Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Saturday, December 14, 2013

X mas at Spain

X mas is coming, and the supermarked is changing his selection. In spain is it used that the eat a lot of shellfish dishes  with the X- mas days with cava.  The supermarked are  offering this right now for reasonable prices.!  yes I am Happy, I love that stuff!

The carrefour supermarket a paradise for seafood lovers....

My sundag lunch, Rovellons ( forest mushrooms), artichoke,tuna,and Celebes.
  Percebes, is very different, the grow on the rocks of the atlantic ocean at Galicia.  The have been hand picked from those rocks. The smell of the Atlantic Ocean is still in it. After rinsing with water, you can cooked them with bay and parcel for 3 minutes. And than enjoy with albarino or cava as a starter/tapa.

Celebes in the sun with cava, nice  combination
The looked like dutch scrimps but  the taste is more meat like, with the taste of the Atlantic ,seaweed and walnut. Very special but be aware, when you opened these fresh cooked celebes, you can encounter the sea water in your face. ;)
very different, you should taste this.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Winter in Catalunya

The winter has started in Spain for us. Minus 3 deg C sunday morning.
foggy outside and the wood-fire is working inside.

car window  brrrr.

Mas Persones in the morning fog.

icewine next year?

But the weather says 14 deg C, so we have to wait a few hours and than in the sun (24 deg)!
 Yes that is Spain, country of contrast.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Mediterran Crisis

This article is not about the crisis in Spain, we just recover a little bit from this dip lately.
But About the mediterranean Sea crisis many millions years ago. 
I am not a earth scientific person,so you are reading this on your own risk!
But the reason why I put this on the blog is that; I find often fossil stones of sea shells  in the surroundings of our Finca Terra personas in the Comarca Priorat on a altitude of 700 meters!

fossils from the area.

A little googling and i find the reason: The mediterranean crisis.
A lot of years ago ( 6 million) the mediterranean sea  was cut of from the Atlantic ocean. And it dried out with a huge amount of sea salt left. A warm period at that time!  The have drilled in the past (around 1970)  and found 1000/1500 meters of salt layers under the mediterranean sea floor.
evaporation of the seawater from 1500 meters to zero.

In that time the sea level was much higher as it  now is. Otherwise i can not find those fossil stones at a attitude of at least 700 meters.
The time also changes and the Atlantic ocean become higher than the cut-off near Gibraltar.

So the mediterranean sea fill itself up. And the opening at gibraltar is a fact..

chalk layers in the ground at Terra Personas of old shelfs?

Saturday, November 30, 2013

olive harvest almost done........

Harvesting olives is hard work, everything has to be done by hand. We have 2 pneumatic cambs, which goes quicker, but also  damich the olive trees a little.
2 man arranging the  nets for collecting the olives, 2 man using the pneumatic  cambs, en I collecting the olives from the nets to put into the remolque ( trailer). At the end of the day we have with 5 man 1300 kg of olives, puff a lot of work. And the olives are small this year, otherwise we can have double the kg!
Maybe next year when we are lucky.

preparing the harvest of the olives in 2013

remolque full with fresh arbequina olives.
 The olives goes the same day to the mill, and processed total separate that night, centrifuged and stocked in the reserved Terra Personas Inox Tank.

a lot of work to arrange the nets, for these small olives.

one of our last tree, witch the crew of this year.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Olive Harvest started at Terra Personas

This week we have started with the olive harvest of our arbequina trees.

Nice small olives, smaller than other years due to the lack of rain, and more black in colour.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Spain is all or nothing!

Spain is all or nothing! The last 3 days it has been raining, we are on a low pressure area, that means often in this time of the year that it can rain. But nothing is sure, we are in a mountainousness area and in Falset, the "city"of the region of the Priorat it rains 50 % more than were we are 8 km to the other direction.

This year started as a good year for the rain, in the first months we were happy, enough rain for the olive-trees and vines. But the last rain was approx. in may. The period of may till mid November no rain at all. Everything was very very dry, the olive trees has water-stress.

Finally rain, to late for the olive harvest, we harvesting them tomorrow, but water for the vines and olive trees for the next growing year. It rains the last 3 days in a total of 180 mm!! A lot, to much in one time. That is Spain all or nothing!

A lot of damage on the road and the walls of the finca. Deep  furrow on the road up to my house, not possible to drive any more.  The river El Siurana is a very  fast flowing river now, I can hear the water moving over the big boulders in our house above the mountain.

Also 5 walls of our finca collapse, a lot of work to restore them.

Yes, I am happy, not for the extra work, and sit still for 3 days in our house next to the stove, but for the vines and olive trees that the have plenty of water and are ready again for the season 2014.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Autumn in Spain, beautiful colours.

