Monday, 24 August 2015

The Eight Costa Brava Dispatch - A Visit To Castillo de Perelada

This was the only producer visit I got around to during your weeks in Costa Brava. And it also was the only producer from which I had tasted any wines before our vacation.
Some years ago, their Ex Ex 7 really impressed me. Nearer in time I also tasted their 2010 Finca Malaveïna.

So it was with great expectations that I arrived at Castillo di Perelada´s tasting room and shop. I was met by Lidia Perpiña from the estate. We first sat out to get a glimpse of their vineyards, and we visited Finca Malaveïna. Lidia was a really gracious host and answered all my silly questions. :-)
Pereleda owns 150 ha and buy grapes from another 150 ha. That makes them the, by far, largest producer in Empordà, which only has 1.800 ha under the DO.
The vineyards are marked by the Tramontana wind that descends from the mountains and can hit the vineyards at up to 175 km/h. All info about the estate and its wine, here.

Back at the estate we then visited the cellar. A vast cellar containing 4000 barrels - my kind of view! :-)

We then headed to the tasting room and I had the opportunity to taste the following wines. And Lidia was ever so kind to let me bring with me the opened wine bottles to taste them with some more air at our apartment. The only bottle of their finer wines I didnt´t got to taste was their Finca Garbet. It is their "Premier Cru", made of 100% Syrah and cost at their shop a hefty 93 Euro. Of course I bought one! It is of vintage 2006 - will be opening it soon...
Kudos to Lidia and the estate for a great visit!

2011 Riserva Gran Claustro Brut Nature
They have been making this cuvée since 1959, when USA President Dwight Eisenhower visited Spain, and Castillo de Perelada was chosen to deliver the Cava needed.
It is almost a Champagne cuvee with its majority of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, that makes up about 85% of the blend. The rest is the indigenous grapes - Xarel-lo, Macabeu and Parellada.
The nose is pure and fresh with notes of green apples, summer flowers, jasmine and some smoky scents. Very good. On the light side but with a good intensity.
The taste is young and tight with a fine acidity and notes of red and green apples, minerals, grass and dried flowers. A medium long finish with a dry ending. Very, very good.
88p   (tasted 2015/07)

2010 Finca Espolla
They make three vineyard designated wines, this and the Malaveïna below and then La Garriga, that I tasted at our apartment, see further below. The Finca Espolla is a 21 ha big vineyard and the blend is (for this vintage) 31% Monastrell, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Syrah and 19% Garnatxa.
The nose is big and open with a wonderful eucalyptus note that hits you immediately. Lidia explains that this is typical trait in the Finca Espolla. It also displays notes of pine resin, black fruits, vegetable stock and earth. A bit of a peculiar nose, but I like it!
The taste is young and tight with notes of black cherries, undergrowth, herbs and eucalyptus, even though it is on a smaller scale than on the nose. The finish is long, warm and very good. Would love to see how this develop. A fine wine.
91p   (tasted 2015/07)

2011 Finca Malaveïna
I had tasted the 2010 before, see above, but this was the newest vintage released. I would say that the vintages doesn´t differ much. The nose is a little bit softer on the 2011, but the plums, chocolate and earthy notes are there. The taste is also pretty much in align with the 2010. A good wine, but I prefer the two other vineyards bottlings.
87p   (tasted 2015/07)

2009 Gran Claustro
Next up was the Gran Claustro, a cuvée from selected handpicked grapes. The first vintage was the 1993. The blend for the 2009 is 50% Garnatxa, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot.
The nose is deep and concentrated with gorgeous notes of ripe black currants, plums, red wine marinade and dark chocolate. Very intense and focused. Still young. Very impressive.
The taste is taut and dense with boatloads of ripe black currants and plums alongside some dark chocolate, warm herbs and liquorice. A long, long finish that displays some strong yet velvety tannins. Great wine, that has a long way to go.
94p   (tasted 2015/07)

2011 Ex Ex 10
Ex Ex stands for Exceptional Experiences. Each years, since 1998, they have produced a wine from a special experimental vineyard plot. The Ex Ex 10 is 100% Cabernet Franc and only 1.960 bottles are released.
The nose is deep but muted. After some vigorous swirling you can get notes of red and black currants, warm grass, ink, dried flowers and hot earth. This needs time. It has a elegant character to it. Very, very promising.
The taste is young, tight and structured with notes of red and black currants, green peppers, scorched earth and asphalt. The finish is counted in minutes and there are some forceful tannins here. This will need at least 5+ years in the cellar, proably more.
93p   (tasted 2015/07)

After the visit I really got warmed up to the wines from Castillo de Perelada. I managed to taste these wines from their portfolio during the following weeks in Costa Brava.

