Summer Vacation(s) Ep. 4

The last episode of the summer Catalunya arc, “For the Cellar,” features three very different wines with very different energies that further explore the places we’ve been in episodes 1-3. An Instagram live tasting through all three wines can be found at the link here (there are timestamps for each individual wine below).

More info on each bottle can be found below. In the meantime, when you open these, here are some questions to ask:

1. What context or moment are you opening this bottle for? What’s the weather like, the occasion, the mood of the guests? What emotion do you want people to feel when they drink this? If there’s food, what food are you serving? If there’s music, what’s playing?

2. ‘Ageworthy’ is an interesting word; it implies some wines should be kept for years, and others shouldn’t. Which of these wines will you hold on to? Which will you open this year? Have you thought about where you’ll keep the wines you’re saving, and what you’re saving them for?

3. Even if you drink them like I did, all at once, keeping them open for a couple of days can give you information about how a second bottle might age over time. If you’ve already opened these wines, what did they show you with time open? Did they suggest they might age well, or were they better drunk now?

Keep in touch as you open these bottles! Here’s a little more information on each wine:

How it might look on a wine list
JEAN-PHILIPPE PADIÉ, grenache, “Gibralter”, CALCE

In one sentence
Silky, high-toned infusion-style grenache from one of the Roussillon’s natural wine icons

Time stamp? 3:32 (link)

Who made it? Jean-Philippe Padié was a Burgundy native who moved down to where his grandparents were from in the 1990s, worked with biodynamic pioneer Gérard Gauby, started his own domaine in 2003.
Out of what? Grenache! (Read more.)
Made how? Grenache from different plots (schist, limestone, granite) fermented separately in concrete, blended and bottled without filtration or SO2.
When do I open? See video for more detail but: it’s made to be delicious on release, but will probably be much more put-together and sure of itself in a couple of years. Open with the same ceremony reserved for fancy Burgundy; with duck; in spring.

How it might look on a wine list
SUCCÉS, parellada, “El Pedregal 2017”, CONCA DE BARBERÀ

In one sentence
Aged, minimalist, delicate white with a savory side from the forgotten cava grape

Time stamp? 15:37 (link)

Who made it? Mariona Vendrell + Albert Canela, whose first vintage was in 2011, when they were 20. They met studying in Tarragona and leveraged Albert’s family vines + winegrowing connections to create Succés in Conca de Barberà’s quiet, forgotten mountain vineyards.
Out of what? A Cava grape! (Specifically, parellada, able to ripen at low alcohol, delicately aromatic, rarely seen. About cava, read more!)
Made how? Pressed off, settled, moved to stainless steel to ferment, bottled with zero additions, 50 cases made.
When do I open? See video for more detail but: it’s a proof of concept of what aging can deliver now; I can also testify that waiting a year or two couldn’t hurt. Think about low-volume, contemplative moments where a minimalist wine like this can shine. Nothing too flashy—maybe a board game night, or a rainy Sunday afternoon.

How it might look on a wine list
RIM, carignan, “Velles Vides 2019”, EMPORDÀ

In one sentence
Old-vine, structured mountain carignan with a long life ahead of it

Time stamp? 26:04 (link)

Who made it? Jordí Esteve, a “newcomer to the village of Rabos; my friends are all over 70 years old and they often tell me about how life used to be here.” Soc nouvingut a Rabós. Els meus amics tenen més de setanta anys i em parlen de la vida antiga del poble de Rabós, una vida que ja no hi és però jo veig.
Out of what? Carignan, which is capable of grace.
Made how? A very gentle 10 days of maceration with clusters pushed down by hand, fermented in steel, bottled without filtration and with a tiny dose of SO2.
When do I open? See video for more detail but: not for a while? This is definitely the one to sit on. Years, if you can (and make sure it’s somewhere 60º and dark ) but at least until cuffing season if possible. Save this, at the very least, for low light, winter solstice, indoors time, things tapping the window, shadows in the dark.

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