Abel Mendoza, the word of a winemaker.

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Abel mendoza

Last Thursday, 5th January, we visited Abel Mendoza, a small but great wine producer located in San Vicente de la Sonsierra, La Rioja. It was not the best day to see him; there was a lot of work to be done in the winery since the Jarrarte 2016 had to be ready to be bottled. But even so, he squeezed us in to explain his vision for wine and the environment that surrounds it, La Rioja.

Abel Mendoza is a man of the vineyard. His wines are honest, just as they claim to be, marked by his many years of experience. Abel is a genuine wine-maker in La Rioja and a great defender of the land.

He owns 17 hectares, which are worked ecologically and located in the surroundings of San Vicente de la Sonsierra. He cultivates native varieties in different plots: Tempranillo, Garnacha and Graciano among the red varieties, and Tempranillo Blanco, Malvasía, Garnacha Blanca, Viura and Torrontés among the white. The majority of the vineyard is planted on goblet-trained vines. This year, he planted a plot on trellises as an experiment, although he will not do so again as he didn’t like the results. As he said, if you don’t try it, you can’t have an opinion. A key principle in his philosophy.

The winery, built in 1988, has several typical concrete tanks where they make their carbonic maceration wine, Jarrarte. They also have stainless steel tanks for conventional fermentations and a few French oak barrels to make white wines and to age reds.

With these two components, the vineyard and the winery, Abel starts to create. There are no established rules in the vineyard and, like a good wine-maker, he wanders around the vineyard, observing, analysing the climate and then acting: pruning, fertilising and applying (ecological) treatments etc., whatever will give the character of the vintage to each and every wine. In the winery, they do not use interventionist processes, although this doesn’t mean that they don’t investigate different vinifications and blends.

Abel is a defender of traditional production methods, and carbonic maceration was the first in the area, a long time before French teachings arrived. The Jarrarte Maceración Carbónica is his favourite wine, with which he identifies the most, a wine to enjoy drinking. We were able to try the new vintage from the tank, and truthfully, this wine is very pleasant, tasty and fruity.

The single-variety native white varieties are another great investment. He has planted them on different soils and vinifies them separately in barrels, where they ferment and are aged for a period of time. This is a reference to his passion for Burgundy, but with a very good result. Each variety is expressed wonderfully, Tempranillo Blanco = body, Malvasía = aromas, Garnacha Blanca = body and bitterness, Viura = integrity, Torrontés = salinity. All of these wines possess an enormous depth.

Grano a Grano is another special range (the care with which they treat the grapes when they enter the winery is impressive). Relatives and friends meet to peel the grapes by hand and the berry stays intact so it can begin intracellular fermentation. It is the same as carbonic maceration, but without the stems, which lends it very good refinement. After fermentation, the wine is aged for a few months in barrels which gives it good complexity.

All in all, this was a short visit. It was a true pleasure to listen to Abel and the way in which he defends things, with the facts. This is a model that can coexist in the large wineries as well as the small ones, in an environment where more and more wineries have greater production and less affinity for the different landscapes that exist in the territory. He is a dreamer with his feet planted firmly on the ground, concerned about the future surrounding him.

Thank you very much for the visit, Abel, Grano a Grano will achieve great things.

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New Wines for January 2017

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We have now entered 2017 and are coming back with our batteries recharged to offer you the best wines. In our last blog entry, we told you about last year’s bestsellers, and today we want to present the new wines to start off the month. Let’s see if we can make post-holiday January a little easier.

Belondrade y Lurtón 2015: We now have the new vintage of this classic in the region. In 1994, Didier Belondrade revolutionised the panorama of white wines in Rueda by offering a white wine fermented and aged in barrels. Today, it has become a point of reference for Spanish white wines.

Raúl Pérez & Niepoort Calderera Blanco 2013: Two very influential people in the global winemaking scene, Dirk Niepoort and Raúl Perez, have collaborated to make this wine. Niepoort travelled to Bierzo to make this unique wine with the Godello grape. It is fermented and rests in 2000 litre fudres for 2 years and part (20%) is aged in amphoras. This is a direct and saline wine, perfect for people that like electric wines.

Honorio Rubio Lías Finas 2012: This winery is situated in the town of Cordovín, an area famous for producing Claret, and has released a range of experimental wines with limited production to the market. This Lías Finas is made with the Viura grape, it is aged in tanks for the first 10 months with its fine lees and is then decanted into 225 litre barrels, where it continues to age for 6 more months. This wine resembles the classic Riojan white wines.

Amós Bañeres Vinya Oculta Vinya de la Múnia 2014: We now have the new vintage of one of our favourite Xarel·los from Penedés. It comes from a 1.8 hectare vineyard that Amós works carefully and ecologically. In the winery, they intervene as little as possible, allowing the grape to express itself. As a result, we have a very complete wine, aromatically complex and with very good acidity.

Azpillaga Urarte Viña El Pago 2015: Alberto looks after his vines using regenerative viticulture. He prepares careful treatments so that the vines grow in a way that respects the environment surrounding it. To create this wine, he uses the area’s traditional production method, carbonic maceration, of which he is a great defender. After a long maceration, he ages the wine for a few months in tanks, unlike other producers.

Chateau Paquita 2015: Eloi Cedó is to blame for making this wine, which is sought-after by people who like light, fresh and drinkable wines. Made with the varieties Callet, Manto Negro and Monastrell, he looks after it with all the care in the world to avoid interfering with any kind of oenological product. Hurry, they’re flying off the shelves!

Tintilla Nude 2016: The Tintilla de Rota is a native variety from Cádiz. Barbadillo makes this wine without any kind of ageing, so that the variety can express itself freely. A fruity and easy to drink wine.

Rozas 1er Cru 2015: This is the new vintage of this wine produced by Comando G (Fernando and Dani) and their unique vision of interpreting the Garnachas de Gredos. In this case, the vineyard is situated in Rozas de Puerto Real, which produces a fresh, fruity and floral Garnacha. A key wine for understanding what is happening in the area.

Gramona Celler Batlle 2006: Gramona makes this cava with 75% Xarello and Macabeo grapes from biodynamically cultivated vines. It is aged in stacks for 120 months, which gives it great complexity and elegance. One of the flagship cavas.

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Top 10 2016: the best wines of the year.

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We are getting closer to the end of the year. A time of reviews, summaries and of course top 10 lists :) Here is our list of the most sold wines in Decántalo in 2016:



At number 10, Hacienda Monasterio Crianza. A miracle from Ribera del Duero.
9th place is taken by a classic from Rioja which is always nice to remember: Viña Tondonia Reserva.
Number 8 is Pruno, which always appears in these lists since it has been graded by Parker.
The 7th wine is Tarima. From Alicante by the Bodega Volver.
In 6th place, Aalto. A real best-seller at Decántalo.
Now we get to the Top 5, starting with Rioja Alta 904, a classic from Rioja.
Viña Ardanza, of the bodega Rioja Alta is in fourth place.
And now we get to the top of the tops, starting with Barbazul, an explosive wine from Cádiz.
In second place we have Juan Gil 12, a monovarietal wine from the D.O. Jumilla.
And number 1 of 2016 is Hacienda López de Haro Crianza, an unbeatable Rioja wine.

Have you tried them? We hope you enjoy them.
Happy New Year! :)

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Wine for this Christmas

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We have already switched on the Christmas lights and are thinking about the food to prepare, the wines to choose and the gifts to give this time of year. For those last two concerns, we have a few proposals to make life a little easier this year.
Wines for the Christmas feast:
The idea of wine pairing, just like with food, is to keep the intensity and complexity increasing.
There are many types of wine pairings, but to make it easier, we believe it’s a good idea to simplify the process of selecting wine.

– Aperitif: Normally, aromatic white wines or fruity sparkling wines are served. They go very well with gossip and arriving guests. If you like sparkling wines, a good choice is the Clos Lentiscus Malvasia Blanc de Blancs. A white wine would be Barco del Corneta Cucú and if you like very dry wines, a Colosía Fino from Jerez would be ideal.

– Starter: A fresh white wine with good acidity is usually best to start with. One of the best areas for these two characteristics is the Rias Baixas, and a good example is the Leirana Albariño, but we could also choose a dry, aged, acidic sparkling wine such as Recaredo Brut de Brut Finca Serral del Vell.

– Main fish course: Here, we have two options depending on the fish we have for dinner. The classic pairing is a white full-bodied wine with good acidity, such as QX Quatre Xarel·los by Mas Candí. Or, if we have a more oily and potent fish like tuna can be, we would pair it with a smooth red with few tannins, such as Lomba dos Ares by Fedellos de Couto, made in Ribeira Sacra.

– Main meat course: This is normally quite a powerful dish to finish the main meal. We would opt for a good classic like Viña Tondonia Reserva from La Rioja, a wine that never fails to delight.

– Dessert: Here, we can choose between two types of wine. A sweet white from the Sierra de Málaga such as Victoria Nº 2, perfect for people that don’t like too much sweetness. A Ximénez-Spínola PX Añada from Jerez is also very good since the sugar concentration is not too high and it doesn’t make the dessert too heavy.

– After dinner: When the meal has finished, we always stay with the family to chat for a while about the past year. To accompany these wonderful moments, we have a good sparkling wine such as Raventós i Blanc Gran Reserva de la Finca or as an alternative, a Jerez wine, Fernando de Castilla Antique Oloroso.

We have given you various suggestions to choose different types of wine depending on the stage of the meal. However, we have also prepared some selections so that you can have a more relaxed Christmas in this respect, and here we present the five that we have chosen. A few choices with a classic style and a few more adventurous ones.

We also have some special selection packs prepared by the wineries, to give as gifts to wine lovers so that they can enjoy them exclusively.
Happy Holidays!

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Carbonic Maceration: a promising future

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A term we are starting to hear more and more in the world of wine, so let’s go over its history a little.

Carbonic maceration was scientifically created by Luis Pasteur in 1872, when he studied the spontaneous fermentation process of stored grapes in closed containers. Later, in 1935, Michel Flanzy (a French researcher) confirmed that grapes didn’t break down when CO2 was injected into the tank, and that this fermentation resulted in very fruity, colourful wines. Investigations about this type of maceration/fermentation continued to develop until a solid scientific basis was established in the 1960s. Nowadays, modern oenology has a scientific description of the process, but it is a practice that has been used for a long time. Carbonic maceration is typical of two wine-making areas: La Rioja Alavesa and Beaujolais.

In the past, carbonic maceration was the standard process for producing wine in Rioja Alavesa. They had large stone tanks where they would deposit the whole harvested grapes. Spontaneously, the must would start to ferment at the bottom of the tank, which generated CO2 and created an anaerobic atmosphere inside the tank. As the entire harvest could not be completed in a day, the whole grapes added the next day started to macerate due to intracellular reactions. This phenomenon produced coarse and long-living wines, since they then finished the wine production with strong pressings and stored it with large lees until it was transported.

It continued this way until 1786, the year in which Don Manuel Quintano y Quintano travelled to Bourdeaux to perfect his wine-making skills. There, he learned to make wine with ‘finer’ methods: greater cleaning, different fermentation tanks, grape selection, stem removal, treading, decanting and clarification etc. This change led to fermentation of the must first and then maceration with the skins. The results were satisfactory and, in Rioja, they started to produce wine in the Bordeaux style. From then on, the two wine-making techniques existed side by side, although in the Rioja Alavesa area, carbonic maceration dominated.

From a scientific and artisanal viewpoint, they have now perfected this type of wine. From more industrialised and homogeneous wine to more artisanal wines full of character.

In Beaujolais, Marcel Lapierre, along with Jules Chauvet (chemist, wine trader), approached the area’s industrial processes with a more artisanal focus, in viticulture as well as oenology. They started to introduce ecological viticulture (in an area very damaged by pesticides and herbicides) and incorporated traditional production techniques, without adding yeast and with low doses of sulphur. This gave a new focus to the area and to this type of wine-making. Nowadays, these wines are aged and can be kept for a while whereas before, the old attitude was to drink it quickly. A few wine-makers in the area (Thevenet, Jean Foillard etc) are known and admired by wine-makers and drinkers all over the world.

In Rioja Alavesa, they made wine using this technique and united colours, aromas and tastes after the most industrialised and cooperative era. Small producers started making traditional wines again (with expertise from science and years of experience). They cultivated the vineyards ecologically, using native yeasts (no more bananas, please) and carrying out long maceration-fermentations. This produces wines full of personality and with a certain potential for ageing. At Decántalo, we have a few examples. What are you waiting for? Try them!

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New Wines for November 2016

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November, a month full of contrasts thanks to the sudden changes in weather, characteristic in autumn, and an appropriate month to present new vintages (the barrels have to be emptied to make room for the 2016 harvest). Therefore, we present new wines and vintages, in both red and white varieties.

Rodrigo Méndez Sálvora 2014: These are wise Albariño vineyards, more than 100 years old and planted on granitic soil, separated from one of the large plots in the Salnes subzone, in the Rías Baixas. Aged for 12 months in old barrels to ease the tension of the soil and of the Atlantic, this wine is direct, electric and austere in aromas of its youth, but broad in its old age.

Remírez de Ganuza Blanco 2015The acclaimed Samaniego winery continues its faultless production down to the smallest detail. They use Viura (mainly), Malvasía and some Garnacha blanca. The wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged for 8 months in barrels from Nevers (France). Battonage (stirring) is carried out by turning the barrel to avoid opening the lid and therefore, oxidation. The care during production allows us to taste their crystalline white wines, full of white fruit and well-integrated wood.

1954 Xarel·lo 2014New in the house. Costador is a project spanning mutiple Catalan regions in order to find old vines and make artisanal wine without adding any oenological products. 1954 Xarel·lo comes from Garraf, one of Penedés’ more characterful subzones due to its special microclimate and limestone soil; amphoras and old barrels shape this vineyard that dates back to 1954.

Pies Descalzos 2015Albillo Real comes from a vineyard situated 750 metres above sea level in San Martín de Valdeiglesias (Madrid), an enchanting town, with a castle in which one of the best wine events in the last few years took place. This plot is settled on eroded granitic soil where the Albillo grape’s more mineral and less fruity profile comes out. According to Fernando: ‘This wine acknowledges the old owner of the vineyard, who cultivated it so carefully that he walked through it barefoot’.

Gómez Cruzado Vendimia Seleccionada 2015The new vintage of this magnificent wine has already arrived, one we were able to taste at the Cata del Barrio de la Estación 2016. It is an accessible and drinkable Rioja, in which the fruity character takes precedence over everything else. 50% Garnacha and 50% Tempranillo, it is harvested in advance to conserve its good acidity. This wine forms part of the new profile in La Rioja that we like so much.

Planetes de Nin Garnatxes en Ámfora 2015: The Nin-Ortiz family makes this wine in amphoras and without sulphites. 100% Garnacha from the youngest vines in the winery, it allows us to see how to produce wine with the minimum possible intervention. A colourful, fruity and balanced wine.

Ladredo 2012: Dirk Niepoort’s project in Ribeira Sacra comes from a very high plot looking out over the canyon of the river Sil, planted with the Mencía and Alicante Bouschet varieties. This wine transports you to those dizzying terraces and Atlantic climate. Long, fresh and with a lot of life ahead of it, what more can you ask for? I drank it for the first time in 2011 (the 2009 vintage) and I still remember it, a fantastic wine.

Fredi Torres & Antoine Touton La Deva 2014: A new addition to the Decántalo catalogue. A wine by Fredi Torres, a wine-maker who never sits still and conducts multiple projects in various wine-producing areas. Their philosophy is to treat the vineyard with the upmost respect and interpret it without any kind of additives. This project was founded in Montsant with Antoine Touton. The wine in question comes from an old single plot in Molar. It is mainly composed of Garnacha (85%), Cariñena and a hint of Macabeo, and refined in ‘fudres’ and 500 litre barrels. An elegant, fresh and intense wine, like its maker.

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New Parker points for Catalonia

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In the latest Parker ratings, Luis Gutiérrez has analysed Catalan wines in three different sections: Priorat, the rest of the Catalan DOs, and Cava.


We will begin by discussing the first section, dedicated to Priorat, one of the most improved regions, according to Luis. The magic wine was Clos Erasmus 2013, the only one awarded 100 points and an unprecedented vintage in Priorat for its balance and freshness. Among the highest scorers continues to be Clos Mogador 2013, with 98 points (one of the best in terms of the price-quality ratio), and the classics L’Ermita 2014 and the plots of Terroir al Limit. As a outstanding entry in the Olympus of Priorat’s great wines was Nit de Nin 2014 with 96 points.

In addition, the edition highlights the incredible improvement of the Mas d’en Gil winery under the eye of Marta Rovira. The descendent of this family of wine-producers has taken the reins of the winery and is pushing the vineyards as well as the production of the wines forward. She has returned to basics, to the old technique of making wine in ‘fudres’ and bigger barrels with less new wood. Their Clos Fontà 2011, 94 points, and Belmunt 2013, 91 points, are examples of their excellent work.

Another matter to note is the 3D map they are producing in the region, similar to the one of Barolo in Italy. This demonstrates the clear commitment to the valuation of the plots and the diversity in the territory, recognising the many orientations and altitudes that result in the different and unique wines from the same DO. The dedication is obvious, and they will soon begin cataloguing the wines according to a pyramid, from the village wines to the single-estate wines.

Luis Gutiérrez perceives the rest of Catalonia unequally; in Penedés and Montsant, he glimpses a shift towards wines with personality. On the other hand, he criticises the other regions for being anchored in the past and not looking to the future, with over ripe grapes, lots of new wood and many foreign varieties.

In Empordà, as a point of reference and an example to follow, he highlights Vinyes d’Olivardots.

With respect to Costers del Segre, he emphasises Raul Bobet and his winery Castell d’Encús. Their vineyards are planted at high altitude in Pallars and Vall Fosca and their traditional production methods awarded them Luis Gutiérrez’s distinction, naming the Thalarn 2015, 95 points, as the best Syrah on the Peninsula.

Montsant has two important wineries and wine-producers in this edition. One is Joan Asens from Orto Vins and the other, Rene Barbier (the son) and Sara Pérez from Venus la Universal. Orto Vins produced Les Talledes de Can Nicolau, 94 points, a black Picapoll from an old vineyard planted by his grandfather, with huge personality and subtlety. Venus la Universal produced the recently released Venus Blanc, planted with the autonomous variety Cartoixa and produced without any additives, with 94 points. Also, the red Dido, 93 points, has been awarded a good score. As an icon wine, Espectacle 2013 has 96 points.

In Penedès, he stresses the movement of young people and natural wines, which makes us reconsider the traditional producers in the area. Alemany i Corrio with their Sot Lefriec, 94 points, and Principia Mathematica 2015, 91 points. Amós Bañeres with their natural wines Vinya Oculta 2013, 92 points, and Missatge en una Ampolla 2015, 91 points. Mas Candí with Quatre Xarellos 2014, 91 points, and their natural wine Cabòries 2015 with the same score.

The DO Cava is the last to be analysed and has the worst scores. According to Luis, there are no young, energetic projects and he only highlights five interesting wineries: Gramona, Loxarel, Mestres, Recaredo and Raventos i Blanc. These are different from the rest because they give special attention to the vineyard, putting particular emphasis on caring for it. In addition, he highlights the poor image of cavas due to mediocre wines being sold at low prices, therefore giving a negative focus on single-estate cavas. Gutiérrez considers it necessary to sort out the bottom of the pyramid and not the top, owing to the brilliant cavas that are well distinguished.

Turó d’en Mota 2005 continues at the top with 95 points, this single-estate cava has the maximum distinction in the DO, and their Reserva Particular 2015 is close behind with 94 points. Another single-estate cava following in the wake of a great winery such as Raventos i Blanc, is Manuel Raventós Negra 2010 with 94 points. Loxarel 109 2005, the sparkling wine within the Clàssic Penedés was awarded 93 points and Gramona and their Celler Batlle 2006, 93 points.


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XVII Show of the Peñín Guide’s Best Spanish Wines

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Last Thursday, 27th October, we attended the annual show of the best Spanish wines organised by the Peñín Guide in the Palacio de Congresos in Madrid. More than 150 wineries exhibited their best wines valued by the Guide; a great opportunity to try the most distinguished in the Spanish winemaking sector.

The day started at midday. The first thing we did was go and meet the wineries that don’t form part of our extensive catalogue (pay attention because we will tell you about some of these soon). Next, we headed over to the wineries that we currently have in our portfolio to try their new vintages. The following stood out:

Dominio del Águila: This is one of the trendy partnerships in Ribera del Duero. Their wines are treasures, full of character thanks to the hard work of Jorge Monzón and Isabel Rodero when interpreting the surrounding landscape. Their Reservas and Gran Reservas can be kept to continue improving,  and their Pícaros are intended to be enjoyed up until the last drop. They let us try a white Albillo from 2012 which will be released to the market even at such a young age, although it is likely to become a classic in the region.

Suertes del Marqués: Jonatán García is a vintner from the Orotava Valley in Tenerife. The winery concentrates the volcanic character of the region, bottling it in different shades. Phosphorus, fruit and liveliness in equal measures transport you to the slopes of this incredible valley in the Canary Islands. Their Vidonia stands out, an austere and mineral Listán Blanco.

Viña Zorzal: Xabier Sanz and his brother couldn’t miss this show with their Malayeto. It is a fantastic Garnacha grown in Fitero and produced very smoothly.

Bodega Algueira: If there are key figures in Priorat that make the region well-known and give it a high standing, then in Ribera Sacra, one of the greatest pioneers in the area would be Fernando, owner of the Algueira winery. Their single-variety Merenzao and Brancellao continue being spectacular.

Alfredo Arribas: Their whole range is of a high quality, in Montsant as well as in Priorat, and we would highlight their magnificent Trossos Tros Blanc 2008 Magnum. It stands out for its youth and the life it still has ahead of it. We also tried wines from their other winery in Montsant called Siurana, which are natural with a limestone profile.

Bertrand Sourdais: An expert on soil, Sorian vineyards and currently one of the most influential people in Ribera del Duero. He tries to express them in two different projects. The first, La Hormiga del Antídoto, has a profile in which the dry tannins and the wood are more noticeable. The other gem in the crown is Dominio de Es; their Viñas Cuvée has a fresh and smooth character and, La Diva, their cherished vineyard, offers a fleshy wine with distinct personality.

Pardas: An icon in Penedés. These are wines full of Ramón’s personality. He presented Aspriu, the white as well as the red, from the 2012 vintage; a Xarel.lo which doesn’t seem to age a day.

Telmo Rodríguez: They produce wines in different regions in Spain. We think the red wines from Valdeorras and Rioja, As Carbocas and A Falcoeira, have a special magic, they are smooth with a great balance, structurally gifted in a way that makes them unforgettable. Up until now, their greatest work is in Rioja (cultivated near where Telmo grew up), nowadays Las Beatas is one of the greatest wines from Rioja.

Dominio de Pingus: A key part of Ribera de Duero in the last few years couldn’t be missing from the show. We tasted their best iconic wines, PSI 2014 with a very fruity profile and Pingus 2015-2013, one of the most exciting wines from Ribera del Duero.

Artuke: A relatively new winery with a new profile in Rioja. These are wines that express the earth and traditional varieties without allowing them to be masked by the wood. It should be noted that Finca los Locos 2014, because it was created on a hillside with very little soil, has a high concentration of fruit as a result.

Scala Dei: Since the introduction of Ricard Rofes as oenologist, the winery has changed spectacularly. Their single-plot wines, Mas Deu and Sant Antoni, made in cement and aged in large barrels, are already model examples in Priorat.

Recaredo: This winery is a clear example that a great cava comes from a great vineyard. The biodynamic viticulture, the single-plot wines and the lengthy ageing processes give each of the cuvées a singularity as a result. Turo d’en Mota 2005 is spectacular even as young as it is.

In conclusion, it was a very appealing exhibition, where we were able to try fantastic Spanish wines, although there were also some noticeable absences.

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Blind wine tasting: The great practice that brings us back down to planet earth

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It is an art, an exercise in sincerity, of stripping a wine down and creating a coherent opinion on what’s in front of you. It is a perfect tool to develop, for professionals as well as amateurs.

“A Set of 9” by Alexa Clark (CC BY-NC 2.0)

For sommeliers, it is a brilliant test of their knowledge, since they have to draw on everything they have studied. They consider where the wines come from by the colour, the different aromas and the different tastes, and they defend their opinions by ruling out grapes and production areas that couldn’t be the wine in front of them for the climate and the soil. They more they travel, the more they learn and the more they taste. They start to recognise how each wine-maker produces wine in each area and then they narrow down their choices until they arrive at the desired producer and vintage. There are fantastic professional sommeliers who can guess correctly. And it isn’t luck, it takes years of dedication and study.

For wine-producers, it’s a good tool to see how their wine is situated in the market and among the competition, carrying out blind tastings with wines from the same area or comparing them with their favourite wines to see differences and similarities.

For amateurs, it is a perfect way to play and learn. Of course, you should have some basic ideas and have tried a number of wines before attending a blind wine tasting. To start, the best thing to do is join a group with more or less the same knowledge level and begin with topics: areas, varieties, then more. Improving is quite easy, since you find yourself without any external influence and you have to focus on the small details. The learning level is excellent.

The only thing you need to do is organise a meeting and ask each person in the group to bring a wine related to the topic that you have decided on: Garnachas de España, for example. Keep going until you get to a point where you dare to approach them all, and you can start carrying out blind wine tastings with every type of wine: the Essential Spanish Wines III pack, for example.

We don’t suggest using certain types of wines:

Firstly: Don’t bring wines that you have had in your fridge for a long time. They can be disappointing. Drink them, enjoy them and remember fondly the wine you carefully bought somewhere in a store on holiday.

And secondly: No myths, please! They could be destroyed in a second. Don’t put the wine that you’ve read a lot about and only managed to buy once in your lifetime into a blind wine tasting. It is much better to taste it fully exposed.

That’s it. Enjoy. It’s a fantastic game.

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Harvesting Comunica

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Pep Aguilar and Patri Morillo are Comunica, a joint project that never fails to inspire. Created from knowledge acquired throughout many years of experience in various wineries, Comunica is the product of a long journey. A ‘Do It Yourself’, with few means, but with a lot of enthusiasm and expertise. They produce sincere and direct artisanal wines, a reflection of the people involved in the project.

Therefore, given what we have seen, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to visit them.

The alarm went off at 5 in the morning, a very odd hour for the person writing this, but it was worth the effort. We were going to Falset to see the Comunica partners and spend a day at the harvest.

At around 7, we arrived at Mas en Cosme, a beautiful country house surrounded by vineyards and olive trees, situated very close to the Falset Oenology Institute. How can they be in such an idyllic place with so few resources? Be calm, all will become clear. They have rented the estate, meaning the vineyards (about seven hectares), the olive trees etc… and left a space in the house to construct the winery, which will become a garage winery. By coincidence of life and destiny, the estate is situated on their favourite soil: granitic soil, which provides good integrity in the vines.

When we arrived, Patri was already ready and Pep arrived straight after. A big welcome hug, a black coffee to clear our heads and then, to work. First, a little fitness, pigeage (wine stomping) and we checked the must densities that were fermenting, which were already almost wine. We also tried the deposits to see if there was any deviation, eg. if it was unstable etc… Pep was in charge of analysing the fermentation trajectory.

To ferment and macerate the musts, they use open plastic tubs so that each part undergoes the process separately. This way, they conserve the different yeasts and the authenticity of every vine. When they finish macerating it, it is pressed and continues fermenting in stainless steel tanks.


We left Pep with his oenologist tasks and went with Patri to visit the Vinya Goretti plot (the owner of which is Josep, a third Comunica) to see the state of the vineyard’s ripeness. It is a Cariñena plot about 70-80 years old, planted on clay-lime soils in the Marçà area.

Here we experienced a masterclass in ripening control. Not in the way they teach in oenologist schools, but from years of experience. They traversed the entire estate, testing grapes not with a refractometre, but with their senses. And the selection tables are for separating the grapes by sight, yet they don’t avoid the most important part: the taste. Patri has spent more than half a lifetime testing grapes, undertaking ripening controls with some of the great masters like René Barbier. The result: the grapes were still very well hydrated, and they hoped that the grapes would ripen a little more and acquire some complexity. They would harvest them four days later, more or less.


When we returned to the winery, the grapes from the Mas vineyards had already arrived, collected by Josep and the team of harvesters. We had to unload, weigh and process the grapes. Once processed, we put the grapes into the plastic tubs so that they would begin fermenting. The stem is used from year to year, there is no established rule. If it looks ripe, they incorporate it at fermentation. This knowledge comes with intuition.


After having processed the grape, we had to clean the boxes and put them in order so that they could be used again in the vineyard.

While they were harvesting the last plot, we went to carry out the ripening controls for the Garnacha Peluda found in the same Mas vineyard. Roughly 80 years old, the vineyard is established on clay-limestone soils with granitic sand and slate. The Garnacha Peluda variety gives wines with a tactile profile more silkiness in the mouth. This time, the grape was a little more dehydrated and almost ready to harvest.

It was already a little late, but we decided to extend the day a little longer and sit down for lunch, which became a snack and then almost dinner. We received the grapes and cleaned the winery so that it was spotless for the next day. Meanwhile, Pep started to cook.

We sat on the terrace, happily eating the delicious rice while trying the new 2015 vintage.

The 2015 vintage is the first that they have produced in the new winery. All of their wines were exceptionally well-defined, including the Fristyle. Changing the location for the project has been phenomenal for the wine and for them. You only need to walk around the estate to see that this is exactly where they should be, and that their future is promising.

Thank you Comunica, for having allowed us to share a day of the harvest with you, a very important time for a wine-producer.

  • La Comedia 2014

    Red wine Barrel Non certified organic. 10 months on lees in stainless steel vats. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Celler Comunica. Production area: Montsant. Grapes used in this wine: Syrah and Cariñena and Garnacha Tinta.

    9,25 IVA inc.
    8,75 €/u
    ¡Disponible sólo en Internet!
    La Comedia 2014

    Red wine Barrel Non certified organic. 10 months on lees in stainless steel vats. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Celler Comunica. Production area: Montsant. Grapes used in this wine: Syrah and Cariñena and Garnacha Tinta.

    9,25 IVA inc.
    8,75 €/u
    ¡Disponible sólo en Internet!
  • Comunica 2012

    Red wine Reserva Non certified organic. 20 months on lees in stainless steel vats. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Celler Comunica. Production area: Montsant. Grapes used in this wine: Syrah and Cariñena and Garnacha Tinta.

    • Decántalo 92
    12,60 IVA inc.
    11,95 €/u
    ¡Disponible sólo en Internet!
    Comunica 2012

    Red wine Reserva Non certified organic. 20 months on lees in stainless steel vats. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Celler Comunica. Production area: Montsant. Grapes used in this wine: Syrah and Cariñena and Garnacha Tinta.

    • Decántalo: 92
    12,60 IVA inc.
    11,95 €/u
    ¡Disponible sólo en Internet!
  • Vinya Goretti 2013

    Red wine Crianza Non certified organic. 10 months on lees in stainless steel vats. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Celler Comunica. Production area: Montsant. Grapes used in this wine: Samsó.

    • Decántalo 93
    16,90 IVA inc.
    15,95 €/u
    ¡Disponible sólo en Internet!
    Vinya Goretti 2013

    Red wine Crianza Non certified organic. 10 months on lees in stainless steel vats. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Celler Comunica. Production area: Montsant. Grapes used in this wine: Samsó.

    • Decántalo: 93
    16,90 IVA inc.
    15,95 €/u
    ¡Disponible sólo en Internet!
  • La Peluda 2014

    Red wine Barrel. 10 months on lees in stainless steel vats. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Celler Comunica. Production area: Montsant. Grapes used in this wine: Garnacha Peluda.

    • Decántalo 92
    16,80 IVA inc.
    ¡Disponible sólo en Internet!
    La Peluda 2014

    Red wine Barrel. 10 months on lees in stainless steel vats. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Celler Comunica. Production area: Montsant. Grapes used in this wine: Garnacha Peluda.

    • Decántalo: 92
    16,80 IVA inc.
    ¡Disponible sólo en Internet!


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