Hasta luego, Hasta próxima or Hasta pronto?

Three weeks in and the Spanish is progressing you might think? Well I guess it does, but in the back of our heads where we don't notice. My mind still goes blank in restaurants, and I sometimes find my self repeating verbs... Yo tengo, tú tiene, el/ella tienes, nosotros tenemos, tienen...Its like my mind is constantly occupied with kids, cava, Instagram, friends, food, excursions, times to keep, book keeping, taxes and on top of it all Spanish. My brain must think I'm insane to try to learn something new in a already overloaded and over heated state of mind. Well we will see if I can make it fly or if I'll crash and burn.

Three weeks in with people coming and going Andreas and I have that strange feeling that we just came, and at the same time that we have been here for ever. Even though our departure is just one and a half week away, thinking about going home feels strange and unnatural. I suppose that is one of the signs of us growing accustom to Penedés and that we honestly see it as our second home. Its a nice feeling. Hopefully we will have the chance to spend more time here since we are now looking for a hose to rent long term, and maybe we will look at some houses next week. Its all very exciting and that would mean that all of you reading the blog could come here and rent it. Since we will then also rent it to friends when we are not there our selves. I'll tell you more about it when it happens.

One thing that I think I have got a grip on though is the meaning of these "good buy"-fraces... Hasta pronto = we will see each other soon and you know it will be during that same day. Hasta Luego = we will se each other soon but don't know exactly when. Hasta proxima= we will see each other later and that can be a day a week or a month. Who knows. Hasta mañana = see you tomorrow.

Top Of The Pops among Cava and Champagne

It is not every day you get the chance to try a line-up like this, so I must admit I had been excited for weeks beforehand. And it really was just so interesting and exciting as I thought. This is my thoughts about the experience... For you who are not really aquatinted with these cavas and champagnes I can just give you the very brief details. Cavas:  ENOTECA BRUT NATURE 2001: 75% Xarel-lo and 25% Macabeu, from Gramona. LA CAPELLA 2005: 100% single vineyard Xarel-lo, from Juvé y Camps. TURÓ D'EN MOTA 2005: 100% single vineyard Xarel-lo, from Recaredo.

Champagnes: SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL CUVÉE 2000: Pinot noir and chardonnay, from Pol Roger. DOM PERIGNON 2006: chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot munier, from Moët & Chandon.

To start with we compared the two younger cavas with Dom Perignon of nearly the same age. And after that SWCC and Enoteca.

Before we started I really thought that the notes coming from the aging would be predominant and have made the sparkling wines more similar. Although all wines had very distinct aged notes there was a huge differens which I had not counted on. What struck us all was how very vibrant and alive all the cavas were compared to the champagnes of nearly the same age. The cavas had together with the aged notes of bread, nuts and biscuits ALSO a great balance of fruitiness left in them. The Champagnes were broader, softer and had both clearly more oxidized notes of yellow apple to them, that the cavas did not. I love them all for their own uniqueness, but it was truly striking that all the cavas still felt so young after all this time!

Especially Enoteca 2001 (being so old) is truly amazing in its vibrant freshness!

I have always liked "old" wines, because I love what the aging does with the wine. Hence I have for a very long time had Sir Winston rated at the top of my list.  But to be honest... to get both these fantastic aged notes together with a freshness and elegance shown by Grsmona's Enoteca is amazing.

This same is true for the younger bottles of Turó d'en Mota and La Capella compared with Dom Perignon. The cavas are still super fresh and complex, while the Dom is more rounded and of course complex, but more bombastic than elegant.

One thing that might explain this is something I learned from Xavier Gramona, when he visited Stockholm in March. He explained that Xarel-lo is a perfect wine for aging since the variety contains the highest levels of antioxidants of any white grape. Maybe it is these antioxidants that keep the cavas so fresh after all this time?

I promise I will write a blogpost on all the cavas, all in due course. They deserve nothing less!

“To uproot one would be to uproot ourselves” The story of a vineyard

Since I will have the great opportunity to host a very special prestige tasting on Wednesday, where Turó d'en Mota will be one of the cavas we will taste. I thought I'd publish the article I wrote on this extraordinary cava for Glass of bubbly last year.

“To uproot one would be to uproot ourselves” The story of a vineyard

The first time Ton took us up to see Turó d’en Mota, I did not want to leave. There is something very special about this vineyard and it cannot be explained, you have to go there. Some people would perhaps say that it is a blessed place, spiritual or full of positive energy, if they experienced what I do when I go there. I will just say that it is something very special about this vineyard that makes me relate to it in a way I have never done, to any other patch of earth planted with vines.

