Let’s go Organic with Albet I Noya, Evidence in D.O Penedes

319/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Penedes – Sant Pau d’Ordal – Albet I Noya – La MiLana 2011

Evidence……..,

lamilanaLa MiLana 2011, Caladoc, Ull de Llebre (Tempranillo), Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Dark garnet color, bright with high layers. The primary aromas are those of new wood, they clearly stand out. Once aerated, lots of ripe fruit (red and black) shows their presence. Toasty but well integrated. Mineral notes and hints of vanilla. The palate has a very powerful attack, full-bodied and sweet. Very well integrated tannins. Roasted notes are very present in the mouth as well. Long and persistent. Nice one! The variety Caladoc was created by grape breeder Paul Truel in 1958. The grape is a crossing between Grenache and Malbec that Truel created with the aim of having a vine that could grow in southern France that was less prone to coulure than either of its parents.

La Milana vineyard are 11 terraces that make up 7 ha. around the Can Milà de la Roca farmhouse. 150 years ago this land was farmed directly by Mr Milà’s wife and hence became known as La Milana. The blend of the four varieties is the same proportion as the makeup of the vienyards, making this a true single vineyard wine. Perhaps this is what gives it such harmony and a clear expression of place. Hand picking with a vineyard selection is followed by a triage grape by grape after destemming. The winemaking process is centred on the utmost respect for the fruit of these vineyards..

enoturismo_penedes-1350143436

The Can Vendrell modernist cellar of Albet I Noya was built in 1925 and houses the principal vinification processes. The Xapallà cellar next door was finished in August 2004 and houses the temperature-controlled warehouse, the barrel hall and a new bottling plant. The new gravity-based l’Era cellar was opened in 2010 to produce the Albet I Noya top wines separately.

ain_finca_0001_1

Organic wine is largely wine from organically grown grapes, but the regulations primarily limit the quantity of sulphur dioxide that can be used, approximately half the levels permitted in a conventional cellar. This means that the Can Vendrell cellar is required to maintain a level of hygiene far superior to that of a conventional cellar. Nonetheless, once more we can see that the key to making great wines lies in the quality of the raw materials: the grapes. Albet i Noya continue to research new methods and grape varieties. They are currently experimenting with seven pre-phylloxera grape varieties with 500 vines of each type. They have looked for varieties that had survived naturally in the wild, indicating a high natural resistance to diseases. They are looking for both sensorial and ecological qualities in these vines. Early results indicate two varieties with considerable possibilities. They also work with Incavi (The Catalan institute of Vines and Wine), to select authoctonous varieties that have greater resistance to parasites whilst producing quality fruit.

Albet 2

By working only with grapes in optimum sanitary conditions, Albet i Noya are able to work largely without using SO2. They use authoctonous yeasts from the Albet i Noya vineyards, selected from the Xarel·lo variety and they are working in the selection of other yeasts for the remaining varieties. The fermenting vats have an inert gas system (a mix of nitrogen and CO2) to prevent potential alterations in the wine. Once again, the emphasis is on prevention rather than cure: as the wine cannot be chemically corrected, the hygiene of the cellar is key to avoiding disappointments. The cellar equipment is cleaned using high pressure hot water (up to 90°C) instead of chemical products.

Albet 3

Of the 145 hectares they control, 80.5 are given over exclusively to the cultivation of vines. The estate vines cover the western slopes of the Ordal mountain range known as “Costers d’Ordal”, following the curves of the terrain in stepped terraces or on slopes exposed to the midday sun. As in all good wine-growing land, the soil in Can Vendrell has low organic content, with a variable content of clay and sand on a bed of calcareous stone, a permeable base with good moisture retention. Leaving aside for a moment the suitability of the land for wine growing, there are other factors which intervene in the selection of the most suitable vines for cultivation, such as the lie of the land, the hours of sun, the humidity and altitude of the terrain.

Ablet 4

The white varieties are Chardonnay (1.1ha) Macabeu (9.7ha), Xarel·lo (19.1ha), Parellada (10.5ha), Moscatell (0.4ha), Viogner (1.5ha), Sauvignon Blanc (0.3ha), Riesling (1.5ha), Garnatxa Blanca (0.2ha) and 4 experimental varieties (0.8ha). The red varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon (10ha), Tempranillo o Ull de llebre (8.3ha), Merlot (5.4ha), Syrah (6ha), Garnatxa negre (2.2ha), Pinot Noir (2.9ha), and 6 experimental varieties (0.8ha). Whilst the Xarel·lo, Macabeu and Parellada are the varieties traditionally planted in the Penedès region, the others had been lost at the end of the 19th century with the Phylloxera crisis and the growth of Cava, until their reintroduction to Can Vendrell by the Albet family in the early eighties.

