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Posts Tagged ‘concrete vats’

Nestled in a valley in the hills  that is home to the Guiamets reservoir, is the village of Capcanes in the DO Monsant.  The Celler is most famous for its Kosher wine. Although the wine it produces here for export and local consumption is equally well known albeit that in the UK it is sold under another name in M&S and Oddbins.  If you look for the origin Monsant DO you will probably hit the mark.

The Celler dates back to the 19th century but during the early 20th century the vineyards were devastated by the disease phylloxera.  Later in 1933, 5 families got together to form a co-operativea.  Here they made their wines and sold it under the name of Capcanes wine.  Modernisation took place in the Celler in the mid 1990’s, with the whole village taking a share in the co-operativa making a total of 80 members.   Of these, 15 have a 75% share and make the decisions, which have turned this into an internationally known Celler.  Although this was a large leap for many, their belief in their wine has paid off.

This is the Celler at Capcanes. It may seem small in comparison to some of the Cellers, but inside it is a bit like the Tardis.

Spacious, with underground storage for the oak casks in large cool cavernous rooms, lit by pale green lights.  There these giants sleep, whilst turning their contents into some of the most delicious wines of the region. Here they are tended and cared for until the wines they hold have reached maturity and are bottled.

As you enter the Celler you come into a wide room, where the various wines are on sale and display.  Along one wall are bottles, with two large vats opposite from which you can buy red or white wine.  Then there are the oak casks which contain vermouth, wine both red and white, Garancha Dolce, which can be bought in 2ltr bottles.

They have and use, the concrete vats both underground and free standing. Again there is the green lighting in this area, this is where the wines for the commercial and local market are produced.

But it is the Kosher wine that they have become famous for, making it in the traditional way.  Every seventh year after the first harvest,  the fields must lay undisturbed, and nothing can be planted in between the rows of grapes. All the ingredients yeast etc., used in the production of the wine have to be Kosher.  From the beginning of the harvest only Kosher tools can be used.  The equipment, must be cleaned with hot water several times in some cases, to ensure that nothing remains in either the vats or on equipment.  Once the harvest has begun only Jewish males are allowed to come into contact with the wine. It accounts for 2% of the total wine produced here.

The vats and crushers used in the making of this wine, once cleaned are sealed until the next harvest.

Likewise the vaults where the wine is stored in casks and bottled.   The Glass doors are locked and the metal grill gates are sealed. Behind them you can see the long corridors with the arched storage rooms for the casks and bottles.

You can buy bottles of the Kosher wine just like the other wines. I would like to say that although expensive it is well worth the money. The grapes grown here are Garnacha, Carinena, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Tempranillo,  and Syrah with the white wines being Garnacha Blanco and Macabeu.  These produce around 1.1 million kg of grapes from roughly 250 hectares of vineyards.


Mas Collet Blanco
Has a lovely herby nose which is fresh and slightly lemony, with some oak. I am not too sure it is for me, but I would buy it.

Rosat
Reminds me of boiled sweets with a slight hint of blackberries. This is a very soft drink, just right for a sunny afternoon.

Mas Collet
A slight hint of liquorice and fruit with a shade of oak wood at the end.  very pleasant.

Lasendal Garnacha

This is a typical Garnacha, sweet with a hint of something savoury and a ghost of spice that you just can not place. I like this wine.

Costers del Gravet
This wine is made from three grapes Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnache and
Carignan. It is aged in new oak, giving a liqueur-like quality, with again the liquorice bouquet.  Nice drink with your meal.

Flor de Primavera – Kosher wine
This wine is full bodied, with a rich spicy bouquet. A wine which is both delicious and intense. Well worth the money, and another one I like.

Cabrida
This wine is made from the Garnacha grape off the old vines.  It is a deep red full bodied wine, almost on the port side. This is a wine I find rather rich, but my wife is very fond of, drunk like a port it is superb. An alternative for the Christmas table.

Garnacha Dolce

Both my wife and brother-in-law like this wine.  It is bought from the Celler’s shop from the cask.  Again it is like a smooth port, good body warm taste with a deep colour.  My brother-in-law says that when he buys a wine that is a bit on the tart side, he decant’s it and adds some of the Garnacha. He says it improves the wine no end,  he also guards the Garnacha, he’s most impressed.

