Mas Blanch i Jové’s Vinya dels Artistes
A couple of weekends ago we were fortunate to be guests to the 3rd annual “Vinya dels Artistes” event put on by the winery, Mas Blanch i Jové in DO Costers del Segre of Catalonia. While simply making good wine would be a fine pursuit for a winery, a few years ago the family behind MBJ decided to heavily incorporate large scale works of art in to both their vineyards and their cellar. Apparently it all started with a large mural well-known Catalan painter and friend of the family, Josep Guinovart. Since then their collection has been growing with other impressive works such as a fishing boat hanging from an olive tree by Carlos Santos or this fascinating sculpture above, “La Llum Planant damunt la Terra” (“Light hovering above earth”) by Esteve Casanoves:
As they add more and more art to the collection, they have a celebration each year for a couple of hundred people who walk about and see the art from past years, get a taste of their Saó, see some performances (like an acrobat hanging off the glass cages above), and finally, the unveiling of the featured work of that year.
We’ve seen a lot of wineries in our lifetime, but this is without a doubt one of the most impressive events that we’ve ever been. As we walked around to three different live performances that were excellently done, we sipped on their latest vintages while the sun set behind the hills of the vineyards around the small village of La Pobla de Cérvoles. And of course it was fun to bump in to all the people we know in the wine circles of Catalonia who made sure not to miss this unforgettable event.
This year’s unveiling was a work inspired by a ‘visual poem’ by Joan Brossa, a beloved multidisciplinary artist known for his sculptural typography. His “Cap de Bou” or “ox head” which is seen above as this massive inverted A now hovering over the vineyards, reminiscent of the horns of an ox that symbolizes agricultural labor.
Many thanks to Patrick of Coca Webb for inviting us as his guests to this memorable evening.
Ancestral Wine Cellar - Khikhvi 2014 95
First harvest of Khikhvi. Light apricot notes, peach skin, lemon peel. Citric in the mouth, fresh, lively acidity, vibrant. Very holistic, full and deliciously good.
100% Khikhvi · 12% · 30GEL
Petriaant Marani - Khikhvi 2015 94
Bruised red apple, touch of lemon peel, limestone minerality, and some white pepper notes at the back of it. High acidity and full in the mouth. Luscious, involving, elegant wine.
100% Khikhvi · 14% · 25GEL
Domaine of the Bee - Cuvée 2015 93
Ruby with minor garnet rim. Rich red fruits with an underpinning of ripe plum, orange peel, licorice, cocoa. Broad, round tannins with a touch of toast and sweet cocoa in a long finish. Manages to stay very light on the palate despite the higher alcohol.
50% Grenache 50% Carignan · 15% · 25EUR
Tchotiashvili - Khikhvi 2014 93
Apricot, yellow peach, orange peel, and a touch of honey. Quite complex aromatically. Orchard fruit much more prevalent in the mouth with young apricot notes. Rich and elegant, touch of astringency in the finish.
100% Khikhvi · 13.1% · 28GEL
Domaine Augustin - Adéodat Blanc 2016 93
Lemon and white peach, strong kick of salinity, and toasted notes. Very fleshy and full on the palate, peach notes more prominent as well as Meyer lemon, medium plus acidity and a lengthy finish.
100% Grenache Gris · 14.5% · 20EUR
AA Badenhorst - Secateurs Red Blend 2012 93
Forest bramble with ripe red fruit, touches of cherry, ripe red plum, tiny bit of prune, cumin, anise, black licorice, wet cement mineral note, underlying fig jam. Crisp medium plus acidity, medium tannins, medium plus length, medium alcohol, overall medium plus body that’s ripe and lively but super fresh and balanced at the same time. Bit of rugged wildness to it but doesn’t get out of hand. Easy to drink but with just enough underlying complexity so that it stays interesting.
56% Syrah 27% Cinsaut 6% Grenache 4% Cabernet Sauvignon 7% "Others" · 13.5% · 12EUR
Domaine Treloar - Motus 2015 93
Dark ruby, minor rim. Big, mighty bouquet of red cherry and other brambly forest fruit, vanilla, almond blossom, orange peel, and cocoa. Rich and full on the palate with a wealth of tannins still integrating, leading into a crunchy, lingering finish.
80% Mourvèdre 10% Syrah 10% Grenache · 14% · 14EUR
Clos Henri - Petit Clos Pinot Noir 2016 92
Earthy, red cherries, young, crisp cranberry, light herbal notes, leafy, minor chalk. Medium tannins and medium plus acidity as well as length. Light sweetness on the palate but with a very pleasant, lingering structure and lightness to it.
100% Pinot Noir · 13.5% · 16.50EUR
Domaine Augustin - Adéodat Rouge 2015 92
Medium ruby. Fresh red cherry, raspberry, and young strawberry, lifted and breathy, saline tinge along with light stoniness and rosemary and garrigue. Fresh red fruit on the palate, medium acidity but still light on the palate, fresh, and while the alcohol sticks out a little, holds and excellent, long finish.
Grenache Carignan Mourvèdre · 14.5% · 20EUR
Domaine Fontanel - Prieuré 2014 92
Dense ruby with brick flecks. Crisp red fruits, lifted by a waft of volatility making for a light nose with a spicy licorice and leather component. Crisp and lively with red cherry fruit in the mouth and a nudge over medium acidity. Nice, lingering finish.
50% Syrah 25% Grenache 25% Mourvèdre · 14.5%