Albet 5

Josep M. i Toni Albet i Noya, started a ambitious project in 1998 collecting 7 lost grapes varieties. The aim of the project is to test seven ancient grape varieties, both from a point of view of vineyard management and of winemaking potential. The grape varieties have been recovered from old and abandoned vineyards, including one found in Albet i Noya’s estate. The search for old varieties has been so successful that they have extended it to a second phase of the project with seven more varieties that started in 2012 and will last until 2020.

Albet 6

The belief is that some of these varieties date from before the phylloxera plague. When Phylloxera hit Europe’s vineyards, the price of grapes and wine in the Penedès went sky high. As a result a lot of the less productive varieties were abandoned in favor of higher yielding ones. In the Penedès it is believed there were some 30 varieties more than are currently cultivated. As we now know, which often is the case, these lower yielding plants produce more concentrated fruit, these could be excellent candidate for winemaking.

albet-i-noya

Once the seven varieties (four whites and three reds) were selected, they grafted 500 vines of each, 250 with vigorous rootstock (Richter 110) and the other half with a less vigorous strain (41-B). The idea is to pick and vinify each strain separately. The wines are made in a small cellar, specifically designed for micro-vinifications with small 500 litre tanks, but all the technological advances of the main cellar.

experimental1

To make the project as parcipitative as possible, and to get a feel for the real potential of these varieties, every year they send samples of the wines to 165 people in 24 countries: importers, distributors, sommeliers, wine critics, renowned winemakers, as well as the Consell Regulador de la DO. Penedès and the Institut Català de la Vinya i el Vi (INCAVI). The participants then return their tasting notes and impressions of each wine.

experimental3

With this feedback, and their own internal data over five years, they decide which of the varieties have the potential to be planted more extensively to produce wine on a commercial scale. To date they can announce that after the fifth vintage in 2006, they finished the first phase of the project with two white varieties (Marina Rión and Vidal) and one red (Belat) that show both excellent quality and good farming potential. They plan to plant a hectare of each and officially request their approval by the Denominació d’Origen Penedès.

BElat Albet I nOya

In the coming years they will work to encourage the official organisms to accelerate the process of approving these three autochthonous varieties that they consider to be important to the future of the Penedès region.

 

72 to go!

 

Eudald Massana Noya, Bubble Toes D.O. Cava

295/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Cava – Sant Pau d’Ordal – Eudald Massana Noya – Mil.lenni Brut Nature

Bubble Toes…….,

 

small_milenium_cava_penedes_webMil.lenni Brut Nature, Chardonnay, Macabeo, Old Vines Xarel.lo 

Small and persistent bubbles. Intense golden yellow color, bright. Medium-high intensity, where complex fragrance notes of candied white fruit mingle with hints of toasty bottle aging, nuts and butter, all under a soft, floral bed. Notes of aging with aromas of red plums and jam, subtle smell of citrus contributing with a touch of freshness. Well balanced in the mouth, sublime in the mouth which ripe apples and almond cream tart. creamy with persistent passage through the mouth, and a dry and elegant aftertaste.

DSC_0362

This is the story of nine generations of the same family devoted in body and soul to their vineyards. They are farmers who have always worked the land. Since the beginning of the eighteenth century, according to manuscripts kept in the Monastery of Sant Sebastià dels Gorgs, where landowners paid their taxes, the Massana family has been linked to the farming of Mediterranean crops on one way or another: grapes, wheat, peaches and other fruits, all on their estate.

small_blai_posta

 

Eudald’s grandfather Josep Massana Carbó, and his father Antoni Massana Ràfols, were recognised for their contribution to the wine world and received different awards and merits for their lifetime achievements. This is a story which is shaped by the entrepreneurship of the Massana family, and which has been consolidated by a new generation through Eudald, who started a new winemaking project with the help of his parents. Today, this project has become a working wine estate and company with its own distinctive identity.  From a very tender age, Eudald Massana dreamed about making wine, bottling it and striving for it to be the very best. By following in the footsteps of nine generations, that dream has now become a reality and as Eudald explains in his own words, managing the winery is “a commitment and a source of pride”.

