Fresh from an encounter with Juan and Pere Rovira Baques and their nephew Juan Cucrarellas. Two proud batchelos living in a masia on the hill, which happens to overlook big cavas, Gramona, Covides, Castellblanc, and half a dozen other blow ins, Sant Sadurni, the A7 and various fields left to fallow “it’s not worth the money and we’ve got enough for our own wine.
Pass all the industrial boys, continue straight on the gravel lane after the tarmac stops and look out for the first masia above the track on your right. The forecourt of the masia is littered with worn out Espace, estate Mercedes with bald tyres, the means to organise a barbecue and left overs from the building work that is is progress. The work is approached sympathetically, exposed stone walls, cut stone pilar and wooden beams. The result will be a small shop and visitor room for tastings and snacks.
The label carries the legend Rovira Baques, the background is a faithful recreation of the original sundial on the facade of the masia.
Bottling plant is rarely romantic, but theirs manages to be facinating as it is historic and operational.
They won’t call it cava or have anything to do with local reguladors, Prefering the name, and D.O. Catalunya for the red wine to avoid the maze of intefering bureaucrats.
Deliberatly differenciating themselves from flavours and styles of the world around the wine is overmatured merlot cabernet sauvignon and franc that is richly fruity on the attack. The 2003 which promises to run out soon is beautiful to look at. I doubt it has touched oak. It doesn’t need to as there is so much going on in every corner of the mouth and nose, sweat, cough syrup, annaseed. Magic little legs and the colour show strength and concentration unusual in a Priorat never mind a red from the capital of cava. Filtered?, oak? None of that, real red wine with uncompromising body.
The cava brut nature, macabeo, xarel.lo includes chenin. Bubbles are fine and colour light straw but there ends any connection with cava aromas and flavour. Instead of the aroma of roast almonds it is perfumed. very smooth for a 2 year old and how do they get that much fruit into it but it defies the description “Brut Nature”.
They've a bottle of a moscatel, with accolades from the 1929 (I think), the year of a/the international Exhibition, its in the shape of an Eifel tower. Two former cups or wine tanks house their modest store of cavas and red wines, again to be different, with most being magnums, it’s much more fun giving and receiving magnums and it halves the time and effort for bottling. It makes absolute sense when you should be concentrating on slow cooked partridges with stuffed cabbage leaves instead.
The track outside turns out to be the old road from Sant Sadurni d’Anoia to Sant Pere de Riudebittles and Mediona. Another treasure I had been looking for.
It was the real thing, magnetic, the kind of place you have to throw yourself out of because the atmosphere is so thick and the company too educated. In the middle of the big kitchen there’s a wide solid stone hearth with half a roof beam in it, a Bewleys bench, high backed with wings to protect from draughts and catch the heat of the fire like a cognac glass. Overhead, the original hood of the fire, aoccupies a third of the room and the dark passage leads to a chimney the width of a well. Suckin wines, chewing butifarra blanca and shootin shit about the Carlist wars, hundred year old family habits and the good times. Correctionalists
Joan Mila, when in the area likes to blend two free range eggs with sugar and sour wine to remind him of the good old bad old days.