Friday 8 November 2013
Quite often, Catalan people have the tendency of thinking that Catalonia finishes at the Ebre river (or Ebro, in Spanish), but that’s not true because when you cross the river you can find an incredible region, the Terra Alta!
This area has the typical characteristics of Mediterranean areas: with lime coastal mountain ranges, little streams, mountains with conglomerate rocks, Mediterranean forests with pine tree and holm oaks, crops of olive and almond trees and, as well, vineyards, of course.
The climate in this area is quite different from other regions of Catalonia because the summer is typical of the Mediterranean zones: sunny, with hot days, fresh nights and not much rain... the winter has a continental climate.
With all these characteristics it’s obvious that the wines from Terra Alta are different from other wines of Catalonia. And unfortunately it’s been the great forgotten area, like Priorat years ago, when people think of quality wines. Nowadays people’s perception is changing because they are discovering the great wines, as result of the support for traditional grape varieties, specially the White Grenache, that’s become the bearer from Terra Alta.
Tuesday 22 October 2013
Last June I had the opportunity of visiting, with some friends (a sommelier and a wine blogger as mad for wine as I am) a viticulture of natural wines. Yes, natural wines, wines those go far away from the organic and biodynamic wines. Natural wines show the pure essence of the grape in its finest: the wines are natural, natural from the vineyard to the glass in all the processes in between, at all the stages.
The starting point for a good wine (natural or not) are the vineyards. When we visit the Ton Rimbau’s vineyards the first surprise was the difference between surroundings vines and vineyards, the difference between the crop that nowadays we call “conventional” and the called “alternative growing” (conventional in the past).
Friday 5 July 2013
The story behind Caligo Esssència is the result of a coincidence. It started with a plan: Pere (the oenologist and winemaker) planted Chardonnay vines and when the time was right went to harvest them to start the winemaking process. On arrival at the vineyard, he realized that the grapes weren’t as healthy as they should be; they were not in the best of conditions for winemaking so, disappointed, Pere left them in the state he found them on the vine.
Later, after looking at a book, and seeing some pictures of grapes affected by noble rot or botrytis cinerea Pere had an idea. He began to realise that his unhealthy grapes might not be such a bad thing after all. Botrytis forms due to a fungus causing two different types of infections Gray Rot and Noble Rot. Pere’s grapes had noble rot.
Friday 26 April 2013
Penedès is an area known mainly because quite a proportion of wine production belongs to the designation of origin Cava, and, to a lesser extent DO Catalunya. It’s difficult to understand how the same geographical area belongs to three denominations of origin, and still there are vineyards that aren’t members of any. In Penedès, the three denominations of origin –Cava, Penedès and Catalunya– live in harmony, alongside cellars that have chosen not to be certify their products in either of the regions. Conceptually it’s quite hard to understand the logic of this if you are not physically here in Penedes, and involved in wine or wine production. It would be our pleasure to explain it in person should you wish to visit us in Penedes!
Tuesday 23 April 2013
Today is a very special day in Catalonia. It’s Sant Jordi (Saint George), similar to Saint Valentine’s day but extensive to everybody. In the schools, at work, at home, with friends… around are nice activities and, of course, in the street the atmosphere it’s just different. The streets are crammed with people looking at the stalls -decorated with the Catalan flag- and full of books and roses, performances of Sant Jordi’s legend: he kills the dragon and save the princess and from the dragon blood grow up a rose bush full of red roses. And the tradition says that women are given away with a (red) rose and men with a book… it’s a nice tradition, but I prefer not to choose, both: book and rose.
Today I’ve got my book and my rose, nice presents from my sister: a lovely red rose muffin (a vegan muffin!!!) with a book called Catedrals del vi (Wine cathedrals). It is an interesting book about the history of the cooperative cellars in Catalonia. Most of these buildings are Modernist and were built at the beginning of the XXth century by architects like Cèsar Martinell (a disciple of Antoni Gaudí), Pere Domènech and others.