Turó d’en Mota means “the hill of the Mota Family” and was planted in 1940. The vines are crocked, thick and seems to have lived a good but hard life, and every one of them has an appearance and personality so they could easily all have individual names. The plot is not big, only 0.97 hectares and a couple of years ago the vines growing there were sadly and abruptly decreased.   Apparently it had been raining that night, and someone was out “skidding” with their car on the muddy roads around the vineyards and crashed into Turó d’en Mota, taking about ten vines with them in the crash, if I remember correctly. Unfortunately these vines were not as lucky as the driver to make it out of this crash alive. How do you explain to someone how much these vines mean to the family that owns them, how do you explain what they are worth, how irreplaceable they are? Ton once said that “To uproot one would be to uproot ourselves”, which might give a glimpse of what he must have felt when he found out about what had happened.

I’m glad though that this vineyard has lived 76 years this year and that most of it is still intact, because that means that we will be able to continue to enjoy the wonderful cava coming from its vines. It is, my friends, something out of the ordinary. About 3000 bottles comes out of the approximate 4 400 kg of xarel-lo grapes harvested yearly by hand. Fermented first in oak for two weeks and later aged for a minimum of 120 months in the Recaredo cellars, this cava is unique in so many ways. When the first vintage (1999) came out, it was the first single vineyard cava ever made, and also the first monovarietal cava made from the xarel-lo grape. It is a perfect expression of the land it grows on, and you can clearly smell and taste the calcareous soil, the rosemary, thyme and fennel growing on the hill just next to the vineyard, and even though it is aged for over ten years, it is still fresh and vibrant. So for all narrow-minded people who say that cava cannot be aged… they have clearly not tried Turó d’en Mota. 

Now it has been at least three years since we last visited this fantastic plot and I must honestly say that I miss it. Every time this year when we have driven passed the exit road leading up to Turó d’en Mota, just outside Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, I have thought that “Next time” we will take that exit and just drive up to say “hello” and see how the vines are doing. But no, that never happened, and now I sit here in cold Sweden with -15 C outside and can’t stop thinking if my friends the vines by the hill, will see any snow this year? I think they would like too.

“Turó d’en Mota is a way of explaining our history; it is a memory, a way of relating to each other, of getting to know one other. Above all, it is a chance to appreciate a landscape.” -Ton Mata

Spring in Penedés- A program to enjoy!

I see pictures from Penedés every day, with almondtrres flowering and vines budding. All this why the snow around my hose slowly melts away and the temperatures are trying to stay above zero. Well well, This week In La Vanguardia one could read about a new spring program that some of the Penedés producers are inviting you to share. I have translated it to the best of my knowledge.


A total of 12 Catalan wineries have joined in the program 'La Primavera del Cava', which will be held from 1 to 21 May in the Penedès and who wants to promote wine tourism in the area.

So far, the wineries Agustí Torelló Mata, Codorníu, Giró Ribot, Gramona, Juvé & Camps, Llopart, Segura Viudas, Sumarroca, Torelló, Vallformosa, Vilarnau and Vins el Cep has joined the program.

All of them will share  activities designed for all ages, which will take place in the vineyards and are designed to make the visitors enjoy the spring weather as the same time as learning new things about cava.

For example, Vilarnau will on May 1st host a tasting of flowers and cavas in the vineyard that will begin with the collection of wild plants in the woods along with the sommelier Carles Aymerich from Celler de Can Roca and the specialist in the use of plants in the kitchen Everist March also he from  Celler de Can Roca.

On the 5th May, those who are interested will be able to enjoy, at Valformosa, a reading of tales that aims to publicize the wine tradition of the company, which dates back to 1865. And on Saturday May the 6th, Segura Viudas proposes a breakfast in the farmhouse with cava, wine and products of near by, followed by a naturalistic walk.

Also on that same Saturday, Gramona offers a tour of its vineyards to learn about the usefulness of medicinal plants, animals, flowers and stars. Llopart will that same day show their wineyards from a helicopter. 

Sunday 7th of May, Torelló welcomes visitors to take a tour of the vineyards with a following brunch.

The following weekend, Saturday May 13th, Codorníu hosts a tour of the vineyards by electric or conventional bicycle, a visit to the winery and a picnic made with Catalan gastronomy together with a tasting of cavas. On Sunday 14th  Agustí Torelló Mata offers a breakfast at the foot of the vineyard and a stroll through the cellar.

