Catalonia has nine different DO or Appellations. Each one is very different to each other, also within the same DO there are different microclimates. A good example is Penedès, divided in Alt Penedès and Baix Penedès.
This year we decided to visit our producers from Catalunya and see the big different landscapes and climates. We invited Kate Hawking (Bristol -Bellita&Bells), Tamira Pinnock (London-Sabor Iberico) and David Eyre (London -Eyre Brothers Restaurant).
Our first stop in Catalunya was in Clos Lentiscus, Baix Penedes, Manel Aviño was waiting for us in the farm house. He showed us all the old jewels Xarel.lo, Sumoll and Malvasia de Sitges vines, planted in 1939, by his grandfather. While we were enjoying the company, Manel explained us the amazing process of his biodynamic farming, like the Maria Thun p500, the horn manure or the infusions with sea water he applies to the vines to strength them naturally. His is a genius and can grow grapes naturally.
We also had the pleasure to meet Ringo, his horse. Ringo used to plow the land in his youth and always being part of the family. Next to Ringo there is the big centenary Lentiscus tree, which is protected by the UNESCO. Manel wanted to give tribute to this bush (now looking more a tree because of its dimensions) calling the winery Clos Lentiscus, The Lentiscus logo was made by his daughter Nuria, at the age of 8 years old.
After the entire visit we had lunch at the porch of the winery, tasted all the wines, with the amazing views of the vines. Lovely day with lovely people, a day to be remembered.
Second day we went to Montsant and we met Josep and Nuria from Celler Vendrell i Rived. The couple started their own project in 2001 and they are working very hard to keep all the vineyards as an organic farming, ever since. We went to see all the Garnacha and Carignan old vines planted from Josep’s grandfather. Afterwards then at the winery we were delighted to discover and taste all the new wines they are making. Later, we grabbed few bottles and had lunch in a simple but very good quality bar in the area. We loved the gazpacho! The company was so great with the couple that we didn’t want to leave them, but unfortunately we were running late to Priorat, and the moaning roads are not good for speedy.
We got lost as always when we visit Burgos Porta’s winery. It is in the middle of nowhere and not easy to get to. We didn’t mind anyway, because while we were looking for the place we were seeing all the dramatic landscape from Priorat, just… stunning! We finally arrived at Poboleda town and the winery Mas Sinen.
Priorat soil is all about the slate, called llicorella, and the slopes, some of them 95 % gradient.
Salvador and Conxita organized all the tour around the winery. Salvador guided us through all the vineyards, we drunk spring water from the natural well which is very important for the winemaking process. He is very proud of it! We finished the visit tasting all the range of top Priorat.
Last day before taking the plane to London we ended up having an outstanding lunch in Sitges at La Zorra restaurant. We were very glad when Manel from Clos Lentiscus turned up last minute. The rice was very good and we had so many different natural wines, without realizing we drunk many bottles…
All of us we were very sad to leave but was the time to go back to the City and carry on with our routines. We thank all the producers that made possible this trip, together with Tamira, Kate and David. What an unforgettable trip and company. Thank you.
Diego & Bea