I think it’s just the book that I will enjoy. It’s not a novel, but it’s full of histories, places to visit and wines to taste!!
|Cooperative cellar from Pinell de Brai|
So today, after work, I’ll continue with the tradition and I will go to have a look at the stands and choose nice books for my dearest people and finish the day with a glass of wine, or two, and nice company.
Enjoy your Sant Jordi's day!
Note: you can find the muffin recipe in http://www.b12.cat/2013/04/per-sant-jordi-una-rosa.html
Thursday 28 March 2013
The wine that I’d like to present to you today is from the Conca de Barberà region, an area of the Tarragona province in the south of Catalonia. It is also a Denominació d’Origen (Designation of Origin) with a long history relating to the vineyards and winemaking. The only time when winemaking ceased was during a period during the Middle Ages when it was conquered and occupied by the Saracens. Fortunately, at the Early Middle Ages the cultivation of vines slowly recovered as the Catalans started to recapture their lands. In this area vine growing was closely linked to two religious orders: the Cistercians, at the abbey of Poblet, and the Templers, warrior-monks who had settled in the Conca Barberà. These monks helped in the reintroduction of viticulture and they explained to the farmers how to cultivate and look after the vineyards in order to have good wines. All this knowledge was passed on from generation to generation until the present day.
Vine growing increased progressively in the region and before the arrival of phylloxera plague the area was a great exporter of wine, especially to Northern Europe and America. Unfortunately Phylloxera arrived at the beginning of the XIXth century. In spite of this plague, the enthusiasm and knowledge of the farmers wasn’t affected and they decided to regain the vineyards, using all that they learned from previous generations. They joined forces and continued to cultivate vines.
Conca de Barberà was a pioneer in Spain of the co-operative system of wine production; it was in this area in 1894 where the farmers of Barberà de la Conca started the replanting of vineyards and founded the first co-op, linked to viticulture and the wine production.
Thursday 28 February 2013
Today I start my blog, the result of my passion for a product as Mediterranean as it gets- WINE- and, to be exact, Catalan wine. Wine culture is in my blood, something I grew up with. When I was a child, my father used to make his own wine, my grandparents used to make theirs and although they later stopped making it, by then winemaking was grafted on me.
Add to the above-mentioned all my pleasant memories of drinking different types of wine - their appearance, their characteristic aromas and flavours on the palate, how the wines change with the passing of time - all this has led me to start a new project, a passionate project, with the big challenge of making these wines known to the world. I know Catalonia is small area on the world map, a little country, but it has an incredibly diverse geography and great wines in every quality wine producing area (Denominació d’Origen in Catalan, or its abbreviated form DO, all of them different and with special characteristics than make the wine different and particular to that area.
The first great challenge is to decide which wine I start with, because there are so many to choose from..., but finally I've decided on a cava (known also as a sparkling wine). In fact I don't need to go far away to find it, I can stay at home, where I am, because there is a great little winery next to home. It’s a little cellar because their production is limited, but a great place also because of the quality of their products; the care they take in the elaboration of the wine and the enthusiasm they put into their work can be tasted in every sip.
The passion for this cava started on Christmas day, at lunch time, with the family. All of us used to sit around the big table of the dining room, the table for special occasions, and it was the perfect opportunity for opening the cava that our neighbours gave us as a Christmas present: DG Viticultors Rosé.
Wednesday 27 February 2013
Hello to all of you and welcome to winepassion.cat, a blog about wines and cavas (sparkling wines) made in this corner of the world. They evoke passion and emotion so I decided to name the blog in English giving them a chance to be known around the world, after all, good things must be shared!
A few months ago a friend told me in the nicest way I was wine mad. Both of us have different hobbies and she was surprised about my passion for wine: about how I use the correct glass for every wine, how I love to look at the colours, how I experience the aromas and taste the flavours. Now my friend understands after sharing wines with me that there is a world of aromas and flavours that linger after the last sip, my friend now understands my wine mad passion.
The purpose of this blog is to share, sometimes unknown wines from our small country. Our wine passion can travel the world and be discovered by all those who want to join in.