Clos i Terrasses, I’ll Be Home For Christmas in DOQ Priorat

380/365 – Catalonia – DOQ Priorat – Gratallops – Clos i Terrasses – Laurel 2012

I’ll Be Home For Christmas……….,

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Laurel 2012, Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha and Syrah

Dark cherry color with cardinal red reflections. Clean and bright, abundant tears. High intensity nose, expressive, full, concentrated and enjoyable. Ripe black fruit dominates and gives way to floral notes, spicy, toasted (which after a while become roasted) and deep minerals. The palate has a powerful entrance with a lot of volume. It is a fleshy red wine, with great weight deriving from the fruit, tasty, unctuous step, with excellent acidity and ripe tannic sensation. Balanced, long finish and very persistent. Laurel 2012 comes from the small winery Clos i Terrasses, led by Daphne Glorian, creator of the legendary and excellent Clos Erasmus. Laurel 2010 is a blend of Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, aged for 15 months in second year barrels, in which the Clos Erasmus was aged. Recommend decanting about two hours. Another true Super Catalan!

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This fantastic creation by Daphne Glorian takes its name from the Laurel tree, the Bau Laurel, which is present all over the Catalan countryside and certainly one of the major Mediterranean herbs. Laurus Nobilis is an aromatic evergreen tree or large shrub with green, glossy leaves, native to the Mediterranean region. It is one of the plants used for bay leaf seasoning in cooking. It is known as bay laurel, sweet bay, bay tree (esp. United Kingdom), true laurel, Grecian laurel, laurel tree or simply laurel. Laurus Nobilis figures prominently in classical Greek, Roman, and Biblical culture.

laurus_nobilis*Worldwide, many other kinds of plants in diverse families are also called “bay” or “laurel”, generally due to similarity of foliage or aroma to Laurus nobilis, and the full name is used for the California bay laurel (Umbellularia), also in the family Lauraceae. Laurus nobilis is a widespread relic of the laurel forests that originally covered much of the Mediterranean Basin when the climate of the region was more humid. With the drying of the Mediterranean during the Pliocene era, the laurel forests gradually retreated, and were replaced by the more drought-tolerant sclerophyll plant communities familiar today. Most of the last remaining laurel forests around the Mediterranean are believed to have disappeared approximately ten thousand years ago, although some remnants still persist in the mountains of southern Turkey, northern Syria, southern Spain, north-central Portugal, northern Morocco, Canary Islands and in Madeira.

* Source – Wikipedia

5 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

Mas Doix, This Is The Life in DOQ Priorat

377/365 – Catalonia – DOQ Priorat – Poboleda – Celler Mas Doix – Salanques 2006

This Is The Life……..,

md_331706_535aaa5d7a8112b2394740a4b0d16210Salanques 2006, 65% Garnacha, 20% Cariñena, remaining 15% is a mix of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot

Cherry red color with garnet rim and dense tears that stains the glass. Medium-high layers. Delicate aromas of red fruit, cherries, spices, licorella and pepper. As secondary there was toast, dairy notes, some licorice and balsamic. Marked minerality and hints of herbs with a background of black fruit. The palate has a fresh entry with good body, silky tannins, good acidity and a fairly persistent aftertaste with hints of fruit jam and minerality. WOW, what a delicious wine!

Heaven, I’m in heaven……, how can I not be, true enough that wine is not always wine but sometimes, like today, it is so much more. When it chooses to transmit a feeling that elevates you to heaven, you know it’s something above a red colored beverage, made from grapes!

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But the again, who brings pizza to a wine tasting? I’ll tell you who and let me rewrite that, not pizza, Catalan coca! Something different, offering delicious produces on a owen baked dough. Pizza? Call it what you wish, I want more! Valenti Llagostera, wine maker and owner of Mas Doix starts us of with the wine tasting of the younger wines together with coca. He is slightly late as he had to stop at the local coca-place to pick up the two versions of coca, available this day.

Valenti and two friends in the vineyards, the Montsant mountain in the background!

After a well needed breakfast intake of, wine and coca we continue to the vineyards, which are amongst the oldest in the Priorat. When in Rome….

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Later, we would continue to try the aged reds at a local restaurant, Porta del Priorat, just outside the village of Poboleda, to enjoy hearty stews as that is what’s considered to accompany the wines best. And the Coca (pizza), yes I will have that again and yes it works well with the wine!

The barrel room at Mas Doix!

Five generations of the owners’ family have had ties with viticulture and wine making, Mas Doix is not the new kid on the block! But it was only in 1998 that Josep María Doix and his cousins, Ramón and Valentí Llagostera, decided to create the bodega while harvesting grapes in centuries-old vineyards.

