Oliver Viticultors, Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes in Cavaland!

291/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Cava – Subirats – Oliver Viticultors – Sadurni Oliver Brut Nature 2011

Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes……..,

RBN-granSadurni Oliver Brut Nature 2011, 40% Xarel.lo, 30% Macabeu, 20% Parellada and 10% Chardonnay

Pale yellow color with yellow to green reflections, small bubbles which rise slowly as a rosary, finally forming the crown.  The scent is fresh, thanks to the fruity notes of the cuvée and the contribution of aging on yeast. This Cava spends a minimum of 18 months before being released, but it is more likely that it has spent up to 30 moths on its lees. Vinosity is clean and it’s easy to drink, the entrance is creamy and light. Well structured on the palate, smooth and balanced. The retronasal sensations are clean. Foams perfectly without excess of carbon dioxide, and it has a balanced acidity. A real walk through the mouth.

The low value of the Penedès grapes has caused some of the growers to abandon their family heritage and pursue their happiness in a world outside the wonderful world of wine. Some still hope that the next generation continues the family project and this on the other hand has caused some growers to create their own cellars. This is one of may such enterprises. The exciting project of Oliver Viticultors is located at the Maset Cal Xic de l’Agustí, in the village of Can Batista (Subirats). It is the project of Sadurni Oliver and Gemma Sivilla, making it a family business that produces handcrafted and sparkling Cavas “with feeling”. I especially like the elegance, openness and the fruit of their Cavas, like for example their Pinot Noir Rosé. They appeared in the latest edition of Cavatast St. Sadurní, that’s when I tasted their products the first time, and I am happy to say they are going to be there for this years edition as well!


They have vineyards in Subirats, Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, Sant Martí Sarroca, Torrelles de Foix and Font-rubí. Totaling 55 acres, on which they nurture 12 different varieties of grapes. A wine heritage! Trust in the future also make wines. The Oliver/Sivilla family states, “We are first and foremost about the love for Penedes, the love for this land, its vineyards and its landscape. We are growers (viticultors), proud to keep the legacy of our ancestors alive : the land that changed hands from generation to generation”.

Bubbles, bubbles……., bubbles everywhere I turn! Today the great Cava party in Sant Sadurni d’Anoia is about to start. Attracting visitors from all over the world, this Cava fair is going to show the best of what D.O. Penedes and D.O. Cava can offer. There’s going to be bubbles high and low and I for one am going to take the opportunity to spend a day or two, tasting Cavas from the cellars, existing in and around Sant Sadurni d’Anoia! There’s no good way of transmitting the experience so for that reason I invite you to come and share in the festivities yourself. If you can’t make it this year, you should know that this event takes place every year, at almost the same date.


Like every year at this time, I declare another classic events that occur in the wine scene, and this one especially for lovers of Cava, Cavatast 2014, to be held this year from 3 to 5 October in Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, marking another wine making year that has passed in the world capital of Cava. Throughout the weekend you can enjoy the best of the best wine cellars, Cava tastings for “penny” but besides that, there are many other activities, winery visits, artisanal work from the region, gastronomy, music and many more activities, which you can have a look at in the Program of activities Cavatast 2014.

93 to go!

Rosell Mir, A Change is Gonna Come in D.O. Penedes

183/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Penedes – Subirats – Rosell Mir – Marc Mir 2008

A Change is Gonna Come…….

Marc Mir 2008

Marc Mir 2008, 70% Xarel.lo and 30% Chardonnay

This is not a Super Catalan and if you are an all together fan of Chardonnay, don’t expect much from this blend, as the Xarel.lo is dominating all together and the one thing I fail to understand with this, very well made and likeable wine, is, why did they use Chardonnay at all? If you have a predisposition in trying new, fresh and easy to drink wines, this is certainly for you. Plenty of white fruit, pear and apple and also some sweet notes of peach. This is a dry wine but there are some tendencies of it reminding you of a sweet fruity summer beverage. I liked it a lot!


The first document that mentions the Mir family of Can Guineu, in Sant Sadurni de Noya, is an official deed signed by the Notary Public Esteve Soley in Barcelona on 30 September 1474. The document grants Guillem Mir, peasant-farmer, a house, a flour mill and fields, vineyards and woodland in the Vilarnau district, within the territory of Subirats castle and the parish of Sant Sadurní de Subirats, all ceded by the owner, Isabel de Vilafranca (daughter of the Squire of l´Arboç, Pere Lluis de Vilafranca), wife of Squire Galcerá of Vilarnau, last of the Squires of Vilarnau.


This meant that Guillem Mir became a vassal, entering into a feudal relationship with the lords of Vilarnau to whom he had to pay homage and swear an oath of fealty. On the feast of Saint Michael each year he had to pay an annual ground rent comprising an amount in cash, one tenth of his grape and wheat harvest, one chicken, one piglet, one lamb, one goat and various cheeses, as well as half a tithe of his beans and other vegetables. He also had to pay a further cash amount in benefit of Santa Maria de Vilarnau. This document, which was drawn up two years after the end of the civil war which lasted from 1462 to 1472 and which left the Principality badly damaged and impoverished, records the decision of the Squires of Vilarnau, who had been greatly affected by the events of the day, to grant Barcelona peasant-farmer Guillem Mir, the first of the Mirs of Can Guineu, the status of vassal. To trace the link between Guillem Mir and Lluch Mir, who died in 1606 and who is the first of the Mirs of Can Guineu to be properly documented in the family archive, we have to go back to the censuses of 1497, 1515 and 1553.