DSC_0367

The farmhouse has been around for the last 300 years according to documents uncovered recently. The house where the cellar now stands has a long history. Just like many other Catalonian households, villages and cities, el Maset has been home to many generations since it was first built. A lot happens in 300 years. In 1946, a windmill was installed to generate electricity and the first radio was purchased. In 1950, the first tractor arrived on the estate and years later, a truck was bought so that the family could deliver their wines in and around Barcelona. In 1963, municipal electricity reached the estate and the family bought their first car.

Houses are places which store countless memories of the people who have lived there. Eudald was born there and has spent his entire life there, and this is extremely important for understanding just how much Eudald loves this house and the estate. He himself says that “the energy that you put into the house comes through in the Cavas and wines, because they reflect your experiences and memories”.

small_pagesos

“The land that has witnessed my birth into this world and seen me grow up is the same land which has cradled these vineyards laden with grapes ripened by the Mediterranean breeze and sunshine. It is this land, and no other, that is a part of me. I feel incredibly lucky because it is here, on this land, that my ancestors delight me every day with the wisdom and knowledge that they have passed down. They guide my hands and my spirit whilst I work with the best fruits that this land has to offer. With every day that goes by, I am more and more aware of the great pleasure that I derive from my work here. It is then that I realise that I am part of this land, and that this land has no end and no beginning”. Eduald Massana Noya

small_masia_nova_penedes_vi

During the summers of the 1960s and 1970s, the farmhouse was full of visiting relatives who lived further afield: aunts, cousins and friends. There were always children running around the estate, getting into some form of mischief or other. Like the famous egg fight which broke out! You can just imagine what the adults must have thought seeing as the kids had been told to collect eggs from the chicken coup. Another funny episode was when they would drink wine straight from the barrel. There was always one kid who made out that he was drinking when he really wasn’t, but the other kids weren’t so clever and wound up getting drunk. During the harvest, the workers would all have lunch in the vineyards and would bring their own food and a small barrel of their wine. The kids would hide the wine much to the rage of the workers, and you can imagine how they would get chased up and down the vineyards. 

89 to go!

 

Coma Romà, Rumba Catalana in D.O. Penedes

280/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Penedes – Sant Pau d’Ordal – Coma Romà – Coma Romà Xarel·lo Macerat 2012

Rumba Catalana……,

Coma Romà Xarel·lo Macerat 2012

Coma Romà Xarel·lo Macerat 2012, 100% Xarel.lo

A noble and not so soft spoken wine! Fine yellow straw colour, bright and clean, dense tears that slowly flows down the inside of the glass. Aromas of ripe white fruit (pears and apples, candied fruits), banana peel, soft milky notes (yoghurt mousse) balanced creaminess and floral notes, aromatic herbs, fennel and a gentle balsamic background, a slight touch of wet stone. The palate has a very good entry, very tasty ripe white fruit, good acidity, light citrus touches that appear after a while, very palatable, intense, broad, soft notes of spice (white pepper), and pleasant persistence. Long finish, white fruit and slightly smoky aftertaste.

The Xarel.lo grapes, from vines that are older than 70 years, is skin macerated before juice extraction and subsequent fermentation in new French oak barrels, under temperature control. The wine stays in the same barrels for about 5 months and in contact with its lees. Production is limited to 900 bottles. Get a bottle now!

104 to go!

Albet I Noya, Ella Era Mala in D.O. Penedes

191/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Penedes – Sant Pau d’Ordal – Albet I Noya – Lignum Blanc 2013

Ella Era Mala…….,

lignumblanc

Lignum Blanc 2013, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Xarel.lo

The grapes for this wine come from the estate in Costers de l’Ordal. The vineyards are over 300m above sea level, and are a selection of the oldest vines of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, growing in dry calcareous soils that have been organically farmed. Bright straw color yellow color. Aromas of white flowers, ripe fruit and some spiciness. The barrel, which only the Chardonnay has spent time in, is noted but just slightly in the background. Almost equal parts Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc (with a small portion of Xarel.lo) makes this a crisp, medium-bodied and fruit driven wine. In addition you will note intense floral notes and light herbal notes. The palate is rich, fruity, fresh and well structured. Slightly bitter which is quite appealing and good persistence.

enoturismo_penedes-1350143436

The Can Vendrell modernist cellar of Albet I Noya was built in 1925 and houses the principal vinification processes. The Xapallà cellar next door was finished in August 2004 and houses the temperature-controlled warehouse, the barrel hall and a new bottling plant. The new gravity-based l’Era cellar was opened in 2010 to produce the Albet I Noya top wines separately.

ain_finca_0001_1

Organic wine is largely wine from organically grown grapes, but the regulations primarily limit the quantity of sulphur dioxide that can be used, approximately half the levels permitted in a conventional cellar. This means that the Can Vendrell cellar is required to maintain a level of hygiene far superior to that of a conventional cellar. Nonetheless, once more we can see that the key to making great wines lies in the quality of the raw materials: the grapes.

