visits to cellars and no stories to write home about.

Had this beauty during a stint in England. Drove it across Europe and to Sweden where I exchanged it for....

Had this beauty during a stint in England. Drove it across Europe and to Sweden where I exchanged it for….

Passion for wine is comparable to passion for cars. during Fridays visit to the garage I remembered, 25 years ago, how I would visit a friend that worked at a Peugeot garage in Sweden and we would talk cars, passion for cars!

.... this beauty which, unfortunately is not being used to much. Al though it did manage to get to Spain from Sweden during winter!

…. this beauty which, unfortunately is not being used to much. Although it did manage to get to Spain from Sweden during winter!

During that time I drove Alfa Romeo, my first Alfa, after which there has been many more and I still have one now, although it is not the work car. Now I don’t claim there’s such a thing as a perfect wine, and there is certainly not a perfect car, least of all Alfa Romeo.


But…., the soul and the passion is what matters. If a car (like a wine maker) has soul and passion, that can go a long way.  My love and passion for cars will always remain and the memories of the first Alfa will always be present, in one way or the other. Just like the memories of the first wine.

Dominic at Clos Dominic!

Dominic at Clos Dominic!

Dominic and Paco have both soul and passion and this shows clearly in the wine produced at the backstreet garage/bodega in Porrera. But who needs a huge elaborate winery when the wine comes from the vineyards. One of the best vineyards of Priorat belongs to Clos Dominic and, as simple as that, this is the reason for their extraordinary wines. Soul and passion!


It all started in 1986, when Dominic and Paco acquired their first vineyards. Borrowing money from friends and family they continued by getting a hold of “La Tena” vineyard which is now the core of the production of Clos Dominic wines. Paco is the vintner and Dominic is the wine maker, nowadays together with their children.


It’s a a family affair and the boss here is Dominic, that’s for sure. When I have visited, I have met both on several occasions, but I have gotten to know, the well spoken and very humoristic, Paco better! I dare say he’s the funniest wine maker in Priorat!

Paco the vintner inspecting the vines!

Paco the vintner inspecting the vines!

The first time I came to try some of their reds, my arrival was announced by friends in Priorat that are family friends of Clos Dominic. That day they had a group of wine lovers from France visiting and as I arrived they were in the midst of tasting some wines. I was noticed by both Dominic and Paco as I came down to the cellar stairs and immediately received as a long time acquaintance.

Paco with a friend outside the cellar!

Paco with a friend outside the cellar!

I was offered a glass of their white, of which I took a whiff and in that stride asked to have a case put on the side for me. Paco told me, almost laughing, that he only had two bottles left. So it had to be the two then! Much later that same afternoon, the French group decided they also wanted to buy, not only the reds, but also the white! To late! I am still smiling today, when I think of this wine loving moment. But it goes to prove, the small wineries here don’t have abundance of bottles just lying around.

Barrel room at Clos Dominic!

Barrel room at Clos Dominic!

I was told, and I guess the story is the same all over Priorat, that 80% of all wines produced here are exported. So when a nice one, different one, one with soul comes along, you’d better make up you mind quickly or suffer the consequences, like the French had to do. Out of the two I managed to get, one is still safe and sound, but not much longer. I don’t save wine, I enjoy it in the glass!


Clos Dominic Blanc 2009, Garnacha Blanca, Macabeu, Pedro Ximenez, Picapoll Blanc and Riesling


Bright yellow to gold colour with nice fatty tears. Very aromatic nose with clear barrel notes. Toasty, smoky and spicy with fruit as secondary. The entry is wide with aromas of vanilla and toast. Followed by aniseed. It is crisp and balanced, has personality and long after-taste. I have never come across any white like this one, just look at the grape coupatge! It is simply a different wine and maybe that’s why I like it like I do. You need to love powerful whites to enjoy this one! Only 300 bottles are produced so first come…….

327 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

Masies d’Avinyó, Wine Take Me Away, D.O. Pla de Bages

39/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Pla de Bages – Avinyo – Masies d’Avinyo – Abadal Picapoll 2012

Wine Take Me Away……..,

1199….., The historic estate of Mas Roqueta in Santa Maria d’Horta d’Avinyó, belonging to the municipality of Avinyó in the Bages region of Central Catalonia, has been documented back to 1199. Nestled among the woods, the estate has been witness to the growing of vines as the main agricultural activity, being the traditional crop of the area.


The Roqueta family story is the story of wine growers. Origins date back to the 12th century, although there are traces of wine-growing activity during the Roman era. It tells of generations of wine-lovers, devoted exclusively to the task of wine growing, handed down to the generations of today.

Valentin Roqueta together with Ferran Adria (El Bulli) during a wine pairing!

Valentin Roqueta together with Ferran Adria (El Bulli) during a wine pairing!

Valentin Roqueta founded Abadal in 1983 at Santa María de Horta de Avinyó, in the family vineyards close to the old Mas Roqueta.


The winery has modern facilities, where it works to recover the winemaking tradition in enriching the D.O. of Pla de Bages, with renewed vision. The grape selection is rigorous and the harvest is done according to the variations of the vineyards and the different degrees of maturation.