The 2010 Finca La Garriga I actually tasted before my visit. And this was the vineyard I liked best, so I got hold of two older vintages.

2006 Finca La Garriga
Finca La Garriga is a 41 ha estate that has Perelada´s oldest vines, more than 50 years old Samsò vines. The 2006 displays a deep, warm, meaty nose with additional notes of dark violets, forest floor, asphalt and mixed lingon- and blueberries. Velvety. Some maturity. Very, very good.
The taste is somewhat mature with notes of ripe blackberries, warm tiles, asphalt and moist undergrowth. A long, warm, caressing finish. This is good, very, very good.
93p   (tasted 2015/07)

2005 Finca La Garriga
The one year older La Garriga shows of a big, inviting nose with notes of plums, Christmas spices, violets, cigarr smoke and asphalt. Very, very good, although a bit looser around the edges than the 06 and 10.
The taste is warm and tight with notes of plums, smoke, cigarette ashes and forest floor. The finish is long and there are still some unresolved tannins. A very good dry ending. A touch more angular than the two other vintages, but a very good wine. Gonna get me some more vintages of La Garriga!
90p   (tasted 2015/07)

2013 Finca La Garriga Blanco
The white La Garriga is a blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% white Samsò, and has an attractive , buttery nose with notes of hazelnuts, yellow apples, vanilla ice cream and smoke. Very good. A fine creaminess.
The taste is young and upfront with notes of ripe melon, yellow apples, buttercup flowers and smoke. A long finish with a good acidity. Easy to like, easy to drink, yet with a fine depth and concentration.
89p   (tasted 2015/07)

2010 5 Fincas
This is a blend of grapes from all 5 vineyards that Perelada owns, from younger vines and grapes that doesn´t get into the single vineyard wines. The 2010 consists of 39% Garnatxa, 26% Merlot, 26% Syrah and 9% Cabernet Sauvignon. The nose is open, soft and spicy with notes of violets, dark berries, warm tiles and some bonfire aromas. Good. Medium deep.
The taste is medium bodied, soft and accessible with notes of spicy black cherries, violets, dusty earth and some leather. Very gulpable, yet it has a good concentration and a fine firmness in the fnish. For the 9 Euro it cost in Spain, this is a bargain.
86p   (tasted 2015/07)

NV Cava Brut Reserva
Cava is big in Spain, you find them in oodles, even in the tiniest Supermercato. Perelada makes 15 different Cava´s! The Gran Claustro above is regarded as their best, but I was curious to try their modest line, so I bought this one and the Rosé below to test drive when I got home.
The Brut Reserva is made out of 40% Macabeu, 30% Xarel-lo and 30% Parellada. Its nose is young and fresh with notes of just ripening yellow apples, lemon peel, dry herbs and gravel. A bit light, but pleasant enough.
The taste is cool and dry with notes of inmature red apples, model clay, lemon peel and dusty earth. A medium long finish with a decent acidity, although the fruit sensation fades quickly. An ok bottle of bubbly, but nothing I would return to.
82p   (tasted 2015/07)

NV Cava Brut Rose
But this I would love to have some bottles of at home, when my stock of Cristal Rosé runs out...
Joking aside, this has an attractive nose with notes of lingonberries, dried raspberries, raspberry vinegar, minerals and herbs. It has a fine sweet/sour scent in regards to the red fruit. Salivating.
The taste is medium bodied, dry and with a good acidity, that pairs well with the notes of lingonberries, raspberry candy, minerals and balsa wood. Very good and very gulpable. Made out of 74% Carnatxa, 18% Pinot Noir and 7% Trepat.
86p   (tasted 2015/07)

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