Time for Wine (Part One), Let’s do it Again in Vilanova i La Geltru

149/365 – Catalonia – D.O. All of them! – Vilanova i La Geltru – Restaurant Marejol – Temps de Vi 2014 (Wine Fair) – Porcellànic Dolç Natural

Let’s do it Again…..,

… if something is done right, why not do it again? I am amazed that the initiative take by two young guys three years ago, has grown and grown to the extent that it almost has outgrown the town of Vilanova i La Geltru! Wine fairs in Catalonia are fourteen on the dozen and most of them are excellent opportunities to get acquainted with the appellations, wineries and wines of Catalonia. Most of the fairs are small and there’s nothing wrong with that, in my opinion every small village should have one. But to see this one grow the way it has done is just out of this world. Let’s do it again……, let’s get together and feel al-right!

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Yesterday’s event at the Marejol Restaurant in Vilanova I La Geltru, is just the beginning of a wine fair to be remembered! Temps de Vi is the name of the wine fair in this coastal town, a place that sometimes is overlooked because of the nearby Sitges. Those that dare wander away from the cities and the known places, will soon be aware of a gem in its own right.

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But, this is after all a blog about wine, so let’s stick to the theme at hand. Temps de Vi, “Time for Wine”. And then I ask myself, when is it not? I’d say, and you that know me will agree, always! The name they have chosen is nevertheless to my liking! Very catchy and I don’t think there is a similar wine fair anywhere in Catalonia. The fair is taking place during the 30th and 31st of May and the 1st of June 2014. As opposed to many local fair in Catalonia, this one offers access and invites wine makers and cellars from all the appellations of Catalonia. Big difference! Benefit for us wine lovers? During three whole days we get to taste amazing wines without having to drive.

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This is the third edition and it will be set in the centre of town, not far from the local market. It will be starting from the Plaça de les Neus and carrying on to the old main road. The former location, the Main Boulevard, has been outgrown by the fair, which is quite pleasing for the two-man team Oscar Villagarcia and Carlos Carbonell, the guys putting this whole thing to work! Forty-two wine cellars have already confirmed participation and they will be occupying some 12,000 square meters.

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The fair does start, officially, on the 30th of May but many tastings and events are to take place, starting from the 22:nd of May. The museum of Victor Balaguer hosts the Riedel Experience and after that the days are going to be filled with wine, wine and more wine! Loads of tastings and related activities, if you are a wine lover this is certainly a fair not to be missed.

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The inaugural tasting, yesterday evening, was led by winemaker Oriol Guevara, from Vilanova and the wine makers present, sharing their wines. The wines presented were all conceived in an organic, ecological or bio-dynamic way. Some of them described as natural wines. Yes, yes, I know, if we call them natural wines, what do we call the rest of all wines made? Let’s agree then to call them “wine with nothing added” or “wine with nothing added or removed”?

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The fact is, during the last four years, the vineyard area devoted to organic farming has tripled. Some say, and I’m not referring to The Stig, that future wines will all be organic. Bold statement I agree, but certainly not that distant. Oriol Guevara, pointed out that the event yesterday was “A great presentation of Temps de Vi”. And it was!

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There were some seventy souls present, awarded with the unique experience of tasting some of the best wines in the categories above. If this was the inauguration, I can only imagine what the actual Temps de Vi wine fair will be like! The show started with a short, but to the point introduction of the fair, by both the organizers, Oscar Villagarcia and Carlos Carbonell. After which there was a longer elaboration on organic and natural wine making by Oriol Guevara and Ramon Francàs Martorell, a well know Catalan wine writer, blogger and sommelier.

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We all got to enjoy some very limited edition wines from the nearby area of ​​Penedès, actually called zero km. wines. Juan Rubio introduced the 2013 Can Creedo, a Xarel.lo wine. The winemaker Marta Casas presented the unique and new Xarel.lo, Amphora 2013 by Parés Baltà. Renowned wine maker Laurent Corrio, a Frenchman living and making wine in a garage in Vilafranca del Penedes, showed up with his limited edition (250 bottles), Despullat, a 100% Carignena.

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The winemaker Manel Aviñó also from Vilanova presented his Xarel.lo Clos Lentiscus 2013. And so the evening carried on, one wine maker after the other, sharing and explaining, all in Catalan and that’s not my strongest language but I endured, all for you and the wines!

