A great visit in my opinion, is when you get the feeling that you are at home, and this was exactly what I felt when we went to HMR -Heretat Mont-Rubí, during our trip to Penedès this time. It is a rare feeling I must say.
This winery is up on about 600 meters above sealevle, in the mountain behind Guardiola de Font Rubí (If you know your way around Penes) 😉 and up there the view is just amazing. I can imagine that it is a bit cooler in the summer too, which is nice for both grapes and people.
We had a look at the grapes that had just been hanged in the shed next to the winery. These are to hang here until January, when they will be pressed and the very concentrated must will become “Advent”, which is HMR’s superb dessert wine. It had taken 2 weeks to hang all the grape bunches individually!
We also had a look when the winemaker, Josep, stirred in the tank where grapes were macerating. A short film of this can be seen on my Instagram account @thecavalady.
The tour continued and we ended with a tasting of there fantastic and very special wines. HMR are very focus on Garnaxa and Sumóll, the latter being a local grape. This makes their portfolio very special indeed. They also makes whites, and then based on Xarel.lo, that you all know well from traditional cava making. HMR does not make cava though, but keep to their wines.
E also liked the visit, but luckily the Ipad was brought along, so there was something more fun to do when the grownups could not stop talking when we were on our way to leave. 😉
And luckily the dog, Blanca, was a good friend to play with too.
We have for three years wanted to visit Castell D’Age with our friend Lars, but with kids and a limited time it just did not happen until today. But better late than never as they say.
We got a tour by the fantastic Olivia, who knows the winery inside out. This is not so strange since Olivia is the daughter of the family who owns and runs the company, and like her mother and grandmother has her own cava named after her. And a great cava at that!
Castell D’Age makes about 100 000 – 150 000 bottles a year and of this 80 percent is cava. They make all aging levels and both super dry brut nature and some sweater styles too.
They are fully biodynamic since about five years back, and Olivia tells us that it has made a huge difference in the vine yards, with the biodiversity and health in the vines. It must be working since their cavas are very nice and definately something I would happily recommend to any cava fan.
My favorite is funny enough the Olivia. But I really recommend you to try for yourself because the chance that you might find it where you live is pretty good, since 70 % of all the cava Castell D’Age produce goes on export, so their spread is pretty large. You can get more information on their website. http://castelldage.com/
It is just to good to be true, but soon we are off to Penedès! Saturday we leave to see the friends again.
I have had regular report about the harvest, but it will be nice to see the end of it with my own eyes. This last week many of the producers were harvesting parellada while the weather was bit shaky. But what I heard most of it was good and not effected by the rain.
I promise to give you as much news as possible while we are there. The safest news stream from me will be Instagram, since it is so easy and I know how you all enjoy news through pictures. 🙂
This Monday I saw a lot of friends at the Spanish wine days in Stockholm. I must say that it is very practical to be able to see so many people at the same time. I got to taste some new interesting things as well and my youngest (3 months now), got to “enjoy his first wine fair. I think the older one was about the same age when she got to visit her first fair. 😉
Among the happy events was that I had the pleasure to see my friend Lotten that works for Freixenet here in Stockholm. She is just the best and I had not seen her for a long time. Between all the catching up I got to taste their new Sangria that is fresh out of the Mia-series made by Gloria Collell. I do make my own sangria normally, but I can really see why this ready-to-drink-sangria is going really well here in sweden, and that it soon will have its own listing at the monopoly. Fresh, fruity and not overly sweet. Of course it is sweet because sangria is suposed to be, but less than I was expecting. There is both a red and a white for 79 SEK if I remember correctly. I only tried the white, that is made from macabeu grapes and juice from both lemon and orange. Really perfect to ad to the picnic basket I’d say!
Gramona was also represented by their wonderful importer, Terrificwines. Anderas is truly passionate about the wines he represents and had a crowd around him constantly. We could catch up a tiny bit at least and I could taste Gramona Imperial 2011, which is the latest vintage that I had not yet tried. No disappointments there. Gramona delivers every time.
I also had the pleasure to see the representative of Castell D’Age, Olivia, that I have long since wanted to meet. So now finally when we go down for cavaTast we will make a visit to the winery, and I promise you a full report. Castell D’Age has really nice caves that are all ecologic which is always a plus.
Last but not least I got once again try the wonderful caves of house Torelló, that has FINALLY come to Sweden thanks to the importer Lancell. Thank you thank you thank you! I can’t say anything else than that I love what they do.
It is not easy going to a fair with a 3 month old baby, but I must say that he was a real champion! But one hour was more than enough before we headed home.
Now I’m preparing him and his sister for all the wonderful wine visits we will do ones we are back in Penedés. If I’m lucky they just might like it and grow up to be winemakers themselves! 😉
I have for a long time thought to share some knowledge that I know that a lot of bubble lovers are puzzling over. What’s up with the corks that looks like mushrooms in the base. You know the one like the picture above that just has not expanded properly.
Many years ago I asked one of my friends in Penedès that works as winemaker for one of the high end producers. This was his explanation.
This mushroom shape is a defect related to the cork quality, known as “green cork” (direct translation). As you know corks for sparkling wines are usually composed of two different parts: the upper part that is agglomerated cork (grinded natural cork that has been extruded-pressed and glued with different silicones…), and the part that is in contact with the wine. This second part is made of 1 to 3 natural cork layer-discs. These discs have the desired and typical mechanic performance that you desire when closing a bottle. As you well know when fitting the cork in the bottle, you stretch-press it in order to fit inside the neck, afterwards the material expands itself making the bottle “hermetic”.
If this natural cork is not extracted from the proper tree sections of the cork-oak, or has not had a minimum time of “maturation” (time needed for the bark to achieve the desired mechanical properties), then you may have a problem with the closures.
The problem is caused by a fungus in the cork, that makes water penetrate into the cork cells, and this in turn distort the elasticity and the natural ability of this material for recovering its original size after being pressed down the bottleneck.
Sparkling wines with is cork are likely to have a quicker evolution – oxidation of the wine since oxygen gan get into the bottle.
So now you know why, and what to expect of the wine next time you come across a “mushroom cork”.