Ulls i Gusts de Fora

El Molí & Barcelona Business Wine Challenge, Torrelles de Foix, October 26

This was a packed weekend for Torrelles de Foix and El Molí as we prepared for the annual Artisan Fair, a party, art exhibition, the opening of our bike centre and the first “El Molí”wine challenge. The results are intended to give you an overview of what’s new and interesting in Catalan wines. We encouraged producers to send us their most innovative creations while our jury of foreign eyes, noses and tongues from Nigeria, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Morocco, Belgium, Argentina, England, North America kept the interests of the rest of the world in mind. Joan Mila, Professor of Oenology at the Escola de Viticultura, Sant Sadurni was our guide and referee.

New wines, new labels and established benchmarks.

Overall impressions indicate a clear preference for blended wines and particularly when this included a multiracial mix. Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Cabernet and Merlot lovers will be delighted at these originally crafted and well balanced wines. The strong Spanish character of Xarel.lo, Garnatxa Blanc, Parellada, Cariñena and Tempranillo perfectly complimenting the French vines, and what better way to introduce this impressive range of aromas, flavours and sensations to the world.

White wines: Jean Leon’s Terrasola Sauvignon & Garnatxa Blanc 2002 and Jean Leon Terrasola Muscat & Parellada 2002, were the most appreciated white wines. Excellent results from Master Oenologist Jaume Rovira and the Jean Leon winery. Runners up were Loxarel’s “Gaia” Sauvignon Blanc 2002 from Conca de Barberà and a barrel fermented Chenin Blanc & Chardonnay 2000 from La Xarmada.

Traditional and single variety wines were left somewhat behind, no matter how well made they were. These are highly prized by more experienced drinkers as examples of what native varieties can achieve. Nadal’s Finca Boadella and 1+1=3 Xarello came out tops of the traditionals with Alsina i Sarda and Colet’s 1/5 behind by a nose.

Red wines: The joint red wine leaders La Xarmada Tardus Viscivorus 2001 and Mas Comtal’s Antistiana ’98. Second and third went to 1+1=3 Doga ’98 and Idrias Abiego 2002 from Somontano and the hand of Joan Mila.

Cavas: Alsina Sarda Reserva passed their own Cava Gran Reserva to gain first place. Second place was shared by Jaume Giro Giro Brut Nature and Nadal Cava Rosat followed by Colet Gran Cuvée.

Top marks for the new kid on the block 1+1=3 or “u mes u fan tres”. Pep Pinol, the wine-maker has no shortage of experience. His winery in Guardiola de Font Rubi sits in one of the best micro-climates of Penedès. In the background I detect the marketing and wine-making adventurism of Carles Esteve, who also takes care of Can Rafols de las Caus. The label design is simple but the contents of all the samples presented achieved maximum points. We tasted their Cabernet rosé after the challenge and it confirmed the consistent high quality and individualism of this new range.

Judges special favourites included Pere Ventura Reserva ’98, Roses Vila Negre Barrica 2000, Azimut Blanc de Flor, Ferret Cava -Altre Nos, Mas Comtal Cabernet & Merlot and Sol de Brugas Syrah 2000

Many thanks to our judges, who would describe themselves as everyday or everyotherday wine drinkers. They made their way through 37 wines and cavas like true professionals. A very special thanks to Abdella Ahhadaf for a stunning art exhibition and also for putting the gastronomic icing on the event.

What’s on in November
Visit olive mills in Sant Martí Sarroca and Guardiola de Font Rubi
Pick almonds in the hills of Penedès and make your own panaletes
Nov. 1/2. Fira del Bolet, Wild mushrooms, nature and crafts, popular tastings of mushrooms and casolas/stews.
Nov. 9 Museu de Vi, Vilafranca organises excursion "La Fulla Vermella" Tel: 93 890 05 82
Nov. 8/9 Eco-vi, Ecological wines & cavas, Castellví de la Marca,
Nov. 29 Wine/gastronomy street fair, Vila Vinoteca, between Via Liatana and Pl.. Santa Maria, Barcelona 6 - 10 pm.

How much thoroughbred for your euros
Ferret Xarel.lo. 4.50e
Colet 1/5. 6.10e
1+1=3, Xarel.lo
Nadal, Finca Boadella. 4.36
Loxarel, Gaia, Sauvignon Blanc
Azimut, Flor de Blanc. 4.00e
Alsina Sarda, Chardonnay/Xarel.lo 4.10e
Jean Leon Terrasola Muscat & Parellada 2002, 8.70e
La Xarmada, barrel fermented Chenin Blanc & Chardonnay 2000
Jean Leon Terrasola Sauvignon & Garnatxa Blanc 2002, 8.70e

Loxarel OPS 7.00e
Azimut, Sang de Drac 5.00e
Jean Leon Terrasola Syrah & Carienya 2002, 9.50e
Julia i Navines
Sol de Brugas Syrah 2000 3.50e
Alsina Sarda, Merlot, 4.70e
1+1=3 Syrah 2000
Sol de Brugas Merlot ’99, 4.25e
Ferret Crianza ’99, 6.96e
Roses Vila Barrica 2000, 7.20e
Mas Comtal Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 6.00e
Alsina Sarda, 5.63e
Pere Ventura Cabernet ‘98
1+1=3 Doga ’98
Idrias, Abiego 2002
1+1=3 Defora ’98
Mas Comtal, Antistiana. 16.00e
La Xarmada, Tardus ’01

Nadal Rosat. 7.70e
Azimut 6.00e
Alsina Sarda Gran Reserva, 8.23e
Colet Gran Cuvée. 7.50e
Ferret, Altre Nos. 13.20e
Alsina Sarda Reserva, 6.38e
Jaume Giró Giró, Brut Nature. 4.40e

Paddy Mannion
[email protected]