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El vesper de la Gloriosa, a sweet sparkling white, 50% Xarel.lo and 50 % Macabeu, made the ancestral way, was about to conclude the tasting and then after nine wines tasted, Ton Rimbau presented his very scarce Porcellànic Dolç Natural, made from 95% Macabeu and 5% Xarel.lo. This is the first part of many to follow, covering the wine fair Temps de Vi! Now, let’s do what we normally do and finish it of with a proper tasting note! Hope to see you in a few days time and then we could share a glass or two!

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Porcellànic Dolç Natural

A deep amber colour, rich and fatty tears. First thing that hit my nose was the sense that this might be a sherry, which I knew it wasn’t, but nevertheless, some notes were obvious. Aromas of fruit compote of pear and yellow apple notes danced around for quite some time. Intense and elegant taste and a long finish where notes of bitter orange left me wanting more. Worth the money, I wouldn’t know, as I don’t know the price, but knowing the rest of the wines from this wine maker, I’d say…….., let’s do it again!

230 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

 

Agramunt Wine and Cava Tasting Festival, Wait so Long in D.O. Costers del Segre

148/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Costers del Segre – Agramunt – Wine and Cava Tasting Festival 2014 – Geol 2009

Wait so long……,

…., don’t know if I can but I’ll just have to. The 30th and of May and the 1st of June, I’ll be busy, working hard at the Temps de Vi (Time for Wine) fair in Vilanova i La Geltru. Update, program and information about this excellent fair will be coming on the blog shortly. Today I share information about the Agramunt Wine and Cava Tasting Festival, which is also going to be visited. All this and more hard work and more wine tastings I’ll do for YOU! What do I want in return? Well, that’s easy, just read about my explorations and if you ever get a chance, try the wines I write about and please try to do so here, in this beautiful land of Catalonia!

Baner-WebD Vins, Wine and Cava Tasting Festival was born in 2013 with the aim of offering the public a huge variation of wines from the D.O. Costers del Segre wine region. This year, some 30 exhibitors will showcase their wares at Sió Park – a beautiful village natural landmark – where the Romanesque bridge, offers a cosy natural setting for many wine producers to demonstrate their wonderful wines and sparkling wines to the public, curious to try and enjoy the wines produced in this area. More information and pictures, you will find on their FB site, http://www.facebook.com/DVinsAgramunt and also on their website, www.dvins.cat.

P1020196-1024x768The idea of organising D Vins was to bring together all the various wines of this large region into one central place and present them in a pleasant environment and one with a great enjoyable atmosphere for all. The Show will feature exhibitors from 20 different and varied vineyards, wineries and wine producers with the aim of offering their products and interact directly with end consumers. The recent wine vintages have been classified as “very good” according to the official table, describing wine quality. It has been an excellent period for the region in general following investment and modernisation the whole Costers del Segre region. The investment has been in harvesting, production and ageing techniques. The end result has produced wines of a very high standard, high enough to rival the better known Spanish wine regions.

DVINS-2014-e1396290379898There will also be at least 10 exhibitors of local food delights with samples and tastings available to accompany the hundreds of different wines – there will be something to suit all tastes! So come and visit and enjoy, where wine is enjoyed best, at a wine fair, the D Vins Wine and Cava Tasting Festival will be held at Sió Park, near the Romanesque Bridge, an emblematic area offering a unique, natural area perfect for enjoying our good food an wonderful wines. Welcome to Costers del Segre and welcome to Catalonia! To give you an idea of what you might taste during such an event and from this region, keep reading about Tomas Cusine and one of his wines from this appellation!

Everybody’s talking….

…. about how Costers del Segre got a new wine making star in Tomas Cusine as he, in  2003, while the harvest was ongoing for full, decided to putt his efforts into the production of wine. The goal was to elaborate character-full wines capable of reflecting the particular traits of the D.O. of Costers del Segre.

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Personal philosophy played an integral part and challenged him to offer wines to the market that are synonymous with personality and elegance. But this is just the beginning of an ambitious long-term project that seeks to fully consolidate the bodega as a prestigious winery by the year 2014.

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The winery is located in the village of El Vilosell, in the local district of Les Garrigues, in Lleida province. This area, which belongs to the DO Costers del Segre, meets all of the requirements for growing first class grapes and obtaining wines of the finest quality. The estate is located on the north face of the Sierra de la Llena ridge and at an altitude of between 700 and 740 metres above sea level.

