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Posts Tagged ‘Catalan wines’

TIVISSA

This time of year sees the local towns and villages having their Christmas Fairs, Tivissa is no exception. So last Saturday evening  we set off for the town. When we arrived we found a parking spot and followed the sound of children singing until we reached the old part of the town.  Here the narrow streets were packed with various stalls selling christmas decorations, perfumes and soaps as well as pottery, wines, cheese and other food goodies.  But it was as we entered one of the squares that the smell of christmas hit us  Freshly baked bread and local sweat meats, Michael had to drag me past but I got my way when we passed the square as we left.  Michael was a happy bunny he found a Barcelona grotto with the La Lega and Champions Cup had his picture taken as well.

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It was a wonderful evening lifted our spirits and we saw quite a few of our Petanca friends.  I bought some wine, bread and goats cheese.  But the best part was when we were directed to the church by one of our friends to listen to a children’s  choir and orchestra. Trying to describe it is difficult but their rendering of various songs in both Catalan and English brought tears of joy to my eyes and it was very hard NOT to sing along  a truly wonderful evening hope you enjoy the pictures.

 

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Mora L’Nova

Sunday found us just across the river at Mora l’Nova’s Christmas fair  it was here that we saw their King and his two helpers giving presents to the children and taking and placing the children’s wish letters in a large post box to send to Santa.  Here because there was a large Moorish population before El Cid, they use the Three Wise Men (Kings) as Santas and celebrate the 6th of January as the day they say the three Kings gave their presents to Jesus.  So there is a lot of tradition here and in the large community hall there were baton twirlers and drummers marching round the stalls escorting the King and his helpers to the stage.  Then a long que of children with their letters for Santa who received a bag of sweets then had their photos taken with the King.  Here’s the photos:

 

 

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So We then wandered round the stalls and I found a yellow poinsettia so bought that and it came with its own Nadal Donkey  then we were looking round and as our 51st wedding anniversary was the following Sunday Michael bought me a lovely artisan necklace it was gift wrapped and yesterday I wore it when we went out.

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We had a really lovely evening at both fairs.   Merry Christmas everyone may it be a happy and peaceful one.

 

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

 

 

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Ahhh September! This is the time of year when we would normally be visiting the Cellers to see how their wine is made. But this year it has been a little difficult for me to do so. However things are back to normal now so I decided to take a look at some of my articles before once again setting off in search of more wines. So here are a few with their links hope you enjoy this stroll.

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We have visited Mas Roig  http://bit.ly/1cUxVzG the little wine town near our home at their harvest time, and seen how the grapes are still picked by hand as not only are the terraces to small to get a mechanical picker on them, but some of these vines are bush style vines. Not grown in the straight upright lines you often see, but left to grow as a small bush like the Garnatxa grape. So because the grapes are hand-picked they come into the Celler in wagons lined with blue plastic so they do not lose any of their precious juice.

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We have been In Batea http://bit.ly/Q3CkFm at their harvest time and seen first hand just how busy they are with the tractors bringing in the grapes and sometimes tankers taking last years wine off to places such as Lamancha, where it is used to either bulk their wine or sold on to other wine makers for blending.  Yes this does happen and there is nothing wrong in doing it. Lets face facts, if the excess wine was not used in this way it would result in ‘wine lakes’ which, unless you had a big straw and a huge thirst, would be wasted.

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At this time of the year both the black and white grapes are full of juice, but it is the white grape which is slightly larger than the black that is used to make Muscatel a sweet golden wine.   Although this is a sweet wine, I would not class it as a ‘pudding’ wine.  It has a good body plus a fruity aroma which, so my wife informs me,  makes it very more’ish and I have only seen her ‘protective’ over one other non sparkling wine and that’s the red Garnatxa from Capsanis http://bit.ly/17hHJl0 which is more like a port but with a history.

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Then there was the Pedrola Celler. This ia a small family run Celler http://bit.ly/100A1r5. on the outskirts of Miravet where they make a spectacular sparkling wine in the traditional way.  It might only be on a small-scale ’boutique’ style at the moment, but they have some good ideas and are quietly getting their wine out there. It is out in British market, so pay their site a visit and go find a treat.

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Next is another small delight with big ideas that is doing well, the Pascona Celler in Falset http://bit.ly/199l7mJ  where some really fantastic reds are to be found.  This little known Celler is a well-kept secret at the moment but Toni and the boys are determined to make their mark with their wines grown in the three different types of  soil that crisscross this vineyard.

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And finally a little Celler tucked away in the mountains of the Monsant region http://bit.ly/17hVHmS.  Here you will find a rather different wine called Castle Siurana Rancia plus again the history of a determination to bring fines wines to the world.

So with these varied and traditional cellers around I hope to be kept busy over the winter, re-visiting some and visiting other for the first time. I have not forgotten about Cava  I have given up the idea pointing my wagon in a certain direction, this time I intend to wander along the country roads and see what I find, it should be quite interesting.

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

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The Harvest has started and in true farming tradition the clouds are gathering.  Wildfires have ripped through forest and farmland alike, we need rain, desperately need the rain but NOT NOW! the grapes are ripe ready to be picked. So has begun the eternal race between man and nature to gather them before the rains come, and come they will.   Tractors with trailers piled high charge through country lanes like prehistoric beasts, dust swirling around them leaving a trail of their passing. Will it rain to fall on ripe grapes which then burst from too much moisture, or perhaps the evil of wildfires which devour homes, farms and crops alike could descend upon them?  Under these conditions the farmers are working day and night to bring the grapes in.  Who will win? who knows, but perhaps, just perhaps, here man and nature work together to produce their wines. Here again was that feeling, that presence, is This is the Wine of Magic lets find out.

