viernes, 5 de abril de 2013

Celler de Joan Sangenís (Cal Pla - Mas d’en Compte) - Priorat


CELLER DE JOAN SANGENÍS (CAL PLA - MAS D´EN COMPTE) PRIORAT

Celler de Joan Sangenís, one of the oldest grape-growing families in the Priorat, historically sold their grapes to the local cooperative until forming a new company in 1995 to bottle wine under their own name. Based in Porrera, they own 80 hectares of south-facing vineyards with an average age of 50 years and several small parcels of 100+ year old vines of Garnacha and Carignan. The oldest vineyards are situated on steep slopes known as 'costers' and the younger vines are found on the northwest facing terraces. The topsoil, composed of slate and quartz-rock, appears dark grey and often nearly black. Beneath this there is a base of reddish slate with particles of quartz rock locally known as 'Llicorella', high in mineral content. The altitude of the vines is between 300-400m. Joan Sangenis, the enormously talented, young owner/oenologist did not study winemaking at University or Oenological school, rather experience and research are his personal University. The heart and the continuous testing updates are what are important to him. He says that he spends 10 months in the vineyards and 2 months in the cellar, explaining that great wines come from great grapes and not great hands. Maintaining healthy vineyards with weeks of ploughing ensures that they never have to use any chemical herbicides or pesticides. The secret of both his red and white wines is the basis of their blend - Garnacha - produced from the grapes of old, low-yielding vines. The white, one of only three produced in DOC Priorat, has been awarded the title of best Spanish white. The winery is equipped with modern stainless steel installations.


CAL PLA CRIANZA 2007, PRIORAT

- Wine making: 50% Garnacha, 45% Cariñena and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, aged 14 months on lees in American (15%) and French (85%) oak. Average yield per vine 1.5kg. The wine was bottled in November with no clarification or filtration. Production: 30,000 bottles.

- Tasting notes: "Bright red ruby colour. Damson fruit with nutmeg, cinnamon and white pepper nose. A wine of character, medium bodied, dry, concentrated redcurrant and blackcurrant, gooseberry fruit with good acidity and soft leathery tannins. Lingering finish". burridgewine

OLN Awards 2010 - selected in Top 100 New Wave Spanish Wines

- Price: £15.00



MAS D´EN COMPTE BARREL-FERMENTED WHITE 2009, PRIORAT

- Wine making: 60% Garnacha Blanca from vines with yields of 900 gr per vine, 20% Picapoll, 10% Pansal, 10% Macabeo. Fermentation takes place in oak barrels of 3,000 litre capacity for 15 days on the skins. Each variety is then aged separately on its lees in 80% new French Allier oak and 20% American oak barrels for 6 months. The coupage follows and the wine is bottled in a Burgundy style bottle. 13.5% Vol.

- Tasting notes: "A splendid and enticing complex nose of honeyed pear and apple, pineapple, grapefruit, kiwi, cocoa, apricots, toasted minerals, very full and buttery on the palate with great concentrated and rich texture of fleshy pineapple, peach fruits, minerals and toastiness, perfectly assembled with balanced acidity and magnificent lingering finish". burridgewine

El País: ' the top white in Spain'. Produced in limited quantities: 13,000 bottles
Guía Peñin 2012 - 90 points
OLN Awards 2011 - selected in Top 100 New Wave Spanish Wines
OLN Awards 2010 - Best White over £10/bottle
The IWSC 2010 - Bronze

- Price: £23.00

PRIORAT WINE REGION

Priorat (Priorato in Spanish) is one of the most dynamic wine regions in Spain. Contained within the north-eastern autonomous community of Catalonia, it is inland from the historic city of Tarragona and is almost entirely surrounded by the Montsant DO (Denominación de Origen).

Priorat's stature as a quality wine producer is demonstrated by the fact that in 2000, it was awarded the highest designation of DOCa (Denominación de Origen Calificada). Rioja is the only other region to have been accorded this status.

Priorat DOCa is best known for its powerful and minerally reds, made predominantly from old-vine Garnacha (Grenache) grapes, sometimes with the addition of Cariñena (Carignan).

Winemaking can be traced to at least the 12th Century when the Carthusian order of Catholic monks, later known for creating the liqueur Chartreuse, established a priory (monastery) called Scala Dei ('ladder of God') and vineyards beside it. The region's name is simply the word 'priory' in the Catalan language. The ruins of the monastery can still be visited today, and vines still hug the hillsides surrounding it.

Winemaking continued, essentially unchanged, until phylloxera reached the region and all but destroyed the local industry. Many vineyard sites were abandoned, or replanted with almonds, olives and hazelnuts - for which the region is also renowned. It was not until the 1950s that vines were replanted with any urgency or focus. The intention then was to plant sites with varieties that would produce only high-quality wine.

Priorat is remote and rocky, providing picturesque vistas across the region. Multi-tiered terraces abound and cling to the contours of the DO's many hills. Many factors contribute to the region's reputation as a premium quality-wine producer. First and foremost is the unique terroir. which combines the poor llicorella soil (a mix of black and red slates and quartz) with a ranqe of mesodimates created by the shelterinq influence of the nearby mountain ranges - most notably the mighty Montsant ('holy mountain').

The llicorella soils both reflect and conserve the heat. The topsoil is approximately 20 inches (50cm) thick in the steep, terraced vineyards located at high altitudes (rising to 2295ft/700m above sea level), so the vines must penetrate deep into the soil to gather nutrients and water, resulting in extremely low yields with high extracts. This is one of the reasons the wines of Priorat display admirable concentration, body and intensity. The vineyards' elevation ensures that the grapes receive prodigious amounts of Mediterranean sun, while the llicorella soil imparts distinct mineral notes. Heavy winter rains are common to the area, but the vines are largely unaffected thanks to their deep roots.

A second reason for Priorat's high reputation is that its potential as a quality wine region has created interest both in Spain and abroad since the 1970s. As a result, it is now home to a number of world-class estates. Individual producers such as René Barbier (Clos Moaador). Álvaro Palacios (La Ermita), Carlos Pastrana (Clos de L'Obac), José Luis Pérez (Clos Martinet) and Daphne Glorian (Clos Erasmus) have helped to put Priorat on the world wine map. Evidently many of these producers adopted the word clos - a term most commonly associated with prestigious wines from Burgundy - for their single-vineyard wines. These producers also championed a newer wine style which resulted in alcohol levels in Priorat wines dropping dramatically from 18% to a more approachable 14%.

The principal varieties grown here continue to be Garnacha and Cariñena. However, there have been successful experiments with international grapes such as Cabernet Sauvianon, Merlot and Syrah.

After fermentation, most of these wines are transferred to 300-liter casks of American or preferably French oak and then matured in barrel for between six and 24 months, depending on the desired traditional classification. Crianzas must spend one year in oak, followed by a year in bottle before release. Reservas must spend one year in oak then two years in bottle. Gran reservas spend two years in oak and three years in bottle. In practice, few wineries use the traditional aging classifications. Instead, the wine is aged for 18 months in oak barrels, then a few months in bottle before being released as a vino de guarda - a 'wine to keep'. Many wines will age gracefully for 25 years.

A small number of rosé wines are made in Priorat and a handful of cold-fermented white wines. These are made from the four authorized white varieties. Garnacha Blanca, Macabeo, Pedro Ximénez and Chenin Blanc.

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