On agenda for the third day was Terra Alta. We had breakfast in the hotel and then we went with bus to Batea that is a small village in Terra Alta. The distance was something like 55 km and it took approximately about one hour to reach the village from Gratallops.
The producer that we were going to visit was Celler Pinõl.
This is a family run cellar located in Batea producing fine wines under classification DO Terra Alta. They have reached very good ratings during the last years from both Jancis Robinson and Robert Parker’s wine advocate. Their wines have also been selected among the best in several wine magazines. They are working mainly with local grapes as white Grenache, red Grenache, Carignan and Morenillo.
When we arrived to Batea we met Juanjo who is the owner. We met also their winemaker Maria, their communication specialist Sheila, Juanjo’s mother. Surprisingly we met also Sanna who had arrived from Finland the day before.
We went back to the bus and drove out of the village to their vineyards that are located just in the outskirts. There we could see several old vines, some of them were 40-50 years, but some of them almost 80 years old. After doing some own tasting I go the feeling that the white Grenache grapes were already ready to be harvested. Earlier I have not been in vineyards at this time of the year and as I had already tasted some grapes yesterday it is nice to taste and find out that there are quite big differences in the grapes. All grapes were of course not mature and as this have quite a big impact in the sugar content it is not so easy to taste the difference, but I would at least say that I could feel some difference between different grapes.
After visiting the vineyards we came back to the village and went inside to their winery. There they told us about the process, how they do the fermentation and also about the history. After that we got the possibility to taste some juice. The first sample was from the tank where the fermentation was just about to start. They had added the yeast the day before and the fermentation had hardly started. For me it was the first time to taste wine juice and I must admit it tasted quite good, but it was very sweet what was of course to be expected. The second sample was from a tank where the fermentation had started about one week earlier. This tasted already some alcohol, but also a lot of yeast. It was anyhow completely different than the first one.
After the tasting from the tanks it was finally time for the real tasting that everybody had been waiting for. We moved down to their warehouse where they age the wines in bottles and where they keep the wine that is ready.
This was, however, not a normal warehouse as they also had a long table where we were going to have the tasting. Looking at the amount of bottles and the list we got in front of us it was obvious that we had a lot of wines to taste. In total we were going to taste 12 different wines! Here will now follow the complete list including some basic information and also some notes that I have made from the tasting.
Raig de Raïm 2013 (White)
This wine is made from 80% Garnacha and 20% Macabeo. The age of the vineyard is 10-25 years. The alcohol content is 13%. This wine is best to drink before 2016.
Tasting notes: Light yellow color, fruity and aromatic. You can feel apple and pear in the wine. It is very well balanced and easy to drink. It would be good to drink this together with seafood and fish.
Portal 2013 (White)
This wine is made from 85% Garnacha and 15% Sauvignon Blanc. The age of the vineyard is 25-35 years. The alcohol content is 13.5%. This wine is best to drink before 2016.
Tasting notes: Yellow color, fruity and aromatic. You can feel some tropical fruit like pineapple, banana and pear. It is very well balanced and easy to drink. It would be good to drink this together with different seafood, but perhaps also in combination with some pasta made from seafood. You can clearly taste that includes Sauvignon Blanc. It is quite easy to drink and it is a good wine. This shows very high quality and it leaves quite a long taste in the mouth.
LÁvi Arrufi 2011 (White)
This wine is made from 100% Garnacha. The age of the vineyard is 55 years. The alcohol content is 14.5%. This wine is best to drink before 2019.
Tasting notes: Golden yellow color. You can feel fruits like peach, apricot and also some spices. It is a quite complex white wine that can be enjoyed with some seafood, but also with some fish that contains more fat for example with salmon. It leaves a long taste in the mouth and it is a very good wine. It develops a lot in the glass and after a while you can taste even more exotic fruits. This wine has got 92 points from Robert Parker.
This wine is made from 75% Garnacha and 25% Syrah. The age of the vineyard is 35 years. The alcohol content is 14%. This wine is best to drink before 2016.
Tasting notes: For a Rosé this has quite dark color. It includes a lot of red berries for example strawberry. This wine can enjoyed as an aperitif or it will also work well together with food especially in the summer. This is the kind of Rosé that I would like to buy from the Monopole store Alko in Finland, but unfortunately it is not possible to get Rosés showing as high quality as this in Finland.
Raig de Raïm 2012 (Red)
This wine is made from 60% Garnacha, 15% Carignan, 15% Syrah and 10% Merlot. The age of the vineyard is 10-20 years. The alcohol content is 14%. This wine is best to drink before 2018.
