Winery Of The Month: Cérvoles, Spain
To be fully appreciated, some projects require a perspective that only comes with time. One such project is Spain’s Cérvoles Celler, the first ever instance of mountain viticulture in Catalonia, and a beacon for quality Spanish single estate wines. And yes, it’s also our October’s Winery of the Month.
Cérvoles Celler is a venture first undertaken by Tomàs Cusiné 20 years ago in order to pay homage to ancestral wine-making land, reclaiming a practice that, at that time, didn’t attract much interest in the world of wine: mountain viticulture. The Urgell plains, which was acquired by his family in 1982, as well as the vineyards at La Pobla de Cérvoles represented an unbeatable opportunity to rethink his work as a winemaker. So it was that, in 1997, Cérvoles Celler was created. The winery is designed to produce high-quality single estate wines, which expresses clearly the territory where they are grown.
The Vineyard & Terroir
The conditions offered by Cérvoles fuelled Cusiné’s dream: a unique estate in the area of Les Garrigues, nestling in the foothills, with different areas and a stony chalk soil; vines that offer very low yields but of great quality, providing grapes brimming with colour, strength and structure and a unique, special aromatic character. The vineyards of Cérvoles Celler occupy around 55 hectares and are divided into twelve plots with vines mostly of Garnacha Tinta, Tempranillo, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Macabeu and Chardonnay, planted between 1970 and 1989.
The different plots that make up the estate have a range of inclines and hours of sunlight, enjoying very mild weather in spite of the zone’s harsh climate thanks to the influence of the dry winds from the west in the morning and the more humid winds from the sea in the afternoon, refreshing the atmosphere and increasing the difference between night and day temperatures.
Such favourable circumstances allow Cérvoles Celler to carry out ecological farming, using organic principles that encourage natural processes and biological interaction in order to optimise and conserve the land’s agricultural resources. With this system, the soil’s nutrients are constantly “recycled”, ensuring good results and sustainable agriculture.
The Cervoles Cellar
Equipped with the latest oenological technology, the Cérvoles Celler winery has a bespoke design that takes into account the size and yields of the different plots of vines so that the grapes from a single variety and specific plot are fermented separately in different tanks. The system used to transfer the harvested grapes is particularly important, these being loaded via the bottom of the tanks to protect the fruit more effectively, among other reasons because this prevents lacerations in the grapeskins.
The winery has used different types of slow-growing oak for its assortment of barrels, specially roasted and using coopers which can supply casks that contribute to the nuances and character deemed appropriate by Cérvoles to preserve the balance and complexity of its wines; in other words, the characteristic bouquet of this company’s wines. The winery currently has 300 casks, mostly new although some are in their second or third year of use, all made from French oak.
Straw-yellow in colour with metallic and golden glints, crystal-clear with dense legs. Intense and complex aromas, displaying subtle notes from the cask ageing: spices (nutmeg and vanilla), toasted and smoky notes, hints of tropical fruit (ripe pineapple). Aeration reveals aromas of the ageing on lees (yeast), biscuity hints and white-fleshed fruit (apple). Voluptuous mouth-feel, fleshy on the palate, with well-integrated tannins adding volume together with acidity adding freshness. Very long, harmonious finish, with hints of Jijona turrón (a type of almond nougat) and a touch of citrus peel.
The Estrats come in a medium cherry red with garnet highlights. Abundant, dense legs, and pleasant aromas of over-ripened fruit with hints of wood, particularly smoked and balsamic notes. Aeration reveals predominantly mineral aromas, with hints of aromatic herbs, such as fennel, thyme and rock tea, as well as dried fruits and chocolate. Sweet, unctuous mouthfeel, with a great deal of volume, followed by well-balanced acidity and mature tannins. Very long finish with notes of nougat and wild fruits.
Straw-yellow with metallic glints and appreciable legs, you will get aromas of tropical fruit, pineapple and white peach, together with white-fleshed fruit and melon. Aeration reveals a hint of yeast from the ageing on lees, as well as notes of hay and hints of citrus. Look forward to a sweet, voluptuous mouth-feel that’s unctuous on the palate, with acidity adding freshness. Very long, balanced finish with hints of acidic fruit such as green apple.
Coloured dark cherry red with garnet tones, this wine has viscous legs and an intense, pleasant nose with hints of the ageing process predominating (smoky notes and liquorice), as well as notes of red fruit (candied cherries) and black fruit preserve. Aeration reveals hints of spice such as red pepper and balsamic notes, alongside aromas of dried flowers. Very attractive mouthfeel, good volume, noticeable but very well-integrated tannins. Long, fresh finish with lactic notes.
This young wine represents Cervoles Celler’s new bet for verticality and purity – no makeup, no masks, just fruit in its utmost expression. A large French oak “Tonneau” of 4.000L slightly shapes its evocative and captivating character. Partially vinified with its whole cluster, strawberries, blackcurrant and blackberry, and citrus jellybeans cover the whole spectrum of this wine, honouring this indigenous grape variety thanks to the singularity of Cervoles and its mountain viticulture.