During the last weekend of this initiative, on Saturday May 20th, Vins El Cep presents a solidarity walk to visit with family and friends through the sites of the wineries accompanied by experts who will explain the fauna, flora and works of the vineyard , While Juvé & Camps will give the opetrunity to enjoy the flowering of the vines while mountain biking.

Finally, on Sunday, May 21st Sumarroca closes 'La Primavera del Cava' with a guided walk through its vineyards, to explain the natural cycle of the vineyards, and a tour in the Wine Jeep.

I really think it all sounds wonderful! But I have to wait until June, to  see all the friends and producers again.

Visit in the mountains - Heretat Mont-Rubí

fullsizerenderA great visit in my opinion, is when you get the feeling that you are at home, and this was exactly  what I felt when we went to HMR -Heretat Mont-Rubí, during our trip to Penedès this time. It is a rare feeling I must say. This winery is up on about 600 meters above sealevle, in the mountain behind Guardiola de Font Rubí (If you know your way around Penes) ;-) and up there the view is just amazing. I can imagine that it is a bit cooler in the summer too, which is nice for both grapes and people.

img_6855We had a look at the grapes that had just been hanged in the shed next to the winery. These are to hang here until January, when they will be pressed and the very concentrated must will become "Advent", which is HMR's superb dessert wine. It had taken 2 weeks to hang all the grape bunches individually!





We also had a look when the winemaker, Josep, stirred in the tank where grapes were macerating. A short film of this can be seen on my Instagram account @thecavalady. The tour continued and we ended with a tasting of there fantastic and very special wines. HMR are very focus on Garnaxa and Sumóll, the latter being a local grape. This makes their portfolio very special indeed. They also makes whites, and then based on Xarel.lo, that you all know well from traditional cava making. HMR does not make cava though, but keep to their wines.

img_9986-2E also liked the visit, but luckily the Ipad was brought along, so there was something more fun to do when the grownups could not stop talking when we were on our way to leave. ;-) And luckily the dog, Blanca, was a good friend to play with too.

Here below are some more pictures.

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Ny höjdare på Systembolaget

nadalSom jag har väntat, men idag släpps den äntligen! Systembolaget har blivit bättre även på cava när det kommer till beställningssortimentet på senaste tid, men i ordinarie sortiment har det fortfarande varit skralt med cavor som åtminstånde rör sig mot hundralappen. Detta har spätt på den bild som redan finns om att cava är billigt bubbel. Så ÄNTLIGEN kommer en Gran Reserva som kommer att nå fler genom det ordinarie srotimentet (dessvärre inte alla pga bolagets nya modell där butikerna styr mer själva).

Det är huset Nadal som kommer att värma våra hjärtan framöver i vintermörkret, med sin Brut Nature Gran Reserva från 2008. Och nej, den har ingenting med den kända tennisstjärnan att göra, men namnet gör den ganska lätt att komma ihåg.

Nadal brut nature 2008,  är gjord på parellada, xarel-lo och macabeu och är underbart krispig, med fin syra och välutveckalde aromer. Marsipan, nötter och kex från lagringen, som också ger en mjuk mousse som ligger fint i munnen. Frukt finns också kvar från druvorna, både äpple och pärontoner som ger fräschör.

Detta är helt enkelt en underbart prisvärd cava för bara 149:-. Helt sjukt faktiskt när man tänker på det. Den är ju faktiskt från 2008!

Så mitt tips är självfallet att du kollar om ditt närmaste systembolag har tagit in Nadal Brut Nature, för chansen är stor att de har de om du bor i en förhållandevis stor stad.

CIMG0032 Finca Nadal i vinterskrud vilket inte händer ofta.

Utdrag ut vår senaste bok "Barcelona & Penedés, upplev cava på plats" Can Nadal grundades på 1500-talet och sedan dess har vin odlats på gården som ligger nära Torrelavit. Ramón Nadal Giró som grundade företaget Nadal, planterade om samtliga vingårdar 1941 då dessa under general Franco och det spanska inbördeskriget hade jämnats med marken för att ge plats åt start- och landningsbanor. När man står i provningsrummet en trappa upp i huset och ser ut över de underbara vinrankorna är det svårt att tänka sig att det var här bombplanen startade för att flyga sina nattliga räder över Barcelona. tanken är svinlande. Nu syns ingenting av det förflutna, men folket här omkring har inte glömt och bär med sig det som hände deras släktningar.