You can order your wines from www.cellercapcanes.com

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Draped over the sloping hills in the DO Monsant wine region is the village of El Masroig. I say draped, as the village appears to have been gently and lovingly laid down, relaxed, quiet and very much at ease with nature.  There is no impression of the real El Masroig a lively Catalan village with lots to offer visitors.  Here there are culinary holidays, for those who want to learn how to cook Catalan style.  Leisure activity facilities, walking,  as well as the tours of the olive oil factories and wine Cellers.

This wine Celler is a village co-operative with around 200 members. It has been alive since 1917 and has evolved as time marched on. Today it has become something of a cultural centre as well as producing and promoting its wines, this is something that has gone hand in hand. This came about when they decided to modernise some of the vats by changing to stainless steel,  but, instead of destroying the concrete vats set underground, being part of their wine heritage, they kept them.

The subterranean concrete vats were much better at keeping the wine at an even temperature, it did not matter if the weather was hot the wine stayed cool. Unlike stainless steel vats, where to maintain the correct temperature water has to be pumped round the vats in tubes, all controlled by computer.  They still use the concrete vats only these are square instead of round and huge as you can see here.

In the subterranean vats arches were cut into the sides of each one opening them up to make a corridor through to the tasting room. They were cleaned, although on a few walls you can still see staining by the red wine, spooky.  Whilst on others artists have formed shadows of people it’s as though they were souls of the vintner’s and farmers.


On the walls of one vat there is writing, at first it strikes you odd to see it, wondering who would have put it there,  but the more I looked, I found myself wondering how the writing survived the wine. This writing is the thoughts of the village about their home and the wines they produce.

Also on display in the vats were some paintings, this is the start of the cultural exhibition.  As you wander along the corridor look up, there you see the lids of the vats still in place, and the filler tubes where the wine was pumped in to mature are also visible.

On reaching the tasting rooms you find modern paintings by one of the artists displayed on the walls. Soft lighting, wooden benches and tables lend an ambiance for the pleasure of tasting of the wines. If you had not walked through the winery or the vats you would think yourself in a very smart club such is the impression here.  So now you can either sit at the tables or wander round looking at the art display relaxing in the feel of an enjoyable evening. As you wander back through the vats, you see them from the other direction, the wine stains and wall art are more noticeable from this direction, maybe it’s because you have enjoyed the tasting rooms or perhaps that your senses have been woken and you see the soul of the wine. I do not know,  all I felt was a proud cultural sense of being, and rightly so.

At the end of the vats we returned back up the stairs into the shop.  Here you can buy wines, olive oil, Cava, and other delicious items. But the  most unusual thing here are the ‘wine pumps’.  These are where the villagers (and others) bring their plastic containers and fill them full of their favourite wines. This is nothing new, the French have been doing it for years, and so have the Spanish, a very civilised idea if I may say so.  Just think a moment before poo pooing this, the Celler produces some very good wines which the village and others drink, so why not fill containers with it straight from the Celler? makes perfect sense to me.  And whilst they are getting their wine they can admire the beautiful ceramic tiles depicting the grape harvest.


On Saturday we caught up with the Celler el Masroig at the fair.  They were deep in conversation with people about  the wine.  A lot of people were wandering away from them with glasses containing their favourite wine, and smiles on their faces. Such excellent wine, such a relaxed atmosphere.

 

The vineyards are spread out over the surrounding hills.  With the vines dressed in their spring greenery, the ground between the rows freshly cleaned, neat and tidy. Here the vines spread out their young green leaves to greet the sun, hungrily soaking up the nutrients necessary to produce the grapes.

These wines are as diverse as any and go from a young fruity full-bodied red, to oak aged deeply balanced reds, to a light fruity Rose, full of wonderful flavours. The golden colour of the white reminds you of the other product of the area honey, served chilled it is a very pleasant evening drink.  There are so many others that to mention them here would spoil the next visit.  This is a Celler with many parts and a history to match, add to this Inka a fountain of knowledge and a very nice young lady.  In the immortal words of Arni  ‘I’ll be back’……

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