I had made an appointment with Judith for 10am so on a slightly dull morning I turned my wagon west again and headed for Batea.  The roads into the town were busy with farmers rushing to get their grapes to the Cellers, as it had started to RAIN!!  When we arrived at the Celler all was hustle and bustle with tractors their trailers full of grapes arriving or now empty they were dashing off to bring more grapes. Amidst all this with umberella at the ready was Judith, waiting to show us around.

The first thing I noticed was that the three hoppers were each designated to certain grapes. The first was for the Merlot and Syrah grape, the second for the Macabeu grape with the last being for Garnaicha and Chardonay grapes. But before they are emptied into the hopper the grapes have to be tested for acidity, sugar and alcohol, so we walked along the celler to the testing window to see how they did this here.

Inside the building, up some stairs into a little room with some very modern equipment.  On the outside of the building where the trailers arrive, is a hose with a hollow screw on the end which is dipped into the grapes at different points. It then spins round sucking up juice which passes into a testing jar.  All the un-required juice and grape are sent back into the trailer to go to the hopper nothing is wasted. The selected juice is then passed into the machine for testing after which the farmer is informed of the results.

Once he has the information the farmer then takes his trailer to the appropriate hopper to empty it, including the juice. I understand that when the grapes are picked mechanically they are stripped from the vine during which some of the grapes get crushed producing juice, this is the reason the trailers are lined with tarpaulins to stop that juice from leaking out, and the covers on the top were to prevent rain getting in and this morning they were needed.

 

We followed the farmer back to the hoppers where he reversed up to the Merlot and Syrah hopper, got off his tractor pulled a platform up to the back of his trailer and undid the holding screws.  Then back onto the tractor to begin  tipping the grapes and juice into the hopper. Once the screw starts turning the grapes are carried to a smaller crusher then drop down into a ‘sorter’ where stalks are separated then the grapes and juice are sent across the road in underground pipes to the stainless steel vats to ferment.

All this was very interesting but I felt we were waiting for something special, again there was that magic feel.  Then up came a farmer with Macabeu grapes green fresh and sparkling…..

One of the reasons the wine is so successful is the treatment of the musk.  After crushing the musk stays in stainless steel vats for 24 hours then, at night when the stars are out, it is filtered, pressed then transferred into concrete vats where it remains fermenting for 3 weeks.  Here in vats which each hold 20,000 ltrs of wine, totalling 33 above ground plus 60 underground, it is left to work its magic.

As I wandered across the top of the concrete vats in the two at the end I found the ‘magic’.  This is where the clear must is placed then CO2 is added, it is then left to ferment but just before it turns into sparkling wine the process is killed. This leaves a hidden hint of sparkle and bubbles – this is the magic.  There is a hint of sparkle but no bubbles, that is what makes this wine something special.

The middle vat was working well, this contained the liquid from the stainless steel vats having spent 24hrs in initial fermentation. The liquid is then drained out leaving behind the skins, it’s then placed into its concrete vats with yeast then  left to ferment with the ‘scum’ being skimmed before it is syphoned into it’s maturing vats.

There is one more thing I found.  When the new harvest is beginning the wine from last year is loaded into tankers and sent to La Mancha, which is why I thought there was something I recognised about the wine we were drinking at the Petanca competition….

But that’s another story.  The wines from Batea are worth serious consideration, especially the white.  All these wines come from the  D. Origen Terra Alta, all are good quality and all are have a little bit of magic about them. I decided to pick three of the ones I personally like:

I will start with the White Vallmajor:  € 4.30

This wine is made from two grapes, the major grape is Garnacha Blanca 95%, with Muscatel being 5%.  The preparation is  24h in maceration, 55%  is then drained without any pressure, then fermented at 16 ° C. It’s appearance is a light yellow with a light almost emerald hue.  The bouquet is fresh and fruity, with delicate notes of flora and just a hint of citrus, which leaves the palate fresh, and tasty. This white wine is balanced and structured with just the right acidity I have to admit that I actually liked this wine,  served chilled its soft and moorish and this from a red wine lover.

Vallmajor Tinto  € 4.30

The grapes used in this wine are: Garnacha, Syrah and Tempranillo. The preparation: the grapes are macerated and fermented with their skins at 22-24 ° C. Then comes pressing and malolactic fermentation in the tank.  The colour of this wine is ruby-red with bright hints of violet almost amethyst. The aroma is of intense wild fruits with spicy notes, with the palate finding a meaty taste with a ripe fruit background and hint of licorice – a wonderful sipping wine delicious!

Both of these wines are young and should be drunk when young and at their best.

Next is  Aube at €23.00.

This is a smooth red wine  blended from the Merlot, Grenache, Syrah, Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon.  This wine is prepared by maturing in French Oak barrels for between 14-18 months.  It has an attractive dark cherry colour intense, but bright like a jewel.  The aroma is sweet and fruity, with hints of ripe fruit plus a hint of spice, then you get the oak notes in the background. As for the taste I found it to be elegant, concentrated with a good body which leaves a subtle and long aftertaste.

For those of you who would like to share this excellent wine with your friends there is a Magnum for €40.00. 

I would like to thank Judith for her time and help during such a busy time of year.  These really are wines of magic…

You can place orders with the Co-operatieva on  E-mail :  enolegs@cellerbatea.com   or Fax: 0034(Spain) 977 430 589.

(c) Michael Bosc

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