Tasting notes: Full red color with hints of blue. You can taste red berries, herbs but also hints of oak. It is still quite young and has quite tannin content. This wine has got 90 points from Robert Parker and it is a very delicious wine.
Portal 2011 (Red)
This wine is made from 60% Garnacha, 15% Carignan, 15% Syrah and 10% Merlot. The age of the vineyard is 25-35 years. The alcohol content is 14%. This wine is best to drink before 2018.
Tasting notes: This wine has quite dark red color with some hints of blue. You can feel different fruits like plum, but also some red berries. It includes hints of oak and is still quite young. This wine has a clear ageing potential and is still very fresh. This wine has got 91 points from Robert Parker. This wine will work very well together with food like meat, but also with different cheeses. Overall this is already now a very good wine.
Sa Natura Organic 2011 (Red)
This wine is made from 40% Carignan, 20% Grancaha, 20% Merlot, 10% Syrah and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. The age of the vineyard is 20-45 years. The alcohol content is 14%. This wine is best to drink before 2019.
Tasting notes: This wine has a dark red color, almost black. It is quite fruity and includes red berries. It has quite high tannin content and leaves a long taste in the mouth. This wine has got 90 points from Robert Parker. This is a fully organic wine.
LÁvi Arrufi 2008 (Red)
This wine is made from 60% Carignan, 30% Granacha and 10% Syrah. The age of the vineyard is 30-50 years. The alcohol content is 14.5%. This wine is best to drink before 2020.
Tasting notes: This wines shows very dark red color with hints of brown. It is fully bodied and very complex. You can feel leather, coffee, oak and some spices. This wine will work very well with different kind of meat, but also with cheese. It leaves a very long taste in the mouth. This wine has got 92 points from Robert Parker. I liked this wine very much, but I would still leave it the cellar for 2-3 years.
Mather Teresina 2008 (Red)
This wine is made from the best grapes from 50% Garnacha, 30% Carignan and 20% Morenillo. The age of the vineyard is 35-75 years. The alcohol content is 14.85%. This wine is best to drink before 2020.
Tasting notes: This wine is their premiere wine with a production of only 7 750 bottles. It has a very dark red color that is almost black. It is complex, aromatic, spicy and has rounded tannins. This wine leaves very long taste in the mouth. This wine has got 92 points from Robert Parker. This is a very good wine and I like it very very much.
Finca Morenillo 2011 (Red)
This wine is made from 100% Morenillo. It is a local grapes that can be found only in this area and the total area is only 100 hectares. The age of the vineyard is 75 years. The alcohol content is 14.5%. This wine is best to drink before 2020.
Tasting notes: This wine has a very dark red color with some hints of blue. You can feel red berries like strawberry and raspberry. This wine has been produced in a limited quantity of only 3 200 bottles. This wine has got 94 points from Robert Parker. This wine will age very well and this was like Mater Teresina a very good wine that I also enjoyed a lot. The tannin content is quite high.
The last two wines we tasted were Josefina Piñol Sweet Red 2011 and Josefina Piñol Sweet White 2012. Both are made of really old Garnacha vines. The age of the vineyards is about 80-85 years. Both were very good and will work very well together with different kinds of desserts.
Based on the descriptions above it is clear that the Celler Piñol makes very good wines. Already the entry level wines were very good and it became better all the time. My personal opinion is that these were among the best wines that we tasted during our whole trip to Catalonia. I take also the opportunity to thank Juanjo, Sheila, Maria and Juanjo’s mother for their great hospitality they showed us and for the opportunity to arrange such a nice tasting for us. Everything was arranged in a very nice way and this is something I remember for a long time and I do hope that I will have the possibility to visit them once again.
After the tasting we moved to a local restaurant where we could enjoy some good food and also good wine. We were told that we were going to eat to the gasoline station. The restaurant was in fact located next to the gasoline station, but for us from Finland this was something completely different than thinking about food from a restaurant next to the gasoline station. In Finland we have some certain chain restaurants that make the food at gasoline stations. The price in Finland is usually quite low, but that is also the taste and the quality. Usually the food does not taste very good and the only service you get is what you will do yourselves. In this case it was completely different and we got very good food and it was also very nice as we got the possibility to talk to the people from the winery. From my side I want to say my thanks especially to Sheila and Maria.
After the lunch we went back to the hotel for about 10 minutes and then we drove to the place we were going to prepare and have dinner. I will only post some pictures of the food and wine because in other case nobody will be able to read the whole story as it will be too long.
The third day had come to its end and during the next day we were going to Penedes. More information will follow soon.