The wine graveyard at Mas Doix, all the vintages produced. Have to come back one dark night.....

With this effort, the new era of the family tradition was reborn, taking up the hard to follow accomplishments from the 19th century when the wines made by Jaume Extrems Doix won Gold and Silver medals in Barcelona and in Paris during the World Fairs in the 1870s.

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The Phylloxera plague dealt a severe blow to the business, but staring the evil bug in the eye, the family was able to quickly replant the vineyards with native rootstock of Garnacha and Carinena.

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The grapes were taken to the Poboleda co-operative and made into wine up until 1999 when the new bodega’s first vintage was released. Currently, the family members, who are all very aware as well as extremely proud of their inheritance, divide their time between vineyard husbandry, winemaking and marketing.

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Mas Doix is still a small and modest bodega, whose philosophy is based on the utmost respect for the region’s winemaking tradition, and whose aim is to transmit the true essence of Priorat via its wines.

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The vineyards are located at 350 to 600 metres above sea-level, unfold at the foot of the sierra del Montsant on steep slopes with poor slate soils (called locally ‘llicorella’) in a region dominated by dry, rigorous microclimates.

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However, their location also benefits from the fresh north-westerly breeze, which lowers temperatures and gives rise to a slower ripening process and, in turn, to a late harvest. Low-yield vines lead to limited production, yet the wines made at the bodega are fresh, balanced and elegant, with the subtle mineral charge typical of DOQ Priorat.

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Valentí Llagostera explains that: “They are distinguished wines, made to be enjoyed, to share with friends and serve as a starting point for good conversation – wines which are an essential part of a certain way of life”.

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The lunch was memorable but the wines were heavenly and never to be forgotten. Got to try the Les Crestes 2009, the Salanques 2006 and the Mas Doix 2008. Each with its own personality, and if they were to be tried separately, without comparing them to each other, all would have superlatives written all over them.

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8 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

Celler Jaumandreu, Take A Chance On Me in D.O. Pla de Bages

374/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Pla de Bages – Fonollosa – Celler Jaumandreu – Més Que Paraules Negre 2012

Take A Chance On Me……..,

Mes Que ParaulesMés Que Paraules Negre 2012, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Sumoll

Intense dark cherry color with a bright garnet rim and violet reflections. High layers. Very bright and abundant tears. Good intensity with a wide range of aromas: lots of red fruit, somewhat jammy, ripe wild berries and floral fragrances, especially violet stands out. When opened, sweet spices appear together with balsamic and dairy. A touch of resin and thee secondaries reveal cinnamon, bitter cocoa and fresh scent of tobacco. It goes on and on. Elegant mineral background. Good entry, powerful and warm. Tasty, full of fruit, creamy toast and spices. Balanced acidity providing a good freshness. Sweetish and integrated tannins. Long and persistent presence balanced with fruit and toast. This is a killer wine!

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.

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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.

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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 mindset in this project, that is Jaumandreu!

S6300227-111 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

Agust and Gaig, Jingle Bells in D.O. Penedes

368/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Penedes – Pairing at Gaig with Agust – Rocaplana 2011

Jingle Bells……..,

…….., all the bells were ringing on all cylinders yesterday as the annual Christmas wine tasting and paring took place at Restaurant Gaig in Barcelona. Arranged, for the third time, by Augustin Palome Garcia it tends to be a popular event and let me tell you that the quality of wine and food you get is amazing, especially considering what you pay! Next year I have decided to be in the kitchen as my very dear friend Augustin takes care of the wine tasting. Not that we are going to beat Señor Gaig but we’ll certainly give it a good try. Agustin is a guy who lives and breathes wine, at times it is quit difficult to conduct a normal conversation with him as anything said could end up being connoted with wine, not that I mind!

Rocaplana 2011Rocaplana 2011, 100% Syrah

Cherry color with a violet rim. The nose is powerful. Aromas of black fruit (blackberry, currant and ripe plum) on a spicy and mineral background with hints of black pepper and tobacco. Dairy notes are present, providing a sweet sensation. The palate is nice with a full bodied yet soft experience. Silky tannins and aromas of ripe fruit. The end is refreshing and sweet.