The winery combines modern technology with the twelfth-century farmhouse, in perfect harmony. The farm house is now a museum, open to visits. In the old cellar, Sant Ramon, tastings are conducted, barrel tastings, the wines of Abadal and especially the Picapoll, that is a variety native to Pla de Bages.

Picapoll negre

Historically, dating back to the 17th century, Picapoll is a grape varietal native to the Languedoc area of France that has currently found its way to the northeast portion of Spain in Catalonia. Found as a red, white and gray varietal, the white varietal is currently the most often planted.


Picapoll is translated as “lip-stinger’ in French as a result of the high acidity of its must and was the basis of Picardan and Clairette, popular wines that were exported from Languedoc to Northern Europe. Following the invasion of phylloxera, a fungal disease that hit the majority of Northern Europe, plantings of the Picapoll varietal dwindled until the end of the 19th century when hardier, more disease resistant varietals were planted.


Abadal Picapoll 2012, 100% Picapoll

Pale yellow with light straw coloring and silver highlights. In the nose it is transmitting freshness, with floral notes (jasmine) and ripe fruit, with touches of citrus (grapefruit) and a background of honey and apricot. In the mouth it has a large structure, satiny feel with fresh acidity and hints of terroir. Aged in tanks on lees for 3 months.

335 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

Celler Martín Faixó, Would you like to swing on a star (and carry wine home in a jar) D.O Emporda

8/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Emporda – Celler Martín Faixó– Cap de Creus – Perafita Picapoll

Would you like to swing on a star

Cadaqués doesn’t ring a bell? It should! Famous as it is, you should have heard about it. New York, Paris, Rome…….., sure if you like the big city feel. It’s kind of similar only much smaller.

The town of Cadaques!

The town of Cadaques!

But seriously, for the art lovers out there, this is and I guess will always be, the land of the great Salvador Dali. He once said of the town that inspired much of his work: “I have spent a delightful summer, as always, in the perfect and dreamy town of Cadaqués. There, alongside the Latin sea, I have been quenched by light and colour”.

Salvador Dali

I think that Dalis statement could be applied to the wines made in this region. Not far from Cadaqués, the beautiful Masia of Celler Martín Faixó is laying majestically overlooking the National Park of Cap de Creus.

Celler Martín Faixó. The Masia.

Celler Martín Faixó. The Masia.

The main vineyards of Celler Martín Faixó can be found around Cadaqués, it is the venture of two family businesses: agriculture, with a vineyard and an olive grove, and food business, with two restaurants.

Celler Martin Faixo vineyards!

Celler Martin Faixo vineyards!

During 2000 the Martin Faixó family started to recover the grapevine plantation in the National Park of Cap de Creus. Four years later, the first grapes were picked by hand in the same lands where they had been by the owner’s grandparents 50 years before. The year 2007 was a milestone, this when the Perafita wines emerged on the Spanish market under the Denomination of Origin Empordà. So, if anyone feels like starting a wine making business, make sure you’ve got the time!

Grape selection at the cellar!

Grape selection at the cellar!

The vineyards covers 14 hectares of native varietals, Picapoll and Garnacha, blended with foreign grape varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Muscat of Alexandria, in order to produce more interesting wines. As the motto is “quality over quantity”, it is quite understandable that the production is limited to 35,000 bottles a year.


Perafita comes from the 14th century farmhouse that borders the municipal areas of three villages: Cadaqués (Salvador Dali’s village), Roses (El Bulli is located at the outskirts) and Port de la Selva. In 2003 the family bought the farmhouse and restored it into a Cellar. Cadac is the name of Martin Faixo’s best wine; the name comes from a small tree that is very common in the “Cap de Creus” landscape.

Cap de Creus is worth a visit with our without visiting wineries!

Cap de Creus is worth a visit with our without visiting wineries!

The wines are characterized by a mineral soil of slate and a Mediterranean microclimate, with great temperature contrast between day and night, but also with warm summers and cold winters. Standing at 300 meters, the Tramuntana wind is an element that contributes to the good health of the vineyard and marks the character, personality and structure of the wine. It is one of three wineries within Cap de Creus National Park. In accordance with this protected environment, the winery practices an ecological agriculture with the aim of gaining the certification of ecological wine in 2014.

Barrel room at Celler Martin Faixo

Barrel room at Celler Martin Faixo

The Picapoll or Picapolla is an indigenous white grape variety of the D.O. Pla de Bages, but also found in Emporda. The grape cluster of Picapoll is small in size and compact. The berries are often spherical in shape, with a tender skin. It is a grape variety that ripens late. Picapoll wine is light with moderate acidity, fruity aroma and a bright yellow color.

Picapoll grape

Picapoll grape

Perafita Picapoll, 91% Picapoll and 9% Moscatell de Alexandría

Perafita Picapoll

Perafita Picapoll

Bright and clean in color. Fresh nose with good intensity of citrus (lemon) and white (pear) with small touches of stone fruit (fresh apricots). Herbaceous notes with feelings of “sotobosque” that brings a lot of freshness, floral nuances at the background. Fresh on the palate, citrus and white fruit, very good acidity, very fresh and light persistence. Long finish and aftertaste of citrus and white fruit. Only thing missing is the sunset!

358 to go!