Garnacha Negra in the morning sun, with the 0ver 100 years old masia, Mas De Panxo
 (Translated into:  Lord on the horse)

Carinena the small bunches, not suitable to make wines from it.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

no words

This week I was driving from La Figuera to El Molar, round 17.30. The last days are more colder and clear skies. And then when the day is almost finished the give the most beautiful pictures here in the Priorat.

I count 8 mountain raws on one view! No words, pure nature..

Saturday, November 2, 2013

3 Terroir: The grapes of Terra Personas

The third and last part Terroir of Terra Personas is about the grapes.
There is a lot of talk about terroir in the business. The do talk about nonsense or  to reality.
It is a a matter of approach I think.

In the Montsant you have a lot of differences in wines all made from Garnacha and  Carinena.
Altitude make more fresher, acid wines with less colour due to the colder temperatures.
Lower parts has a higher temperature so more colours and  polyphenols  and a higher pH.

The soils make a big difference, have you a lot of chalk or are you mainly based on sand or only on slate.
That give the grapes differences in complex, minerality etc.
Do you water the vines, or you let them regulate theme self, gives a big difference in there complexibility together with low yields.

And then the winemaking, are you steering to more complex structured wine what reflects the terroir or to a pleasant easy to drink wine type? And the coupage, Carinena is the proud of the Monsant, the best in Spain in my view ( on low yields and old grannies), gives extra character to the wines.
So what is Terroir and what isn't, that is just a matter of approach I think......it all comes from the lands!

microclimate at Terra Personas.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

2 Terroir: The climate of Terra Personas

The climate within the DO Montsant is influenced by the mountains. In the southern region it is also influenced by the Ebro river valley and by moist sea breezes.
The climate is Mediterranean with continental aspects which can rise to 35 deg C in the summer.

The mountains which partly protect the area from the sea breezes are responsible for the great contrast between day and night-time temperature during the final months of grape-ripening. These differences help to increase the level of polyphenols in the grapes which make more character to the wines.

Terra Personas is about 24 km removed from the mediterranean sea.

The average temperatures are around 15,5 Deg C. the average maximum temperatures are no more
than 22ºC. Winters tend to be cold and Summers hot and dry. Rainfall is between 450 and 550 mm a year which is unevenly distributed over the year. Rain falls mainly in autumn and spring. from the end of july the vines can have water stress. Which leads to more character, colour and texture to the grapes.

During the summer, the humid winds from the sea start to blow in the late afternoon. These winds bring much needed water during the dry months and leading up to grape ripening.

water on the grapes due to the differences in day and night temperatures, nice lose berries.

Monday, October 21, 2013

1 Terroir : The Soils of Terra Personas

different soil types and colours from our area!

We can basically identify three types of soil in the Montsant: 

- Panal: ( middle jar on the foto) Compact soils, limestone-based which show contact with river-bed sedimentation. A soil primarily composed of calcium carbonate and high in chalk or limestone.

A soft soil made primarily from fossilized seashells.

- Argilla, (3 jar on the left) red sandstone-based soils, with a high clay content which are to be found on the periphery of the wine appellation.

Arena, sandGravelly soils  ( not on the photo  looks like the last one on the right)made up of granitic sands which come from the erosion of

conglomerate rock formations. These can be found mainly in and around Falset. 
They have a low organic matter content and do not retain water very well.

 Llicorella ( 1 jar on the left) Stony soils,which are made up of silica slate. They have

very little organic matter.

 At Terra Personas we have the mix,  Loam, a crumble mixture of Panal, Arena, stones with a high content of chalk. This type of soil produces  fresh and floral wines with a right balance between the alcohol and acidity with abundant polyphenol. 

This type of soil  has a big moisture holding capacity, and that is a good thing,  because the vines have to help himself, because we  do not give extra water to them!

Soil type of Terra Personas, conglomerate ( concrete formed by nature!)

Soil type of Terra Personas, Lime soils with chalk layers.

Soil type of Terra Personas a mix of Panal and arena, with small or bigger stones in it

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

bubble bubble does the wines now!

Producing grapes is a lot of work. But only the beginning of a good wine! All the grapes are delivered to the bodega at the moment, we are ready in the vineyards. Some ploughing and the plants can have a break.

All those grapes are processed in the bodega, to specific standards for our Terra Personas wines. Small batches are all done by hand, and careful maintenance.  

The berrys get lose from the bunch, and transported to the temperature controlled tank for fermentation,and maceration.
Every grapes are separate fermented, different qualities to different batches. For the two red wines we produce. A part on inox and a part on barrels, to give the future a start..

Friday, October 11, 2013

Carinena from Terra Personas

Carinena,the proud grape of the Montsant
in this area it produce real quality!