Albet 2

By working only with grapes in optimum sanitary conditions, Albet i Noya are able to work largely without using SO2. They use authoctonous yeasts from the Albet i Noya vineyards, selected from the Xarel·lo variety and they are working in the selection of other yeasts for the remaining varieties. The fermenting vats have an inert gas system (a mix of nitrogen and CO2) to prevent potential alterations in the wine. Once again, the emphasis is on prevention rather than cure: as the wine cannot be chemically corrected, the hygiene of the cellar is key to avoiding disappointments. The cellar equipment is cleaned using high pressure hot water (up to 90°C) instead of chemical products.

Albet 3

Of the 145 hectares they control, 80.5 are given over exclusively to the cultivation of vines. The estate vines cover the western slopes of the Ordal mountain range known as “Costers d’Ordal”, following the curves of the terrain in stepped terraces or on slopes exposed to the midday sun. As in all good wine-growing land, the soil in Can Vendrell has low organic content, with a variable content of clay and sand on a bed of calcareous stone, a permeable base with good moisture retention. Leaving aside for a moment the suitability of the land for wine growing, there are other factors which intervene in the selection of the most suitable vines for cultivation, such as the lie of the land, the hours of sun, the humidity and altitude of the terrain.

Ablet 4

The white varieties are Chardonnay (1.1ha) Macabeu (9.7ha), Xarel·lo (19.1ha), Parellada (10.5ha), Moscatell (0.4ha), Viogner (1.5ha), Sauvignon Blanc (0.3ha), Riesling (1.5ha), Garnatxa Blanca (0.2ha) and 4 experimental varieties (0.8ha). The red varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon (10ha), Tempranillo o Ull de llebre (8.3ha), Merlot (5.4ha), Syrah (6ha), Garnatxa negre (2.2ha), Pinot Noir (2.9ha), and 6 experimental varieties (0.8ha). Whilst the Xarel·lo, Macabeu and Parellada are the varieties traditionally planted in the Penedès region, the others had been lost at the end of the 19th century with the Phylloxera crisis and the growth of Cava, until their reintroduction to Can Vendrell by the Albet family in the early eighties.

Albet 5

Josep M. i Toni Albet i Noya, started a ambitious project in 1998 collecting 7 lost grapes varieties. The aim of the project is to test seven ancient grape varieties, both from a point of view of vineyard management and of winemaking potential. The grape varieties have been recovered from old and abandoned vineyards, including one found in Albet i Noya’s estate. The search for old varieties has been so successful that they have extended it to a second phase of the project with seven more varieties that started in 2012 and will last until 2020.

Albet 6

The belief is that some of these varieties date from before the phylloxera plague. When Phylloxera hit Europe’s vineyards, the price of grapes and wine in the Penedès went sky high. As a result a lot of the less productive varieties were abandoned in favor of higher yielding ones. In the Penedès it is believed there were some 30 varieties more than are currently cultivated. As we now know, which often is the case, these lower yielding plants produce more concentrated fruit, these could be excellent candidate for winemaking.

albet-i-noya

Once the seven varieties (four whites and three reds) were selected, they grafted 500 vines of each, 250 with vigorous rootstock (Richter 110) and the other half with a less vigorous strain (41-B). The idea is to pick and vinify each strain separately. The wines are made in a small cellar, specifically designed for micro-vinifications with small 500 litre tanks, but all the technological advances of the main cellar.

experimental1

To make the project as parcipitative as possible, and to get a feel for the real potential of these varieties, every year they send samples of the wines to 165 people in 24 countries: importers, distributors, sommeliers, wine critics, renowned winemakers, as well as the Consell Regulador de la DO. Penedès and the Institut Català de la Vinya i el Vi (INCAVI). The participants then return their tasting notes and impressions of each wine.

experimental3

With this feedback, and their own internal data over five years, they decide which of the varieties have the potential to be planted more extensively to produce wine on a commercial scale. To date they can announce that after the fifth vintage in 2006, they finished the first phase of the project with two white varieties (Marina Rión and Vidal) and one red (Belat) that show both excellent quality and good farming potential. They plan to plant a hectare of each and officially request their approval by the Denominació d’Origen Penedès.

BElat Albet I nOya

In the coming years they will work to encourage the official organisms to accelerate the process of approving these three autochthonous varieties that they consider to be important to the future of the Penedès region.

190 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle