Time to take home a taste of Catalunya!
Wine is truly about food, family and friends. This self-evident truth was presented clearly to me when I received two bottles of wine from DO Catalunya for review. Unexpectedly, the following week I received two gifts from my sister-in-law who lives in Spain; the first a book on the Catalan wine regions and the second a book on Catalan cuisine! That is synchronicity. Thank you Crystal for the wonderful gifts.
DO Catalunya is one of twelve Denominació d’Origen in Catalonia. Catalonia/Catalan is the wine growing region in Northeastern Spain surrounding Barcelona.
The DO Catalunya is one of twelve Denominació d’Origen in Catalonia. Catalonia/Catalan is the wine growing region in Northeastern Spain surrounding Barcelona. Catalonia produces over 140 million bottles of wine and 240 million bottles of Cava.
Wine has been produced in Catalonia for over 2,500 years. Rome was particularly fond of many wines from the area. Today, over 55,000 hectares (135,908 acres) of vines are cultivated for wine production.
The Catalan Designations of Origin includes - DO Emporda, DO Alella, DO Pla de Bages, DO Penedes, DO Cava, DO Conca de Barbera, DO Costers del Segre, DO Catalunya, DO Tarragona, DOQ Priorat, DO Montsant, DO Terra Alta.
The Denominació d’Origen Catalunya was created in 1999 covering all of the traditional grape plantings in the area. It was added on top of the existing Catalan DO’s and offered DO certification for wineries located in the excluded DO areas with high quality wines. DO Catalunya has a vineyard area of 47.066 hectares (116 acres planted to vine). It is considered to be an innovative DO allowing for greater experimentation with more diverse grape varieties.
|Map of DO Catalunya - image courtesy DO Catalunya.|
The Catalunya Region includes more than 340 municipalities. It is located in the north-east of the peninsula, bordering France to the north through the Pyrenees, Aragon to the west and the Region of Valencia to the south. The soils are formed, mostly, by sedimentary stores with predominance of calcareous materials and low contents of organic matter. The diverse, Mediterranean-influenced climate makes it an ideal winegrowing location. The coast is known for dry and hot summers and mild winters, whereas inland vineyards experience hot summers and cold winters. To the north, the Pyrenees provide a high mountain climate with very cold and snowy winters and hot summers with abundant rainfall. An interesting and diverse DO.
DO Catalunya has 35 authorised grape varieties for winemaking.
White grape varieties: albarinho, chardonnay, chenin, garnatxa blanca, gewürztraminer, macabeu, malvasia, malvasia de Sitges, moscatell (d’Alexandria and de Frontignan), parellada, Pedro Ximénez, picapoll blanc, riesling, sauvignon blanc, sumoll blanc, xarel·lo, viognier and vinyater.
Red grape varieties: cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, garnatxa negra, garnatxa peluda, garnatxa roja (garnatxa gris), garnatxa tintorera, merlot, monastrell, petit verdot, picapoll negre, pinot noir, samsó (carinyena), sumoll, syrah, trepat and ull de llebre.
“The culture of a country manifests itself via different means of cultural communication; be it through its history, language, art, traditions, or roots, but also its diet.” Roots: Essential Catalan Cuisine According to El Celler de Can Roca” by Joan Roca, 2004.
When you think of pairing the wines of Catalunya with food, you should think of traditional foods from the region, in particular, fried calamari or picada for stews, meatballs for the escudella and minced pork for the botifarres, slow cooked onions for the sofregit, piles of cannelloni and flan infused with cinnamon and lemon. Catalan cuisine offers an explosion of aromas and flavors acquired over thousands of years of food and wine culture. From the self-sufficient villages of Catalonia, its cuisine is based on seasonal products offered by the garden, fishing, rabbits, chickens, pigs and veal. Rice became part of the local cuisine in the 15th century, along with beans, peppers and tomatoes.
Catalan cuisine and wines are interlinked with a diverse history of cultural interaction. And yet, those foods and wines remain uniquely Catalan, reflecting the character of its peoples. If you are interested in learning more about Catalan cuisine, please visit the links I have shared at the bottom of this post.
Now let's look at my tasting notes for these two DO Catalunya wines.
1. Tasting Notes Poema White Wine 2014 DO Catalunya
After pressing and cold settling for 24 hours, the must is fermented at 59˚-62˚F. The wine then rests on the lees for an additional 2 months to gain a smooth texture and added complexity.
Color: Silver-gold with green highlights.
Nose: Yeasty, mineral, lychee, white flower.
Palate: Dry, round roll of fruit mid-palate, clean pear, lychee, finished to the front with light nectarine. First impression positive.
After 15 minutes: More fruit on the nose, pear with mineral, lychee and delicate spice. Soft with crisp white nectarine, pear, dry with tingle on the back palate. Easy drinking, not complex, light finish.
At 30 minutes: Focused nose, spice, kiwi, honeydew melon. Smooth, soft, textured, dry, light nuttiness, pear/honeydew melon, acid zing back palate, finish bigger at this point. I would have enjoyed a crab or shrimp salad with this wine. Thoughts of spring, lunch with friends and sunshine came to mind along with the tinkling of laughter. Like.
At one hour: Interesting aromatics, white flower, a little funky, with melon. Soft mouth feel, acid in back, melon, floral, subtle savoriness with salinity into the finish. Like.
Thoughts: This wine showed well. Suitable as an aperitif, also perfect for salad and fresh shellfish. Enjoyed this wine, obvious because the bottle emptied on the same day. Time to take home a taste of Catalunya!
Recommended + Big Like + Great QPR.
Blend: Macabeu - Muscat
Closure: Screw Cap
Sample for review
2. Tasting Notes Poema Red Wine 2014 DO Catalunya
The Garnacha is grown at higher elevations in Catalonia's Terra Alta terrasses. Tempranillo grapes are dry farmed for optimal concentration in Alt Camp. All grapes are hand harvested, de-stemmed and slightly crushed before fermentation in stainless steel tanks for 10 days.
Color: Clear, light ruby.
Nose: Friendly, soft cherry, spice, sandalwood, vanilla perfume undertone, prune.
Palate: Fresh, crisp, light body, tartness, cherry cola, currant, dry, tacky on tongue, bit of prune into the finish.
After 15 minutes: Currant and prune dominant, dry, juicy, almost candied on short finish.
After 30 minutes: Full in the mouth and juicy, cherry, cranberry, cola, dry, tacky on roof of mouth with currant on finish. Easy drinking. Not serious, but a fun drinking casual wine.
After 1 hour: Light fruit, juicy, dry, cherry/currant, touch of dry sage, light on finish. Perfect patio sipper at this point. Think deli or cafe and a light repast of bread, olive oil, white cheddar and charcuterie. Good BBQ wine too.
Decanted 1 hour: Softer, quite grippy on the gums, light fruit, cola and cherry, dryness more apparent. Think it would be good with a French Dip or steak fajita.
Day two: Dry, good weight, fluid, with some vegetal qualities, almost jammy, lighter on the finish.
Thoughts: Fun, casual wine. Drink at open. Do not hold. If you are looking for an inexpensive bottle of wine to drink at the table, this is it. Serious value and perfect for a BBQ. Time to take home a taste of Catalunya!
Recommended + Good Value.
Blend: Grenache, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon
Closure: Screw Cap
Sample for review
About Poema Wines
Poema is a small-production, quality-oriented Spanish wine producer that crafts top value Cava and fruit-forward red and white blends. Sourced in Catalunya, grapes are grown in a Mediterranean climate with the ideal soil composition to yield fruit-driven, easy-drinking wines. The fruit is sustainably farmed, using organic fertilizer without herbicides. I need to get my hands on some Poema Cava. Seriously trying to make this happen.
|Books on Catalan cuisine and wine, a welcome gift from my sister-in-law.|
Catalan and Catalunya Resources:
- DO Catalunya: www.do-catalunya.com/en/
- Associacio Vinicola Catalana: www.avinicolacatalana.cat/index.php/ca/
- Fundacio Institut Catala De La Cuina I De La Cultura Gastronomica: www.cuinacatalana.eu/es/
- Vins de Catalunya: www.vinsdecatalunya.org/
- Book “Catalan Wine Landscapes” by Swasky, 2014 published by Zahori de Idea, www.zahorideideas.com and Associacio Catalana de Sommeliers, www.sommeliers.cat
- Book “Roots: Essential Catalan Cuisine According to El Celler de Can Roca” by Joan Roca, 2004 published by Librooks Barcelona, S.L.L. www.librooks.es (Original title: La Cuina de la Meva Mare).
- Wine Event: If you are looking for a Catalonia wine event to attend, then plan a visit in late September to attend “Mostra de Vine I Caves de Catalunya” in Barcelona. You will be able to sample wines from over 75 wineries in the DO.
- Map of Spanish Wine Regions by Quentin Sadler.
- Wine Review: Salanques 2009 Mas Doix - Priorat July 2014
- Decoding My Spanish Wine Fixation July 2011
Many of us have the desire to travel and visit wine regions around the world. There are many places I want to visit. Getting there is not always possible. When you bring home a bottle of wine from NE Spain, read about the region, its people and cuisine, it helps to bring that part of the world a little closer to home. Thinking about you Catalunya.