With restricted yields of course and on old vines, Cariñena can excel. Producing structured wines with savoury, mineral flavours that faithfully reflect their terroirs. Old, low yielding Cariñena vines have been led a quality revolution over the last decade or so. Cariñena produces wines that can be astringent, long-lived and sturdy—ideal for adding backbone to fleshier, fruitier grapes such as  garnacha, with which it is often blended at Terra Personas.

As a wine, Carignan can be pretty tough too. The wine produced is typically high in rough tannins and acidity, so it takes some time to tame this variety.

Carignan adds characteristics such as body, color, fruitiness, and length. As it matures Carignan becomes softer and loses its astringency.  Our favorite for the red wines. 
The carinena planted in 1972 goes in our crianca wines the Terre Negra, and than aged on french wood for 9 months, a real surprise of complexity and taste. 
Terroir of the Montsant.

Carinena planted in 2001 on cordon T formation for the Terra Vermella red wines

Carinena a Vaso 1972 planted  for the Terra Negra wines.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Repairing the stone walls.

Finally last  thursday and friday it have rained a little. We desperate need some water for the olives. It is very dry and our olives have to gain weight before the harvest of 15 november. But we do need more water to have a (excellent) good olive year.
Due to all that ( heavy ) rains the walls that holds our 45 terrasses together collapse some times. All these walls are handmade by our predecessors, those old Spanish farmers with enough time and skills to build these walls with there donkeys.
These walls is part of the culture heritage of this area, and  a pity when you do not restore these walls. 
(called Marges in Catalan)
Before restoration

After restoration
It is a lot of work, to repair these walls, 1,5  days for this piece! But very satisfactory to see the result. The big boulders first on the ground and staking up with smaller rocks up to the end. Meanwhile fill up with small stones and sand between the stones and the wall. And everything has to do in a certain angle otherwise we can do this again next year. 
Tomorrow we check the maturation of our last  grapes; Carinena and cabernet sauvignon, to be harvest in 10 days i think.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Garnacha grapes from Terra Personas

This week is the harvest of the Garnaxa grapes started. Garnatxa Negra  the Catalan name for Garnacha red. One of the indigenous races of the DO Montsant region with a share of 32%, the largest red variety. This year 14 days later than normal.
After the winter he comes to life in the spring a little later than the white grapes and the red Sira grapes. And matures on average around the end of September for harvesting.

It is a strong growing plant and productive. Is  drought resistant.
The wine from this grape can contain a lot of alcohol, giving a deep red color, aromas of ripe fruit, blackberry and pepper with average acids.
This species is at Terra Personas on the R-110 rootstock. 
The American rootstock R-110 is strong, can withstand drought and reasonably well against calcareous soils. Hates too much water, but we do not have this unfortunately over here.
 About 500 mm of rain per year is the maximum.

Garnatxa planted in 2008
colouring end of july in beautiful pastel colors.
 Garnatxa on the finca of Terra Personas.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Sira Grapes of Terra Personas

Today we harvest the sira, +10 days later than normal, but in good health, and taste. Full grape bunches full of fruitiness and flavors...........

Sira the Catalan name for Syrah. Only 8% is harvested  annually from the red grape varieties from the DO Montsant . But a rising star.For me one of the most interesting grapes. Because he has that delicious fruit, and is ideal to assemble with other varieties which we have. Such as Carinena and garnacha.

Sira leaves
After the winter he comes  out of his sleep early in the spring mid march. But he matures early. Harvested first week of september. The shoots are long, you have to control them and cut them back. Otherwise you can get shoots of a few meters long!  Therefore, you need  more wires to hold the long shoots from the hard winds now and than, otherwise the can break. He or she is a wild grower.

This grape is on a different rootstock  41B. because sira is susceptible to lime (chlorosis). And we have a lot of lime in the soil. But with the combination of this rootstock, he must do. 
rootstock 41 B
The wines of this grape has  a good alcohol %, with an intense color, and has a lot of flavors as; violets, leather, tobacco, licorice, spices, black pepper, strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, plum, clove, chocolate, truffle. In short, you understand why this wine is one of my favorites. But not easy to make.....he or she is a bit cocky.

Sira grapes planted in 2008

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Gold with the Terra Vermella 2012!

This year we have received a Gold medal for  our Terra Vermella 2012!
We are very happy with this result, and that prove again that we are on the right track.
Last  year our Terra Negra 2009  has double gold in this prestige contest for the marked of China.

Gold for the Terra Vermella

 5,375 entries from 35 countries, it was the the biggest and most prestigious beverage competition discovered their suitability for the Chinese market. The judging panel was chosen exclusively including the most influential Distributors, Importers, Hoteliers and Sommeliers during CWSA Tasting Week in Hong Kong, China

Award winning wines from Terra Personas