Wine in the cloister

In the Middle Ages, life in the monasteries revolved around the cloister. Apart of serving as communication, it was a place in which monks walked, relaxed and meditated.

Nowadays these monuments are put to many other uses. In Sant Cugat del Vallès, the town where I live, there is an Abbey with a  magnificent cloister from the 13th century with 140 beautifully carved capitals. As most cloisters, it is warm in winter and cool in summer. All this makes an ideal setting for a popular wine tasting event, perhaps not very scientific, but enabling a lot of interaction with the winemakers.

And that is what took place last Saturday as part of the local fiesta. Organized with the usual (this being the 11th edition) efficiency by the Vins Noè wine club, there were eight wineries, five of them Catalan. Of the other three, a special mention to Bodegas del Jardín, the new enterprise of the Guelbenzu family after selling the Guelbenzu brand (Lautus, Evo), with similarly excellent wines.

First winery in the row was Castell d’Encus, from the DO Costers del Segre. This is a project, led by Raül Bobet of former Torres fame, with vineyards at a height of 800 – 1000 m, expecting climatic change to raise the temperature in the coming years, and using gravity for grape movement and geothermal energy as much as possible. However, they also do use some ancient vats carved in stone for some fermentations.

I liked Taleia, a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, flowery and citric, and Ekam, a 100 % Riesling, somewhat disappointing if you expect a full bodied varietal, but very fresh, and showing the aromatic profile of the grape. Also very interesting was ThALARN, a 100 % Syrah fermented partly in oak, partly in steel, and partly in the above mentioned stone vats. This may be the reason of the complexity of aromas, especially of red fruits.

From the DO Catalunya, Ca N’Estruc offered a new wine, the white L’Equilibrista from Xarel•lo grapes and fermented in oak. A pleasant surprise: big, rich and a worthy match to the red version, out of Syrah, Garnatxa and Carinyena and fourteen months in French oak.

Next winery was La Vinyeta, from the DO Empordá. This company has a curious preference for complex blends; I tasted three wines and the simplest included four kinds of grape! The Llavors red is a blend of Carinyena, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Kept for five months in French, Hungarian and Romanian new oak, it is complex to the nose and very well rounded, with an already good integration of alcohol and oak.

The Celler Dosterras (DO Montsant) offered a very light and fresh white, Eterna Flor, and two reds: Vespres, from Garnatxa and Merlot, and the big, complex and mineral Dosterras, 100 % old Garnatxa with sixteen months in French oak and 12 months in bottle.

I could not taste the Cava from Bertha. Time was up; with fine wines and surrounded by walls eight hundred years old, what are two hours?


No comments:

Post a Comment