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The gastronomic tour of Carles Gaig has its ups and downs, but mostly ups. He started his kitchen days by taking over the family restaurant in Horta in the early 70s. Got his first Michelin star in 1993 at the same restaurant and then Gaig and his wife and maitre Fina Navarro moved to Hotel Cram in 2004 to open a gourmet restaurant, which they operated for nearly ten years with great success. In 2013 they finally left that location to merge into a new project with Jordi Cruz. Totally renovated and under the name of Gaig, the new restaurant combines traditional cuisine with creative dishes, making this a gourmet restaurant to visit more than once. As always, Carles Gaig personally selects the products at the Mercat de la Boqueria to be able to offer a dining experience of the highest quality. He is still working actively in the kitchen and he’s very keen on meeting the diners as often as possible.

IMG_2135Agustin and Gaig came together perfectly with regards to the pairing of wine and food. Six wonderful wines together with six excellent plates, what more can one wish for! I am already looking forward to next years pairing and I can already promise it will be something special!

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17 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

Celler Sao del Coster, O Morro Nao Tem Vez in DOQ Priorat

363/365 – Catalonia – DOQ Priorat – Gratallops – Sao del Costers – ¨S¨ 2013

O Morro Nao Tem Vez………,

vino-s-sao-del-coster¨S¨ 2013, Garnacha, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah

Cherry red color with garnet rim. The nose is equilibrated, has loads of fruit, ripe red fruit, light floral and herbaceous notes. Balsamic and some licorice, light spice with medium mineral character. The palate is powerful, but very cool, is not a typical Priorat, has some warmth, the fruit in the nose has a strong presence, pronounced tannins but well polished, just hit the market but it will be even more enjoyable in a few years. Few wines from Priorat provide so much pleasure for such small buck.

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The past weekend has been full, over the brim, with wine tastings and visits to cellars which I have intended to visit for some time now. Finally the time was ripe and what’s better than visiting a winery? Visiting a winery together with family! Over the days to come you’ll get to know where I have been the past few days. Sao del Coster was visited on Saturday morning. We met with Michi Negron from the winery and she took us around the vineyards, the cellar with a tasting of the ¨S¨, Terram, 04 and the ¨Carignena¨. Got to taste some of the new brews, still in the barrels and the new Pim Pam Poom. The last edition Pim Pam Poom was tasted earlier this year and you can read about it here. After tha tasting we continued to the Quinoa restaurant in Falset, for a much needed lunch! A great day with great people and the perfect host in Michi! Check out the photos here!

22 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

Mas Oller Winery, Make Me Smile in D.O. Emporda

362/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Emporda – Torrent – Mas Oller – Plus 2010

Make Me Smile……..,

6d2e03d70c23b9e23279f5442d45e193…., always just smile! ………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!

wine-mas-oller-plusPlus 2012, 65% Syrah and 35% Garnacha

Intense cherry color with blue and violet iridescences. Clean and bright with abundant tears. Clean and expressive nose, predominantly fruity aromas that are quite intense. Ripe fruit such as red plums and black cherries. Gradually becomes more complex offering floral, spicy notes carrying nice and fine aromas, herbs and an increasingly intense minerality. The palate is elegant, silky, with a load of fruit. Good acidity and sweet tannins. Long and marked by a mineral persistence. This is a complex, balanced red wine with great value for money ratio.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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23 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

Mas Martinet, Show and Tell in DOQ Priorat

359/365 – Catalonia – DOQ Priorat – Falset – Mas Martinet – Els Escurçons 2010

Show and Tell…….,

escur10_174x241Els Escurçons 2010, Garnacha and Syrah

How much soul can a wine have? After trying Els Escurçons I´d say, unquantifiable! This is a wine with a beautiful dark cherry color, garnet rim and medium high layers. Bright and clean. The nose, after a while of areation, is spicy with creamy aromas, slightly oaky, ripe and complex. It is very expressive showing varietal fruit notes, like mature black berries. Mediterranean herbs, like thyme, fennel, rosemary and even a slight scent of lavender. Complex, in terms of the roasted notes found, chocolate and balsamic.It is powerful and elegant on the palate with a broad and intense entry, good acidity and polished tannins. It has a long finish with aromatic retronasal memories of spice, red fruit, herbs, wildflowers and light toast. Soul in a bottle! Love this Super Catalan!

Els Escurçons takes its name from the estate it comes from. A vineyard planted at an altitude of 600 meters, within the DOQ Priorat and surrounded by mountains which are full of herbs typical of the Mediterranean ecosystem. The vineyards consist of mostly Grenache and Syrah and some are planted on licorella soil.

IMGP3014This wine from Mas Martinet Viticultors, made by Josep Lluís Perez and his daughter Sara, is fresher and more aromatic than the rest of their range. Harvesting is done manually. Once in the winery, the grapes are transferred into wooden vats, cement tanks and open barrels where it ferments with its own yeast for about 28-32 days. Subsequently, the wine is aged in 300 liter barrels for 12 months and before bottling it gets to rest in a large wooden fudge to finish of the wine, making it rounder.