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This area falls within the DO of Costers del Segre, and it is border with the province of Tarragona and the comarcas of Conca de Barberà and Priorat. The local climate is moderate, but with a large diurnal temperature range and with annual rainfall between 380 and 600 mm per year. These conditions
 guarantee gradual maturing with quite late grape harvests that are responsible for the wines smooth tannins and very intense color.

Number 13 Plaça Sant Sebastià d'El Vilosell.

In recent years, the winery has planted 29 hectares of its land with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Garnacha, Cariñena, Marselan,
Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc… The winery has also acquired grapes grown under its supervision from other vineyards in the local area.

Cabernet Franc at the vineyard of Comalleret. Planted on the 25:th of September 2008

Tomàs Cusiné has opted for obtaining degrees of maturity that maintain a careful equilibrium between the phenolic and acidic components of his wines. He thereby avoids over-maturing his wines or producing excessive levels of tannins and ensures that his wines are elegant, complex, fresh and longer lasting.

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At harvest, the grapes are collected in 200 kg boxes and refrigerated before they are sorted. There is then a cold pre-maceration in tank, followed by a slow fermentation at a constant low temperature, with the aim of conserving
both the rich taste of the fruit and the freshness of the harvest.

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Geol 2009, Samso, Merlot and Cabernet/Sauvignon

The colour is cherry with violet edges, fatty with large tears that fall slowly. The nose is powerful and expressive, in the foreground loads of fruit load are easily detectable, with hints of ripe black fruit and even compote and hints of red fruits, then and after a generous aeration it gives way to almost equal amounts of , aromas of garrigue shrub-land, metallic minerals such as charcoal and spicy ground black pepper, clove, licorice. Very interesting nose, complex, well-defined, structured and enjoyable. In the mouth it has a warm and welcoming entrance, expected a more aggressive entry and astringent, but initially it is nice. Marked notes of black fruit combined with hints of burnt sugar all accompanied by a major warm presence. It is a good wine, it has a great personality and a good identity. Great price to quality ratio!

231 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

The end of ViGralla, Hey Ya! in Llorenc del Penedes

146/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Penedes – Baix Penedes – Llorenc del Penedes – Wine Fair ViGralla – Sicus Xarel.lo Vermell

Hey Ya!……

…., we did our thing and this years ViGralla has come to its end. Three days of fun, food, friends and great wines! As Saturday turned into Sunday, we all managed, somehow, to get a few hours of well deserved rest. To be able to set up the first activity on the last day, we had to get up early and so it started! The early morning risers, the fair people, setting up their artesian products, got their tents up by nine, just in time as we had the breakfast barbecue ready. Bacon, sausages, bread, tomato and olive oil, of course washed down with red or white wine. The breakfast of champions!

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The “Gigantes” (giants) parade passed by and the kids had a ball. After that, the fair started of in a steady pace. The first tasting of the day was of five “garage wines”, all made in the village and with quite different qualities, I can’t say that I liked them all but they were well made and interesting. I feel in love with a red Cabernet Sauvignon (BROT, La Garita Nova 2012), and had to order a few cases immediately. I’ll visit the garage where it’s made, have a proper talk with the wine maker and get back to you with tasting notes.

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In the early evening hours, my dear friend , and sommelier,  Agustin Palome Garcia conducted a pairing of four local wines and smoked fish. Some 30 people came to enjoy and as far as I was told they got their moneys worth! The combinations were the following; Sicus Xarel.lo Vermell with smoked cod, Jané Ventura Cava Do with smoked salmon, Finca Mas Perdut Pedra Seca Merlot i Sumoll with smoked tuna, Celler Domenys Cava Les Tres Naus Rosat with smoked salmon tartar. Well done Agustin!

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The evening carried on with dancing, a lot of laughs and public wine tasting. Simply the best way to spend any Sunday! I’m already looking forward to next years edition. If you are in the vicinity, you should come too! Happy wine loving days!

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Sicus Xarel.lo Vermell

Golden colour with red reflections. On the nose citrus aromas such as grapefruit and tangerine appear clearly and a background of stone fruit such as peach and plum. Great aromatic complexity on the nose with elegant notes of white fruits and fine touches of wild plants; such as rosemary and thyme. Good freshness and full in the mouth, with soft mineral flavours and a well balanced acidity. Good freshness and full in the mouth, with soft mineral flavours and a well balanced acidity. Long finish with a nice bitter hint.

233 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle