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

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!

Mas Vicenc Celler, What a day for a daydream, D.O Tarragona

6/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Tarragona – Mas Vicenc Celler – Cabra del Camp – Rombes d’Arlequi 2010

What a day for a daydream!

Sometimes, and sometimes way to often, I manage to find wine that checks all the boxes. One I haven’t heard about previously and as such not tried before. One that is tasty, one that is affordable, one that is red, one that has a really nice label and one that is from Catalonia, well, the last tick is frequently the case. At least during the last few years.

No working during drinking hours

Having started a chapter, in Barcelona, of a non-profit wine club that originated in Sweden in the 1950ies, I have plenty of opportunities to try wines from countries all around the world. It is the within the statues of the club, to educated oneself and the members, and to do so in a way that promotes wine in a sensible manner. The additional bonus is my work, which is wine travel. Since my company is based in Catalonia, it is not strange that I have to try lots of Catalan wine, and I enjoy that part of my day to day, very much! Now that is what I call the SweetEasy Lifestyle!

Discovering new wines at tastings

Discovering new wines at tastings

After a full day of adventures, winery visits, cultural explorations and sometimes even a Segway tour it feels like luxury to sit down for a proper dinner together with friends. Even though every winery visit and every professional tasting is looked forward to, because they all share their dreams and visions with me, I need the down time. Now, it really varies what that can consist of. A good book in front of the fireplace, with a glass of Port. Movie time, classic black and white, with a glass of tasty Priorat or simply a five course meal with some like minded wine lovers and a few glasses of some new wines.

Best way to enjoy wine, is with like minded wine lovers!

Best way to enjoy wine, is with like minded wine lovers!

The important thing is to feel that one doesn’t have to work constantly. The wineries I visit are found in different ways. Recommendations are received all the time, sometimes bad but mostly really good and some of the gems I have found come through such channels. Internet search, of course. Way impersonal but work is work! Fairs off course, personal but a little bit stressed feel to it. Restaurant visits, check the wine list and make sure you don’t pick a wine you have had before and preferably from a denomination of origin whit less wines tasted in the notebook.

Our wine club in action!

Our wine club in action!

So, this wine was tasted for the first time at a really nice restaurant in Tarragona after a full day of activities!

Whoops, long intro to lead to Rombes d’Arlequi 2010 from Mas Vicenc Celler. Here come the story of a serious wine but to be enjoyed as a Commedia dell’arte. Harlequin inherits his physical agility and his trickster qualities, as well as his name, from a mischievous “devil” character in medieval passion plays. The wine shows similar characteristics.

The cellar of Mas Vicenç is located at the North of Alt Camp in the D.O. of Tarragona. Here the Mediterranean weather provides highly favorable conditions for growing vineyards.

Mas Vicenc Celler

Mas Vicenc Celler

Vicenç Ferré bought a traditional Catalan house in 1953 which was named afterwards as Mas Vicenç. Since then, four generations have already passed through the vineyards, each of which have taken on important roles in the cultivation and winemaking.

The good old times!

The good old times!

In modern time, more effort has been put into the winery, even though the heritage form the basis set in the history of the company. By 2005 it was the older son of the fifth generation, the also named Vicenç Ferré, that took over the rains. His studies and experience in the region of Priorat and the South-east of France cultivated a passion towards the wines that was later transformed to the project of Mas Vicenç. Young, enthusiastic and passionate family feel to the place, and that shows in the wines.

Vicenç Ferré Morató

Vicenç Ferré Morató

Vicenç Ferré Morató was born in Tarragona and grew up in Cabra del Camp. He is the son of a family dedicated to the vineyard’s cultivation and he learned what is required to look after the vineyards. In 1999, Vicenç began his specialised studies at the School of Enology in Falset, Priorat. During his studies, he worked at the Cooperative of Falset-Marçà (D.O.Montsant), the winery Fuentes (D.O. Priorat) and Concavins (D.O.Conca de Barberà).

Once the academic course of enology ended, his professional life continued in France. For duration of nine months, Vicenç was working in Chateneuf du Pape next to the revolutionary and well-known winemaker Michel Tardieu. In May of 2004, at the age of twenty-one, the young winemaker began to lead the prestigious winery and vineyards of Bodegas Mas Alta in the region Priorat. A year later, he decided to combine the management of Bodegas Mas Alta with the start of his own project, Mas Vicenç in Cabra del Camp.

In 2009, Vicenç decided to leave the project in Priorat to concentrate solely on his winery, where he develops his creativity and applies his experience. Nowadays, Vicenç manages the family company Mas Vicenç being in charge of the technical and commercial departments.

The modern good times!

The modern good times!

In total the production consists of three whites, three reds and one olive oil. A lot of wine producers find their style, both when it comes to the actual wine but also when it comes to the design of the labels. Creating identity that is easily recognizable is the key. Mas Vicenc has chosen an alternative approach. Just by looking at the labeling it is not easy to conclusively say that all the wines come form the same winery. Tasting the wines just enhances the first impression. Good or bad? I’d say, different! And for me, different is good!

Rombes d'Arlequi

Rombes d’Arlequi 2010, 50% Tempranillo, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon – As this wine is limited in production, only 6.000 bottles made, I suggest you get one if you can.

Medium ruby red color with violet rim. The nose indicates candied plums with vanilla and spices as well as toasted coffee, it is quite elegant in its structure and it keeps growing. Its palate is fresh and has some volume, slight notes of red berries, certainly blue berries with a balsamic end. It has a pronounced flavor, good structure and medium long aftertaste.

What a day for a daydream!

359 to go!

Celler Sangenís i Vaqué – This day I’ll always remember!

The 2014 tasting adventure starts. 365 wines from Catalonia in 365 days!

The 2014 tasting adventure starts. 365 wines from Catalonia in 365 days!

1/365 – Catalonia – DOQ Priorat – Porrera – Sangenís i Vaqué – Clos Monlleó 2000

Does not look like much....., but to drink the wine it gives us is a unique experience.

Does not look like much….., but to drink the wine it gives us is a unique experience.

THE DAY!

It was the third of September! That day I’ll always remember, yes I will! The day I finally got to discover and appreciate Priorat wines, first hand! I’m rather excited, as I am joining into the wine blogging community, getting to write about my passion for wine. I won’t start with the first wine I ever tried but the wines from the areas where I live and work. The focus is Catalan wine and trying to present them in a basic way which I feel might appeal to many people, all wine lovers alike. Doing it the Sweet Easy way!

For a very reasonable cost, a visit with tasting is a must once in Porrera.

For a very reasonable cost, a visit with tasting is a must once in Porrera.

THE TRIPP!

We, my wife and I, had recently moved to Barcelona and this was the day we would explore Priorat. As we were approaching the mythical and mystical region, we decided to get of the main road and the first sign said Porrera. That’s it! Only 6 kilometers from the main road but it took us 15 minutes to get there. The GPS, quite optimistically, wanted us to drive at the speed of 90 km/h but the windy roads wouldn’t allow more than 45 km/h. All good! All worth it! This, our first day in Priorat, we didn’t see much more than Porrera, knowing full well that we were going to be back!

The mythical Priorat

THE VILLAGE!

Formerly called Vallporrera (twelfth century Valporriera) is a derivative of leek with a collective sense. Obviously, this is the edible leek, cultivated since ancient times. It is, therefore, a Roman name, from the Latin “porrum” and would have the meaning “(valley) where the leek is plentiful.” Now, the wines is plentiful. Porrera has 14 wine cellars, a few restaurants, B&B;s and a welcoming feel! As Priorat has its micro climate, Porrera displays yet another micro climate within the DOQ. Some say, you will be able to distinguish wines from Porrera in comparison to other wines from the region.

Pure gold!

THE WINERY!

The Sangenis and the Vaques! The sign outside the winery, located on Placa Catalunya, only states DO, and the sign hasn’t changed since 1979. Priorat got it’s DOQ in 2000 and the fever started. By that time Pere Sangenis and Conxita Vaqué had been producing excellent wines for more than 20 years, although the history of winemaking runs for generations. The new generation, daughters Nuria and Maria, are now exploring historical vineyards with a modern touch. The labels stay the same, as the father still has his say so. Changing the sign, adding the Q, seems to be the least important thing for now.

The new generation.

Sangenís I Vaqué was founded in 1978 by Pere Sangenís and Conxita Vaqué. The vineyards are located in Porrera, famous for its llicorella (schist and slate) terraces and vines, all of which are venerable, and divided between Garnacha and Cariñena. Minimal intervention in the winery is the philosophy here and the wines are aged in a combination of French (85%) and American (15%) oak for 12months. They are then bottled unfined and unfiltered and can, as a result, be seen as amongst the purest and most traditional. This is and will be, for a very long time, my favorite winery!

THE WINE!

Monlleo 2000 is a very classy wine

Monlleo 2000 is a very classy wine

The top wine at this wonderful Celler, Clos Monlleó, is a 50/50 blend of 80 year-old Carinena and 30 year-old Garnacha, aged for 18 months in new Allier oak and bottled unfined and unfiltered. The 2000 is beefy and carries a slight hint of smokiness. Gamey notes are clear and loads and loads of black fruit comes over the mouth. Spices and bell peppers are evident. Complex and long aftertaste. The tannins are soft, almost mellow, and the acidity, even thou noticeable, is quite low.

This is a very classy wine!

First day, first wine! More to come tomorrow!

Catalan Wine 365