A while back I was lucky to be included on an informal tour of various vineyards across a broad swathe of northern
, from Rueda in the west to a Cava producer just outside Spain in the east. It was a fascinating trip providing many insights into the workings of some particularly attractive estates. Barcelona
On the long run west from the wilds of Campo de Borja to
for our final visit before heading for the airport we passed hundreds of scattered wind farms, sentinels of modern technology ranked over ancient hilltops. Some of them were even turning. It gladdened the heart, as we hummed over the newish motorway in sparse traffic, to know that my own personal kick into the European kitty had been wisely spent. Barcelona
We were running late. Hot and conscious of holding the estate’s working day up we nonetheless were welcomed royally by the irrepressible Jordi Casanovas, his sales director Carmen and Angel, a PR lady and were ushered straight into lunch. Jordi quickly revealed himself to be quite a character who seems to run the estate as a benign dictatorship. He is a very knowledgeable man, humorous and with a jolly twinkle but when he coughs others jump.
The grapes for his wines come from 60 beautiful hectares of rolling vineyards which, we saw on a post prandial leg-stretch, were punctuated with streams and patches of woodland. While still table wines, red and white, are an increasingly valued part of the estate’s output, Cava is the mainstay of the business. The vines for Cava are unfamiliar to
ears, even if Cava itself is not, with Macabeo, Xarel-lo and Parallada being the traditional varieties. Jordi grows wheat between the rows which is cut at about half a metre high forming a straw mulch that reduces evaporation in the heat and prevents soil loss in the event of hard rain. It also suppresses weeds and encourages the roots of the vines to grow downward to look for nutriments. UK
|Carmen and Angel
|The cellars at Mas Macia
If this rings bells with you, ignore the ads for cut price Cava which are already appearing on telly for the Christmas market and give the real thing a try; spend a little more and drink much, much better. Perhaps the difference is nicely summarised by Jordi’s final sentence as we made our farewells, “ Remember, this is a family business, not a wine factory.”
Certainly not a wine factory.
Buy Mas Macia Brut Nature here.