26 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

Vinyes d’Olivardots, M’Agrada in Empordà

354/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Empordà – Capmany – Vinyes d’Olivardots – Finca Olivardots Vermell 2011

M’Agrada……….,

finca-olivardots-11Finca Olivardots Vermell 2011, 70% Syrah, 20% Grenache and 10% Carignan

Ruby red color with dark ruby edge. Intense and bright. Elegant, aromatic and intense aroma of fresh, floral fruit with great expression of Syrah. Violets, blueberries and cassis, all supported by balsamic notes, herbs and a light background vanilla and some lactic sensation. In the mouth it displays freshness. Opulent attack, nice and velvety in the mouth. Soft, balanced input with volume and creaminess and fine tannins. Like the nose, the wine is very expressive, emitting fruit and balsamic sensations: blueberries, plums and cassis, seems everlasting!

viticultura01The Syrah and Grenache grapes come from vineyards which are between 10 to 15 years old and the Carignan grapes come from old vines with an average of 50 years of age. All of them are situated in the flattest land of the region at an altitude of 90/100 meters above sea level where the soil is formed by pebbles, sand and granite. Manuel harvest in crates of 10 Kg, carrying out a first sorting in the vineyard and a second one, grape by grape, in the cellar. Cold soak (2-4ºC), alcoholic fermentation of each variety is done separately in small stainless steal tanks at controlled temperature of around 26ºC. The aging process is 6 months in used French oak barrels. Bottled in May 2011 without fining or filtering.

celler01On a gresa soil, in the middle of rolling hills, where silence reigns and the view is lost sighting the vines, Vinyes d’Oivardots was born. Carme Casacuberta, a graduate of chemical sciences and oenologist,together with her husband Antoni Pena, industrial engineer, both passionate about wine, with a great love for nature and moved by the illusion of creating their own wine, made the dream come true in 2002. They purchased the estate Olivardots and planted the first vineyard in the term of Capmany (Alt Empordà), in the north east corner of Catalonia at the east side of Serra de l’Albera. A stunning landscape surrounded by 4 hectare of vineyards, where they in 2006 built the cellar in a simple but modern building. The design makes it possible to work with the aid of gravity and combine the recent advances in technology with the traditional wine-making.

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The vines grow on different soil types, found in the Empordà, highlighting granite soil, acidic and poor in organic matter.

Gresa Soil: Mixture of sand and grey granite. It is the Olivardots estate soil from which the first wine took its name. This soil brings elegance and aromatic complexity to the wine.

Slaty Soil: It is located in the higher part of the Empordà surface area, about 200 m above sea level. It adds mineral complexity to the grapes.

Sandy Soil: Where they have the oldest plot of Carignane vines, which are about 100 years old. It provides delicacy and elegance to the wine.

Gravelly Soil: Located in the flattest part in the center of the region, slightly tilted toward the southeast. It is a land formed by pebbles, sand with loamy texture. Here lie the vineyards of the white varieties.

dsc_003132 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

Sota Els Àngels, Angels in D.O. Emporda

342/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Emporda – La Bisbal d’Emporda – Sota Els Àngels – Desea 2009

Angels…….,

botella-vino-desea-tinto-2009Desea 2009, 40% Carmenère, 32% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Carignan and 6% Syrah

Cherry red color with a garnet rim, medium layer. Overwhelming aromatic intensity but still kept together and I wouldn’t call it complex, balanced noted of sweet spices, a mix of mature black fruit and herbs. It need quite some time to wake up properly, seems to be a slow riser that likes to sleep in. Tones of toffee, sweet cocoa and licorice comes along as secondary notes.  The mouth is silky with a easy entry, quite spicy, structured and elegant. It is followed by a great tanic structure combined with a light fleshy feel and good acidity. Balanced and long! I tried the Flow 2013 from Sota Els Àngels at a wine fair and had to get the Desea as well, and I have to say it was what I hoped for!

principal-portada-1A Mediterranean cork forest surrounds the magical setting of Sota Els Àngels. The organic control and the biodynamic care given to the vineyards allows for the extraction of the soul of each grape variety and at the same time it improves the balance and harmony of the environment. Here, Under The Angels they live and work searching tirelessly for a fluid and familiar relationship with the natural environment. From terroir to heaven, The Angels came down!

noticia01The winery and vineyards of Sota Els Àngels are located in the centre of the north face of The Gavarres mountain range, in the municipality of Cruïlles-Monells-Sant Sadurní de l’Heura. This is a very special place, an ancient massif of rounded forms in which Josep Pla saw “elephants”, populated by oak trees (exploited in traditional and artisan cork industry), which shine between a pure sky and a floor with bushes of heather and arbutus. At the foot of the mountain, Sota Els Àngels, secluded, quiet soto, rests peacefully, caring for the grapes they have chosen to take care of. The property comprises of eight acres of a lush green, beautiful vines. It is densely planted with the red varieties; Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cariñena and Carmenère,  and the whites; Picapoll and Viognier. It is a soulful place where they grow excellent quality grapes and make wines infused with the nuances of their terroir.

46 to go!

 

Alfredo Arribas, That Old Black Magic in DOQ Priorat

339/365 – Catalonia – DOQ Priorat – Priorat – Clos del Portal – Negre de Negres 2012

That Old Black Magic……..,

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Negre de Negres 2012, Garnacha Tinta, Carignena, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah

Down and down I go, round and round I go, like a leaf that’s caught in a tide….., Black Magic is found in abundance in this Super Catalan that Alfredo Arribas had created by most probably using magic? This is a wine that shouldn’t exist, at least not in this region, because it defies all sensory logics when it comes to what the Priorat region equals and what wines from here in general are all about. Even the price is magical, an absolute value for money! And that, my friends, is why it is a Super Catalan.

Lovely, intense, dark cherry color. Clean and Bright. Nice slow tears. Intense and fresh aromas. A great background with notes of herbs and carob, it displayes an expressive minerality with a wide range of red and black, juicy and fresh fruit and abundant balsamic notes. After it opens up, elegant toasted notes appear, a lot of very creamy and spicy notes and chocolate that stands out. Negre de Negres (“Black of the Blacks”, referring to the red grape varieties being used) is a wine that is powerful on the palate, but gentle and kind at the same time. It has a silky and very tasty entry, sweet but with a freshness that is present at every level. In the mouth it reflects the same aromas which are found in the nose with a perfect harmony between fruit, toast, creamy balsamic and expressive minerality. Excellent acidity in perfect balance. Ripe tannins. Long finish with good persistence. If you are out to get something different from Priorat, you should keep this one in mind! Enjoy, enjoy and enjoy!

Maybe there are better ways to live life? I just feel good about the way I am living mine. Sun, great food, walk with the dogs and wonderful wine, not to mention the wonderful wife! Had a truly enjoyable wine tasting yesterday with a great bunch of wine lovers in Barcelona. Some of the usual suspects were there, together with some new prospects!

1507857_771783372838930_463148591_nOne of the new members is a passionate host within the community of EatWith! People with a passion for food and wine, cooking at home and inviting, in most cases, total strangers and preparing a dining experience in their own home. Yes, you’re right, couldn’t but join in and am now contemplating my own hosting of such an event! Let the passionate cooking begin!

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The work of Alfredo Arribas begins in the DOQ Priorat during 2001. The Clos del Portal, estate wines project is located in the heart of Priorat, between the villages of El Lloar and Bellmunt, rising from the valley of the Siurana River to the foothills of the Sierra del Montsant.

Alfredo Arribas, architect come wine maker!

Throughout the years they have been recovering abandoned coster terraces, working with the diversity of grapes and clones present on these sites and outlining an advanced model of viticulture.

The architecture of the cellar integrates it nicely into the landscape!

Before long, their estate wines have managed to stand out as a clear example of the latest generation of Priorat wines, in pursuit of elegance and subtlety. Made with meticulous perfectionism, interpreting the extreme terroir, austere soil and climate, showing the way of the future for this wine growing area. Alfredo Arribas runs the winery with the support of Joan Asens.

One of Celler Clos de Portals many vineyards!

Clos Portal has 40 ha. of small plots. All of them bordering with each other, out of which 14 ha. are vineyards, half of the vineyards are coster and the remaining are terraces. The importance of the mineral soil, licorella slate base with subtle variations of different soil components that confer complexity to the whole, is the key factor of great harmony of these treasured wines made from different varieties and vineyards.

The label designs are amongst the coolest I have ever seen!

Grenache, Carignena, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Monastrell are the grapes grown along with some experimental varietals. They work on the basis of organic viticulture and are in the process of conversion to organic farming altogether. Estate wine meaning that all wines are produced with their own grapes, harvested manually, rigorously selected, cluster by cluster in the vineyard and not buying additional grapes.

The full range of wines from Alfredo Arribas, Portal del Priorat

49 to go!