Documenting the journeys from 2015 on Instagram has been a fun experience. I’ve enjoyed sharing snapshots from around Catalunya and the vineyards visited with a variety of bloggers, wine people, and others who’ve joined me.
So what were the Top 9 most popular photos of the year from our Instagram account? What were the stories behind each photo? You can check out all the photos I’ve taken, with my iPhone 6 only, at @catalunyawine here: http://instagram.com/catalunyawine
Terra Remota and the “Grapes of Catalunya”
I was filming for the documentary at Terra Remota during harvest in August. On this day, the winery was harvesting their Tempranillo. This bunch of grapes was sitting on top of the end post of one rows of vines, and I thought it would make a pretty cool photo. Turns out that one of the staff who was operating the tractor put it there to mark which row he had to go down in order to pick up the harvested grapes.
Lunch at Clos Figueras
I make no secret how much I love lunches at Clos Figueras. It’s one of the rare places in Catalunya which not only has top rated wines, an amazing dining experience, and top rooms to stay overnight. The staff, led by the fantastic general manager Miquel Compte, are a joy to visit. From two amazing chefs in the kitchen using only locally sourced products, to a winery which is housed in a building that used to be a chicken coop, to owners Christopher Cannan and his daughter Anne who have a panache for making wines, it’s one of my favourite places in Priorat, if not Catalunya.
The medieval town of Peratellada
Where else can you find a medieval town dating back to the 11th century, featuring a castle built in 1065, and a 13th century Romanesque church? It’s rare to find such a well-preserved medieval village anywhere in Europe, and after spending the day there during the medieval fair, it’s now a regular stop when I’m up in the Baix Emporda region. The 1991 film Robin Hood was partially filmed there, but the feeling of the town couldn’t assist Kevin Costner’s strange attempt at a British accent.
La Marato Fundraiser at Alta Alella
For the last two years, I’ve filmed the flashmob fundraiser put on by Alta Alella for the La Marato TV3 fundraiser. This year was especially fun to photograph, not only because of the beautiful colours of the vines, but the fact the new winery at Alta Alella, Celler De Les Aus (you can see the top of, upper left of the wine glass) is such a cool element to photograph. Alta Alella is such a great enotourism experience, and they do an amazing job of events throughout the year.
Finca Mas de la Rosa – Vall Llach
One of my most memorable visits was to the old vines of Finca Mas de la Rosa with Vall Llach winemaker Albert Costa, discussing his family history, and his winemaking philosophy. The vineyards is minutes outside of the Priorat town of Porrera, and has a special appellation designation inside DOQ Priorat. It’s no wonder the wines are so amazing, considering how beautiful the landscapes are. Albert joked about how he tries not to do the harvest himself due to the fact the slopes are so extreme and he’s too tall to bend down and pick.
The barrel room at Cellers Scala Dei
One of my favourite barrel rooms in the world is at Cellers Scala Dei. The structure/room itself dates back to the 14th century, and was where the monks collected the taxes from those who lived inside the Priorat lands they administered. Considering how the locals ransacked the monastery 1 km away from the town after the Medizabal confiscations, it’s a miracle the structure stayed intact, attributable to its practical location. The scents, the history, and architectural beauty is intoxicating, and considering they now house some of the top rated and critically acclaimed wines from Scala Dei, it’s one that should be at the top of your list to visit.
Finca Mas De La Rosa – Vall Llach
It’s no surprise Vall Llach’s vineyard makes a second appearance in the top 9 list. It shows just how incredibly beautiful Priorat as a wine region truly is, and also shows how challenging harvesting and maintain vines that are up to 120 years of age can be.
Scala Dei Monastery with Lazenne
I had a great time with Paul and Benedicte from Lazenne, during their extended stay in Catalunya, developing their business expansion into Spain. One of the more memorable moments was sharing the ruins of the Scala Dei monastery in the heart of Priorat. Behind them is the preserved entry facade to the main buildings of the monastery, with the Madonna and child still preserved. The Catalan government took over operation and maintenance of the grounds beginning in 90s, and have done a painstaking job of restoration and preservation. On this day, we got to walk through the new excavations beside the main chapel, where restoration of courtyard and ancillary cells started earlier this year. It’s a special place to visit, considering Scala Dei still owns and tends to the ancient vines which surround the monastery, including the old vines of Sant Antoni, which has amazing views across the Priorat to the south.
The runaway most popular photo was my visit to Alta Alella at the beginning of Autumn. The vines beginning to change colour, with the texture of the saulo soil, with the Mediterranean glistening in the background also made this one of my favourite photos of the year, as well as the most popular photo from our Instagram account.
Thanks to all who enjoyed our photos during 2015! I look forward to sharing more in 2016!
Follow along the journey @catalunyawine
Tim Brown (aka Timmer on social media) has been involved in marketing for over 20 years and a wine enthusiast since his first exposure to Duck Pond Winery in Newberg, Oregon, back in 1995. After coming to Europe in 2012, he made his home in Catalunya in 2013 and became enchanted with the wines and winemakers of the region. Now he shares his experiences so international visitors can enjoy the region’s wines, while continuing his work in the marketing world. Sommeliering and wine snobbery isn´t his thing, and he continues to learn more about wine from a Catalan perspective on a daily basis.