Resize of IMG_1704

The census of 1497 for the parish of Sant Sadurní de Subirats mentions Guillem Mir and Juan Mir, probably his son. In a ledger containing a variety of entries in the parish archive of Sant Sadurni, it is recorded that in 1524 Juan Mir de Vilarnau fathered a son who was given the name Juan. In 1524 the same Juan Mir baptised another son named Antoni Benet, and the son born in 1524 must have died by 1526, as he then had another son who was also baptised Juan. The entry also records that he was a miller. This Juan Mir de Vilarnau, born in 1526, is mentioned in the census of 1553 as a miller, married to Violant who died in 1571. Their marriage resulted in several children, the heir being Lluch Mir, who died in 1606, having been married first to Elisabet and then to Jerónima Ferrer. He had two children with Elisabet, Joan and Paula, and another two with Jerónima, Joana and Bartomeu. The heir, Bartomeu Mir i Ferrer was born in 1587 and married Elisabet Martí, from Can Martí de la Torrevella in Gelida. He became estate manager to the noblewoman Isabel of Argençola, who owned a number of properties around the town of Sant Sadurní.


From this point on the tale becomes well known and extensively documented. The heir to Bartomeu was Pau Mir i Martí (1619-1707), who married Maria Janer. He lived to the age of eighty-eight, during which time he bought a series of properties that had belonged to Galcerá Ferrer, Baltasar Agustí and Miquel Raventós, as well as to Anton Tarrassa and the administrators of Santa Creu Hospital in Barcelona, located in the Carrer de l´Hospital in Sant Sadurni. His son and heir was Pere Mir i Janer (1677-1725), who married Eulàlia Ros Mestre, heiress of Can Ros of Subirats. Then came Pere Mir i Ros (1701-1787), who was first married to Magdalena Romaní and subsequently to Josepa Petit. He demolished the houses in the Carrer de l´Hospital in order to build a single large house, entered through a flattened arch with the date 1776 and the initials MR (Mir i Ros) engraved inside an ornamental fringe on the keystone.


Next in line was his son, Josep Mir i Romaní (1732-1780), who married Magdalena Porta, and he was followed by Pere Mir i Porta (1762-1834), who married first Magdalena Viladoms and then Caterina Sagristá. Pere Mir drove the business forward, installing a large wine distilling apparatus in 1814 followed by another in 1821, which was used to make liquor and was impressive enough to draw considerable attention from the press of the day. Pere Mir i Porta was a lay member of the Holy Office for the parish of Sant Sadurní, forming part of the Court of the Inquisition and was highly active, particularly during the Napoleonic wars. It seems that his shrewdness in business and the events of the day led to him being called “the Fox”, a name that was taken on by the family seat, which was unusual for a wealthy family like the Mirs, as their houses usually reflected the family name along with some description of the location (Mata del Racó, Llopart de la Costa, Ràfols dels Caus, Martí de la Torrevella, etc.), and they should by rights have been known as the Mirs of Vilarnau. Nevertheless, they became known as the Mirs of Can Guineu (the House of the Fox). Pere “the Fox” was succeeded by Pere Mir i Viladoms (1793-1853), who married Antònia Molins y Fatjó. He demolished the house that had been built in 1776, though he retained the entrance from the Carrer de l´Hospital, which led to the south wing of the covered patio that formed part of the grand house built on the site in 1851.

Chappa Cava

He was succeeded by his son, Jaume Mir i Molins, who married Ana Cristina Capella i Sabadell and who was in turn succeeded by his own son, Marc Mir i Capella, who was born in Barcelona in 1851 and married Antònia Ràfols i Fontanals, from Avinyonet del Penedès. Marc Mir was to become the most renowned member of the family from both an intellectual and a social point of view. He became both mayor and member of parliament, he wrote about agricultural issues and was a driving force behind the replanting of the vineyards after they had been wiped out by phylloxera. He organised the first wine congress in Spain and hosted it at the Can Guineu Winery in 1898. On 1 June 1905 a monument to him was unveiled at the town hall commemorating his fight against phylloxera, with an inscription that read: “Els ciutadans a son Patrici – els pagesos a son mestre” (From the citizens to their nobleman, from the peasants to their master). The monument was demolished at the beginning of the Civil War. Marc Mir died of the flu on 29 December 1903, leaving eight children: Pere, Josep Mª, Pau, Jaquelina, Dolors, Antònia, Ernestina and Amèlia.


Marc Mir played an important role in the history of Catalan agriculture, though he did not maintain the industrial businesses built up by of his predecessors. This becomes clear from the fact that he leased out the last paper mills, flour mills and distilleries that the Mirs had operated, putting an end to five centuries in which the family had acquired great estates, combining industrial businesses and trade with the Americas with their more traditional agricultural enterprises. As the 20th century approached, the agricultural world began to change, and with it society itself. Pere Mir i Ràfols (1878-1952) took control of the estate, living through the troubled times of the armed action by the rabassaires (vine-growers association) and the Spanish Civil War. He married Maria Vidal, daughter of the writer Eduard Vidal de Valenciano, and together they had three daughters: Ramona, Maria Teresa and Maria Antònia.

Marc Mir 2

Ramona Mir i Vidal married the poet from Ampurda, Carles Fages de Climent, Maria Teresa remained unmarried and Maria Antònia married Josep Rosell Casas, a doctor from Vilafranca del Penedès. Maria Teresa lived in the 19th century family house until her death in 2000, and with her ended the family name of the Mir of Vilarnau, subsequently the Mir of Can Guineu, which had been passed down from father to son over six centuries, a period in which the family had played a significant role in shaping the social and economic history of the town of Sant Sadurní. Mª Antónia Mir i Vidal had three sons: Eduard, Ramón and Josep Mª Rosell i Mir. Josep Mª has continued the family tradition, producing wine at his mother’s estate.

198 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle