Wine in the cloister 2011

Last year I wrote about the highly pleasing public tasting organized by Vins Noe in my town’s Abbey cloister. Here we go again!

The Tast de Vins amb Ritme had this year eight wineries on display. One of them was a very promising Rioja: Tobelos. The other seven were Catalan: as usual, we will focus on them.

Three of them have been already reviewed in this blog. It was an opportunity to sample new vintages and, in one case, taste a novelty.

Can Feixes Huguet (DO Penedès and Cava), Gramona (Penedès and Cava) and Ferrer Bobet (DOQ Priorat) offered me the chance to revisit their wines and see that they continue to perform notably well, each one in their style.

In the case of Gramona, there was a surprise in the form of Frisant de Gel.

This 100% Gewurztraminer is produced by the selective cryoextraction process, exactly at the beginning as the Gewurztraminer Vi de Glass. As late autumn temperatures do not freeze grapes in the vineyard, Gramona has a cold chamber at minus 24 to freeze the already overmature grapes. Pressing renders a highly concentrated must that is slowly fermented. Additional fermentation in the final bottle produces a degree of gas that gives the Frisant its name. The floral aromas that are typical of the Vi de Glass evolve to white fruit, especially pear. A very unusual wine!

Acústic is a Montsant winery that can boast one of the outstanding reds of the DO. Auditori is a 100 % very old vine Garnatxa of very limited production that I was fortunate enough to taste some months ago.

Their white is called Acústic blanc and is a blend of Garnatxa blanca, Garnatxa roja, Macabeu and Xarel.lo, partly fermented in French oak. Pale yellow, with white and tropical fruit, fresh and silky.

Acústic negre is the simpler red, from Garnatxa and Carinyena vines some forty years old, and with ten months in French oak. Braó is the flagship of the winery, with a blend similar to Acústic negre but coming from older vines and with thirteen months of aging.

There were two wineries from DO Pla de Bages. One was Abadal, the most refined part of a large company with its main interests in the lower price segment, and the other was a newcomer, Collbaix (Celler el Molí).

Abadal was the main force behind the creation of the Pla de Bages DO (I must write a post about it soon) and leads the way with a drive to produce wines with personality, especially around the Picapoll white varietal. Indeed, there was on offer the Abadal Picapoll, a white made 100% with these grapes. Also Abadal 5 Merlot, a complex blend of Merlot coming from five different plots and aged for twelve months in American, Hungarian and French oak.

Abadal 3.9 is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah coming from a single plot, with one year of aging. A new wine for me was Abadal 25 Aniversari, a special blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Syrah that celebrates the 25 years of the launch of the winery.

Collbaix is a new winery with organic farming and promising wines. Collbaix blanc is made from Picapoll and Macabeu: crisp and fruity. Collbaix rosat comes fully from Merlot grapes and boasts an attractive ruby shade and red fruits in nose and mouth.

The third wine on display was La Llobeta, a red with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and twelve months of aging in American, Romanian and French oak. Deep cherry red, with a complex nose showing ripe fruit, lactic and spicy notes.

The last winery was still newer: Herencia Altés, from DO Terra Alta. For the time being, their only assets are old-vine plots; the winery is still to be built and they use the premises of a neighbour.

However, their wines repay attention: Benufet is a 100% Garnatxa blanca, complex and dense. The red Garnatxa negre is young, very fruity and with mineral notes. L’Estel is old vine Garnatxa negra and Syrah with three months oak ageing; more complex and tannic.

These two last wineries are really worthy following; I will keep you posted!



  1. You have a great wine list! Abadal 3.9 seems good and I would love to try this one on my Anniversary! Great blog!

  2. Thank you, Wine Stock! Do try 3.9; it will not disappoint you!