A most surreal harvest at Mas Anglada

For those who haven’t met Luis Conde, you can probably get a better idea of who he is by reading an article about him and his company in Forbes Spain or one of the many other articles about him that have appeared in the Spanish press. We met him last year while researching our Empordà wine guide and found him to be one of the most disarmingly charming and down-to-earth people we’d ever met. While he conducts daily business at his meticulously preserved 19th century offices next door to Gaudí’s Casa Milà off of Passeig de Gràcia, he spends his weekends in his absolutely stunning 17th century masia in Fonteta (Baix Empordà) called, Mas Anglada. It’s an immaculate setting with groomed lawns that could almost look like English, well-tended olive trees, a swimming pool, a private chapel, and just about every tree you can think of nicely set about the property. After buying it a few years ago and beautifully restoring it in 2006, he decided to plant a couple of hectares of vineyards and build a winery next to the old stone masia as he is a grand lover of wine. The tennis court and soccer field next to the vineyards came some time after.

Photo by VinologueNow, after the experience of several vintages under his belt, he’s decided to start selling these wines that he had been simply giving to friends up until now for, as he puts it, “marketing”. During the harvest he likes to invite various friends to pick up some grapes and taste his wines. Unfortunately we couldn’t make it last year as we were ensconced in Priorat working on that guide, but this year we attended because we’re not stupid twice. Admittedly it wasn’t so much of the down and dirty full harvest you typically expect as it the guests just picked the Merlot grapes from a couple of lines of vines that will be used in his unusual Rosadito rosé wine, all with the ambiance of an actual string quartet playing classical music–yes, seriously. The program for the day continued with a tasting of Mas Anglada’s wines along with some fantastic food (he has a chef formerly from a Michelin starred restaurant on call at the masia), and mingling with everyone else who came out for the day.

Photo by VinologueWe already knew Luis had important friends, but among the guests were the former president of the Madrid region and former Spanish Minister of Culture & Education, Esperanza Aguirre, the current mayor of Barcelona, Xavier Trias, and the chef/co-owner of “#1 Restaurant in the World”, Celler de Can Roca, Joan Roca. There were other politicians and chefs we knew and undoubtedly many others important people we didn’t know including various businessmen and wine distributors, but it was seriously unlike any other harvest we’d ever been to and we have to hand it to Luis for putting on one hell of a party in the vineyard.